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“The Clash of the Titans”: BYU vs. Saint Mary’s College

Provo, UT—The dictionary defines a titan as one who stands out for greatness and achievement. BYU rugby fits this definition. The team is prepared for the upcoming clash against Saint Mary’s College this Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m. MST.

BYU has already played Saint Mary’s College once this season, but this time the game is at home. That means a familiar field, greater support, and even more Cougar pride. Fans and players alike have felt the tension building in anticipation for Saturday.

“This past weekend we had a great turnout for the game against Salt Lake Community College,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. “This weekend, two of the best rugby teams in the nation are going head to head. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Two weeks ago the BYU Cougars beat the Saint Mary’s Gaels 32–28. The game was a close one; if not for center Seki Kofe’s try and fly half Jonathan Linehan’s conversion in the 55th minute, the game could easily have yielded a different result.

Most recently the Gaels are coming from a 48–10 win over Cal Poly. This weekend the team will play both the University of Utah and BYU on consecutive days. BYU is coming from a 58–10 win against Salt Lake Community College. The team is 7–0 so far this season.

“We’re ready to take on St. Mary’s for the second time this season,” said BYU rugby team captain and All-American Kyle Sumsion. “Saint Mary’s is the only team that beat us last season. We don’t want that to happen again.”

All Utah Youth Rugby players who come to the South Field wearing their team jersey will be admitted to the game at the discounted price of $3. There will be a curtain raiser against Weber State University at 5 p.m. MST.

The Saturday game will be streamed live on BYU Rugby’s YouTube channel,https://www.youtube.com/user/BYURugbyTV. Also follow the Cougars on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

BYU wins home opener against SLCC

Provo, UT- Passionate fans cheered the BYU Cougars (7-0) on Fan Appreciation Day at BYU’s South Field as the Cougars defeated the Salt Lake Community College Bruins 58-10 as BYU started its home schedule on Saturday, March 7.

“Our fans have played a major role in our success today. Their support really motivated us to run hard and make plays,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth.

BYU ran hard and made plays as scrum half Joseph Nicholls and flanker Steve Davies led all scorers with two tries each. Davies scored his two tries in the first half punching through SLCC’s defense. Nicholls added ten points total in the second half in the victory.

SLCC’s forwards were quick and aggressive racking up several large hits as they worked to win the rucks. The Bruin back line displayed their shiftiness and athleticism at times but could not keep up with BYU’s pace and resilient defense.

“The score doesn’t tell the story of the whole game. The Bruins played hard all 80 minutes,” said BYU rugby assistant coach Steve St. Pierre. “We’ve been putting in the work every day at practice. Our boys made the big plays when it mattered most.”

The most dramatic play of the game came in the second half as a breakaway run by flanker Erik Wilcox down the middle of field got the crowd to its feet. Wilcox fought through the front line then quickly offloaded the ball to No. 8 Hayden Johnson. Johnson caught the ball, quick-stepped the last SLCC defender then placed the ball down for a try in the 59th minute.

BYU will welcome the St. Mary’s Gaels at BYU’s South Field at 7 p.m. MST on Saturday, March 14. The Cougars defeated the Gaels 32-28 on Feb. 28 at St. Mary’s home field.

Game notes:

Open substitutions were used by both teams.

BYU has won 19 straight games since the 2014 loss to St. Mary’s at Moraga, Calif.

Including today’s game, BYU has scored at least 50 or more points in six of their last seven matches.

BYU Cougars face off against SLCC Bruins

Provo, UT—BYU (6-0) is set to play Salt Lake Community College this Saturday, March 7, on BYU’s South Field at 1 p.m. MT.

This game is a special event because it is Fan Appreciation Day; entrance to the match is free.

“We wanted to let our fans know how much we appreciate them,” said BYU rugby assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti. “We’re hoping to get a good crowd. I think fans are anxious to get back to the South Field to cheer on their favorite rugby team.”

The Cougars will be sticking around for a while; the upcoming season games are home games. This will be BYU’s first home game of the season due to the Air Force Academy cancellation two weeks ago.

Next week’s home game is against Saint Mary’s College. BYU played the team in California last weekend and beat them 32–28. Saint Mary’s is the only school to upset BYU last season.

Salt Lake Community College is in its third year of club competition. The team was organized in an attempt to introduce more students to the sport of rugby and invite them to be a part of a team.

Be sure to support the Cougars this weekend as live game coverage will be available on Twitter.

BYU improves to 6-0 against St. Mary’s

Moraga, CA- Senior center Seki Kofe’s try in the 55th minute followed by junior fly half Jonathan Linehan’s conversion against a scrappy #4 St. Mary’s defense put #1 BYU’s point total at 32 for the day despite a rough first half.

The visiting BYU Cougars (6-0) won 32-28 defeating the Gaels improving their win streak to 18 since the Gaels handed the Cougars their lone defeat of the 2014 at St. Mary’s on Feb. 15, 2014. The 18-game win streak includes the 43-33 Varsity Cup National Championship victory over the California Golden Bears.

“We picked up the pace in the second half which made all the difference. Our forwards ran hard increasing our confidence as a team,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth.

BYU struggled in the first forty minutes despite an early penalty kick by Linehan in the 4th minute and a quick try by senior fullback Ryan Blaser in the 10th minute which gave the Cougars a 10-0 lead. The Gaels responded with great passing and kicking as they scored 18 unanswered points going into half-time with an 18-10 lead.

Subbing in for Blaser in the second-half, junior fullback Joshua Whippy scored a try in the 41st minute closing the gap to 15-18. Six minutes later, Linehan sent a penalty kick through the uprights tying the game at 18-18.

“I knew it was a critical moment of the game since St. Mary’s came out hard in the first-half,” said Linehan of his second penalty kick. “I knew I could count on my teammates to keep the momentum going.”

The momentum increased for the Cougars as freshman winger Calvin Whiting scored a try in the 48th minute as a good conversion by Linehan increased the lead to 25-18. The Gaels responded four minutes later with a penalty kick changing the score to 25-21.

BYU takes on tough competition this weekend

Moraga, CA—BYU is on the road again and ready to play one of its toughest competitors: St. Mary’s College in California. The game is at 12 p.m. PST this Saturday, February 28.

After an unexpected game cancellation against the Air Force Academy last weekend, BYU is anxious to get back on the field, and St. Mary’s is a fitting opponent. It is the only team that disrupted BYU’s win streak last year (L 30–24).

“Not only are we ready to get back in action and play, but we’re coming into this game with a lot of energy and preparation,” said Kyle Sumsion, BYU team captain. “Last year we weren’t as focused. We don’t want to make that mistake again.”

While the Cougars went on to defeat the Gaels in their second matchup of the 2014 season, the first game was still a disappointment. To make sure this coming game isn’t a repeat of history, the Cougars have put in extra hours at practice this past week.

This season St. Mary’s has experienced some turnover in players and as a result has had some ups and downs. The team is coming to the match against BYU with the latest win against San Diego State (W 78–5). St. Mary’s Tommy Wallace and Kingsley McGowan are leading the team, both offensively and defensively.

In 2014, St. Mary’s was named the Men’s College Team of the Year by American Rugby. Most recently Coach Tim O’Brien was awarded Coach of the Year on January 24, 2015 by USA Rugby.

“It’s no lie that St. Mary’s is a good school and has a great rugby team,” said BYU rugby assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti. “But BYU has had no losses this season. This will probably be one of the most exciting games up to this point in the season.”

This weekend’s game will be broadcast live on SMC Gael Vision at www.smcgaels.com. For a direct link, visit http://rugby.byu.edu/schedule/2015-schedule.

BYU Rugby Home Opener Cancelled

The BYU rugby home opener for Saturday, Feb. 21, against Air Force Academy is cancelled due to weather conditions.

Colorado received a winter storm warning with the expectation of moderate to heavy snow making road travel potentially hazardous for the visiting Air Force Falcons. For immediate updates, follow BYU rugby on Twitter at @byurugby.

Utah Youth Rugby Special for BYU Rugby Home Opener

Provo, UT–The BYU Rugby program is pleased to announce that it is offering all Utah Youth Rugby players and coaches the opportunity to visit South Field to watch the Cougars in action for the discounted rate of $3 this Saturday as BYU hosts the Air Force Academy at 1pm MST.

All Utah Youth Rugby players who come to South Field wearing their team jersey or other team-related gear will admitted at the discounted price of $3. This discount is extended to all coaches and staff members for the teams.

Utah Youth Rugby (UYR), which oversees the leadership of the sport in Utah for the high school ages and below, is one of America’s top State-Based Rugby Organizations that is following the national average of being the fastest-growing youth sport in America.

For more information and details on the UYR please visit www.UtahYouthRugby.org.

***It is HIGHLY recommended that all UYR players, coaches and parents who will be coming to South Field on Saturday plan to arrive early (12.30pm) in order to avoid long ticket lines that are typical just before kick-off.

BYU returns to Provo on Saturday to take on Air Force

Provo, UT—Rise and shout, BYU (5-0) is finally back in town and ready to take on the Air Force Academy in the first home game of the season this Saturday, February 21 at 1 p.m. MT at BYU’s South Field.

“There is nothing like the first home game of the season and feeling such strong support from our fans,” said Kyle Sumsion, BYU team captain. “We’re happy to be home.”

Up to this point in the season BYU has had five straight wins and zero losses, the latest victory over Utah State (64-12) before returning to Provo. The Air Force Academy reports only one loss and most recently defeated Pittsburg, Dartmouth and Georgetown in the Las Vegas Invitational, where the team was made up of several Academy grads as well as active duty members.

The BYU-Air Force Academy rivalry is not strictly reserved to football; both schools have strong rugby programs and have a history of playing each other. The last time the Cougars took on the Falcons at home was in 2012 when the Cougars dominated 76-20.

Becoming an athlete for the Academy is not easy. Applying to the school is a rigorous process. To apply, hopeful applicants must first be nominated by a nominating authority, such as a congressman. Applicants must also excel in four specific categories: academic (most applicants are in the top three percent of their high schools), character development, extracurricular activities and fitness. They must also pass a medical exam.

BYU defeats Utah State for fifth win of the season

Logan, UT- Utah State’s scrappy play was not enough as the visiting Cougars (5-0) defeated the USU Aggies at Legacy Field in Logan 64-12.

“The Aggies played hard to defend their turf,” said BYU rugby assistant coach Steve St. Pierre. “Our team came out strong which led to multiple tries in our win.”

BYU’s ability to chase down runners and loose balls led to ten tries. Win Elkington and Joshua Anderson scored two tries each in the match. The Cougars also played well defensively holding the Aggies to zero tries in the first half.

BYU returns to South Field on Feb. 21 to play Air Force for the first home game of the 2015 season.

BYU Rugby 50th Anniversary Celebration details released

BYU 50th Website Pic
BYU 50th Website Pic

Provo, UT–The BYU Rugby program today released it’s 50th Anniversary Celebration schedule and registration details slated for April 17th-18th.

The weekend of activities will begin Friday, April 17th with a team and alumni reception at the Hinckley Alumni Center on the BYU campus. Festivities will begin at 6pm MST with current players and staff having the opportunity to meet and mingle with players from BYU Rugby’s past.

The following day alumni and their families will be able to re-live the glory days and strap on the boots for a morning game of touch rugby on the Cougars’ home pitch of South Field.

After the touch rugby alumni and their families are invited to join the current team and staff for their traditional pre-game devotional and jersey presentation at 11am MST.

The morning activities will then shift to the afternoon where the Cougars will host a Varsity Cup semi-final on South Field. Assuming BYU advances past the quarterfinal round BYU will kick-off this match at 1pm MST where the alumni and their families will be special guests on the Cougars’ sideline for the match-up.

Culminating the weekend of festivities will be the official 50th Anniversary Celebration to be held at Riverside Country Club in Provo, UT. Past players and coaches will gather to celebrate the history of BYU’s winningest team sport along with the Cougars’ most recent tally of four national championships, including the most recent three-in-a-row.

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