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BYU Advances to Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Semifinals After Defeating UCLA

BYU senior Kody Thompson runs the ball against UCLA. BYU won 45-16 to advance to the semifinals of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup playoffs. Photo by Andrea Wride
BYU senior Kody Thompson runs the ball against UCLA. BYU won 45-16 to advance to the semifinals of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup playoffs. Photo by Andrea Wride

Los Angeles, CA – Frustrated UCLA Bruins could not stop the relentless, well-conditioned BYU Cougars (12-0) at UCLA’s North Athletic Field on Saturday, April 11, in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup quarterfinals. With tall, green trees and red-accented brick buildings as the backdrop, the Cougars beat the Bruins 45-16.

“Led by our front row: Zane Mendenhall, Alex Vorster, and Kody Thompson, these boys built a good platform for us to work off, defensively we were able to get on our tackles early and as a result we created scoring opportunities,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. “Fair play to UCLA, they were aggressive and did a good job at disrupting our momentum. Our performance was uneven at times and we had to work hard for what we got.”

BYU senior Kody Thompson runs the ball against UCLA. BYU won 45-16 to advance to the semifinals of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup playoffs. Photo by Andrea Wride

UCLA was able to make two penalty kicks and try but couldn’t manage much more offensively. BYU’s senior wing Jordan Lowry scored two tries in the win as five other Cougars got on the scorecard. Junior fly half Jonathan Linehan made five out of seven conversion attempts in the match.

BYU Cougars to Battle the UCLA Bruins in LA

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Provo, UT – The undefeated BYU Cougars (11-0) will travel to LA to play a scrappy UCLA team on Saturday, April 11, at 1 p.m. PT. The UCLA Bruins outlasted the Air Force Forces 32-12 last weekend to move on to the quarterfinals of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup. BYU looks to win its fourth straight and fifth overall national championship.

“We’re anxious to get back on the pitch and continuing working towards our goal of winning the 2015 Varsity Cup,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of BYU’s bye of the first round of playoffs.

BYU’s pace has been relentless on both ends of the ball during the 2015 season. The Cougars have outscored opponents 769-142 after 11 games averaging about 70 points a game. Any one of the Cougars are capable of scoring due to solid communication and passing by junior scrum half Luke Mocke and junior fly half Jonathan Linehan.

Solid tackling by their forwards has led to a stingy defense as the Cougars recording three shutouts against UNLV, UVU and Utah State. Freshman hooker Alex Vorster has had a solid season thus far making his tackles and helping the Cougars win scrums.

“Every practice, every win has been focused on winning the Varsity Cup,” said BYU captain and All-American Kyle Sumsion. “Consistency has been key in our success.”

BYU Records Two Shutouts In A Row

Provo, UT- Fans on a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon at BYU’s South Field watched as the BYU Cougars reached triple digits for the second time in one week. Following BYU’s 109-0 win over the UVU Wolverines on Wednesday, BYU beat Utah State 100-0 to end the regular season before the Varsity Cup playoffs.

“Consistency has been key for our team as we look forward to the Varsity Cup playoffs. We played hard against the Wolverines and we played hard again today,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth.

The USU Aggies were able to force multiple turnovers during game and worked hard in the rucks. The Aggies also ran multiple subs in hopes of keeping their players fresh but their efforts were not enough to stop the offensive onslaught of the Cougars.

A try by senior Jordan Lowry in the first minute was all that was needed for the Cougars to gain momentum. BYU’s Joseph Nicholls scored the first of his two tries shortly after Lowry’s try. By the 80th minute,  more than ten Cougars would score tries. Junior center Lelann Latu led all scorers with three tries in the match.

The Cougars look forward to the Varsity Cup quarterfinals on April 11. Follow the defending national champions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Game notes:

The game against USU on March 28, 2015 was also Senior Day since it’s the last regular season home game.

BYU 1st XV: 1-Ryker Haddock 2- Jake Hall 3-Kody Thompson 4-Kyle Lontine 5-Dan Hubert 6-Kyle Sumsion 7-Ara Elkington 8-Ben Keith 9-Luke Mocke 10-Joshua Webber 11-Jordan Lowry 12-Dallin Hunt 13-Lelann Latu 14-Joshua Anderson 15-Joseph Nicholls (Open substitutions)

BYU Plays USU For Second Time This Season

Provo, UT—Things are heating up as BYU gets ready to play its second match of the week, this time against Utah State University. The game is on Saturday, March 28, at 1 p.m. MST on BYU’s South Field.

This is the week of rivalries for the BYU Cougars. On Wednesday the team played against Utah Valley University and defeated them 109–0. Saturday’s game will feature another classic rival.

“I’ve met [USU] Coach Tong several times and he is not only a great rugby player but a great person,” said BYU head coach David Smyth. “He will really take the team and the players to great heights in the coming years.”

The BYU Cougars already beat the USU Aggies once this season up in Logan. The final score was 64–12. Since then the Aggies have worked hard and had a successful season. Their most recent game was a narrow win (20–17) against Weber State University.

While the sport is fairly new to Utah State, it has picked up momentum both among players and fans. “At our last game in Logan there was a pretty decent fan turnout to support the Aggies,” said BYU junior center Joshua Whippy. “They are an aggressive team and will keep getting better.”

BYU however is coming from an undefeated season (10–0) with its most recent win against Utah Valley University. BYU was unstoppable on Wednesday and didn’t let up for a minute. The first score of the night came during the 11th minute with a try by BYU’s Steve Davies and then the Cougars scored an average of a try every five minutes for the rest of the night.

This Saturday’s game will be broadcast on BYU Rugby’s YouTube channel. To watch the game live, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/BYURugbyTV, or support the Cougars on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Tickets are available in advance at eventtickets.byu.edu.

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BYU Breaks Scoring Century Mark Against UVU

BYU junior prop Zane Mendenhall runs the ball against UVU at South Field on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. The BYU Cougars won 109-0. Photo by Andrea Wride
BYU junior prop Zane Mendenhall runs the ball against UVU at South Field on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. The BYU Cougars won 109-0. Photo by Andrea Wride

Provo, UT—The no. 1 BYU Cougars were unstoppable BYU’s South Field on Wednesday, March 25, beating the Utah Valley University Wolverines 109–0.

BYU junior prop Zane Mendenhall runs the ball against UVU at South Field on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. The BYU Cougars won 109-0. Photo by Andrea Wride

The Cougars scored a total of 17 tries by 12 different players. On average, the team scored one try almost every five minutes. The match was reminiscent of BYU’s game against UNLV, when the Cougars beat the Rebels 99–0. Tonight’s victory means a 10–0 season for BYU.

“UVU had some good offensive plays, especially in the second half, but we were consistent and we played hard all night. We played well together as a team,” said David Smyth, BYU’s head coach.

The first score of the night came during the 11thminute with a try by BYU’s junior flanker Steve Davies, and the Cougars did not stop scoring for the rest of the game.

No. 1 BYU Welcomes UVU to South Field

Provo, UT- In a Wednesday night light matchup, the top-ranked Brigham Young University Cougars will play the Utah Valley University Wolverines at BYU’s South Field on March 25 with kick off set for 7 p.m. MST. The Cougars recently played the Utes in Salt Lake City for the Wasatch Cup and ran away with a 76-31 victory.

BYU center Seki Kofe runs the ball against Utah on March 21, 2015. BYU won 76-31 to take home the Wasatch Cup. Photo by Andrea Wride
BYU center Seki Kofe runs the ball against Utah on March 21, 2015. BYU won 76-31 to take home the Wasatch Cup. Photo by Andrea Wride

“Last week’s win over Utah was a milestone for us this season. We look forward to the energy UVU brings every time we play them,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth.

Located in Orem, the UVU Wolverines bring considerable size and speed with their forwards. UVU shocked fans present in last year’s BYU vs. UVU matchup by scoring fast early. Despite scoring early, UVU would not score again as the game ended with a final score of 69-7 at South Field.

BYU is 9-0 and has won its last four games by an average margin of 26.5 points. Last week’s Wasatch Cup saw senior wing Jordan Lowry score three tries as senior prop Kody Thompson and sophomore flanker Ara Elkington scored two tries a piece. The Cougars not only played a solid offensive game but also dominated the scrums against the Utes.

BYU Defeats Utah By 45 Points At Utah

Salt Lake City, UT- The Wasatch Cup will remain in possession of the Cougars after BYU beat Utah convincingly at the Ute Soccer Field 76-31. The expectations of both teams were high as BYU and Utah each defeated northern California rugby power St. Mary’s last week.

“The score doesn’t tell the whole story of the game. We knew the Utes would be ready to play as they have in the past,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. “Our backs did a great job finding the holes leading to several tries.”

BYU senior prop Kody Thompson scores his one of his two tries against Utah. BYU defeated Utah 76-31 for the Wasatch Cup. Photo by Andrea Wride
BYU senior prop Kody Thompson scores his one of his two tries against Utah. BYU defeated Utah 76-31 for the Wasatch Cup. Photo by Andrea Wride

Utah jumped on the scoreboard early sending a penalty kick through the uprights in the 9th minute of the game after an early BYU penalty giving the Utes a 3-0 lead. The game momentum seemed to be wholly in Utah’s favor until the 10th minute when BYU junior wing Ryan Blaser ran in a quick try. BYU’s fly half Jonathan Linehan’s conversion was good following Blaser’s try putting the Cougars up 7-3 shifting the momentum to the Cougars.

BYU sophomore flanker Ara Elkington scored the first of his two tries in the 13th minute. Elkington wasn’t the only Cougar to score two tries. BYU senior prop Kody Thompson also scored two tries. BYU senior wing Jordan Lowry had the most tries with three.

BYU Plays Utah For Wasatch Cup This Saturday

Salt Lake City, UT—BYU (8–0) is coming to the Wasatch Cup ready to play the University of Utah (8–3) for the second time this season. The game is Saturday, March 21 at 1 p.m. MST on the Ute Soccer Field.

Most recently BYU defeated Saint Mary’s College 35–26. The game was a close one; the Cougars were behind most of the first half until a try by senior center Seki Kofe followed by a conversion by junior fly half Jonny Linehan in the 28th minute. Linehan had an especially impressive match, despite being injured, and scored 20 out of the 35 total points.

“Every season is good, but this one has been especially impressive,” said BYU assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti. “Our boys have really come together and know what they are doing. They play as a team.”

The Cougars have already played the Utes once this season in the Southern Utah Showcase and beat the team 50–22. While Utah traditionally has an aggressive offense, BYU has a strong defense and a depth at different positions.

BYU Cougars Defeat SMC Gaels at South Field

BYU center Joshua Whippy and teammates perform the haka on March 14, 2015 before kick off against St. Mary's at BYU's South Field. Photo by Andrea Wride
BYU center Joshua Whippy and teammates perform the haka on March 14, 2015 before kick off against St. Mary's at BYU's South Field. Photo by Andrea Wride

Provo, UT—BYU defeated Saint Mary’s College for the second time this season with a final score of 35–26, proving that the Cougars are number one in the nation.

More than 3,000 fans were on the edge of their seats tonight at BYU’s South Field as the no. 1 Cougars took on the no. 4 Gaels. BYU is part of the Varsity Cup and has a bye to this year’s quarterfinals.

“Saint Mary’s came out with a tough defense, but we worked our way around it and built momentum for a strong victory,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth.

Following a demonstration of the haka by BYU as a sign of respect to the game of rugby, the team had a rocky start. Saint Mary’s was in the lead until BYU’s first try by senior center Seki Kofe, followed by junior fly half Jonny Linehan’s conversion, bringing the score to 16–7 in the 28th minute. Junior center Joshua Whippy scored a try in the 36th minute, bringing BYU’s score up to 14. The Cougars were still behind at halftime 16–14.

2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Championship Final returns to Rio Tinto Stadium

New York, NY – With the addition of Arizona State and Arkansas State, the 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Championship teams have continued to expand for the 3rd consecutive year to fourteen of the premier college rugby programs in the country. The schedule and format for this years’ Penn Mutual Varsity Cup will once again feature four rounds of competition, with the championship final being hosted at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT. NBCSN will provide live television coverage of the entire championship final on May 2nd, 2015.

The two time reigning champions, BYU, and two-time runner up, the University of California return to vie for the title of Varsity Cup National Champion. Since the first National Collegiate Championship, Varsity Cup universities have won a total of 31 national titles in a span of 33 years. Moreover, Varsity Cup universities have earned 68 final four places during this same period with Air Force, Arkansas State, BYU, Cal, Dartmouth, Navy, and Utah all having played their way to the final four. Since the inception of the Varsity Cup National Championship, Central Washington University and UCLA have added to the Varsity Cup’s list of final four participants. This brings total Varsity Cup university final four appearances to 76 over the course of 35 years. Over the course of these past 35 years, Varsity Cup universities have been crowned National Champions a total of 33 times.

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