Cougars Announce 2012 Squad
Provo, UT–The BYU Rugby program has released it’s 2012 roster ahead of what should be one of the most challenging and exciting schedules in the program’s history.
In all, the Cougars return a majority of the starting XV from last year’s national title contest with 10 players on the 2012 roster, while another 10 players who also saw considerable 1st XV playing time throughout the 2011 season will be competing again this season for playing time.
Headlining this group is BYU captain Ryan Roundy who has earned All American honors in 2010 and 2011. Roundy, who is no stranger to elite level rugby having been capped as a USA 7′s Eagle, toured as a Collegiate All American and played in the U-19 2007 World Cup as a Junior Eagle, is very much looking forward to this year’s campaign.
“We had a great season last year,” Roundy said, “We won the CPD Western Conference Title and the Wasatch Cup, but we didn’t quite get the job done in the national title game. We expect a lot of tough games this season and we’re working on trying to be even better than last year.”
Helping Roundy meet the challenge this year will be the seasoned senior halfback pairing of Shaun Davies and Dylan Lubbe. Both have been central to BYU’s title aspirations over the last 4 seasons and it was a young Davies who kicked the game-winning penalty kick to give the Cougars their first championship in 2009.
Other seasoned returners include Props Mikey Su’a and Ray Forrester, Center Seki Kofe, lock Mark Bonham and openside flanker Hynie Leaaetoa, who is key to the Cougars’ disruptive defensive efforts. Each of the aforementioned cougars earned 2011 All American honors.
The 2012 roster also sees the return of a number of the 2009 championship squad players that return from two-year LDS missionary service.
Several players who saw regular 1st XV time in 2009 include notables Paul Lasike at center, lock Kyle Sumsion, who scored the opening try against Cal in the 2009 title bout, and winger Jordan Lowry who set up Sumsion’s opening try.
Other notable 2009 players returning from LDS missions include David Rowley, Austin Allred, Daniel Selman and Will Taylor.
Other returning missionaries are Andrew Carver, a former Highland High product, who transfers from Snow College after a year of football in 2009 and Trey Sikahema, son of legendary BYU football great Vai Sikahema.
Senior-laden and with a large contingent of returning missionaries, BYU has a small incoming freshman class with just seven first-year players.
Of this group, Tua Laei, a wing from West Valley, UT and brother-in-law to prop Mikey Su’a, has the most rugby experience having played with the USA High School All-American Team in South Africa this past summer.
Dallin Hunt, a wing/center from St. George, UT, brings size and athleticism, while JJ Tsukamoto, from Kaysville, UT, brings a bit of international 7′s experience having toured with the Utah Cannibals select side to Canada last summer.
Other incoming freshman include Hayden Johnson, Trevor Lamkin and Derek Bradshaw.
The Cougars also took on a small group of walk-on trialists this season headlined by former BYU football running back Malosi Te’o. A highly-recruited gridiron prep out of the renowned Kahuku High School on Oahu, Te’o will look to impact immediately with his size and speed.
Rounding out the roster for the Cougars are two notable returning players in TJ Allred and Brett Clark, who both took off the 2010 season for personal reasons.
Both players, lock forwards, will likely boost the Cougars’ lineout options as experienced lineout targets and both also boast strong rugby pedigrees with Allred being a former Canadian U19 and 2009 All American, while Clark, the youngest of a long line of Clark brothers who have played at BYU, started as a true-freshman in BYU’s 2008 national title bout against Cal.
The 48 man roster will be one of the most competitive groups that BYU has had to date with experienced and new players alike vying for 1st XV honors.
“This is a good group,” said BYU head coach David Smyth, “Of course we have to work on a number of things overall as a team and there will be a lot of competition for the starting spots. But it’s a long season, so a lot people will have their chance to stake a claim. In the end, we’ll focus on building the best team that will get us to our goals.”
The Cougars kick-off their 2012 season in earnest with a heady season opener against Central Washington University. The Cougars and Wildcats will meet in Seattle for the match-up as BYU heads to the Northwest on a 3-game tour which also includes games against top men’s club side Old Puget Sound Beach and the University of Washington.
BYU and CWU last played in 2009 with the Cougars beating a strong Wildcats team 43-5.
BYU Rugby 2012 Roster