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BYU takes on Utah State

Provo, UT—After a triumphant weekend, the Cougars (4-0) are back in Utah and ready to take on the Aggies on Saturday, February 7 in Logan, Utah on the Legacy Field.

BYU vs. UNLV scrum at the Red Rock Invitational on Jan. 31, 2015 (Photo by Andrea Wride)
BYU vs. UNLV scrum at the Red Rock Invitational on Jan. 31, 2015 (Photo by Andrea Wride)

“It was a fast-paced weekend,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. “We had a great time at the Red Rock Invitational and played some good teams, but we’re definitely looking forward to being back in Utah.”

The last time BYU played Utah State University was in two years ago at home in Provo. The Cougars beat the Aggies 91-3.

USU is a club sport within Campus Recreation. The club began in the 1960s and is the oldest club at USU. The team recently had a change in leadership and is now under the direction of Coach Oisin Tong.

“This season is off to a good start,” said Coach Tong in a recent interview. “We won both games at the Red Rock Invitational last weekend. Last season we won every game except one. We’re excited for this upcoming game against BYU.”

BYU will enter Saturday’s match with two solid wins at the Red Rock Invitational Tournament this past weekend. After beating Cal Poly SLO 74-5 and UNLV 99-0, BYU is in a good position to keep the winning streak going.

BYU holds Cal Poly to one try in Red Rock Invitational

Mesquite, NV-Senior lock Dan Hubert’s two tries in the first six minutes of the match set the pace as the Cougars (4-0) beat Cal Poly SLO 74-5 on Saturday, Jan. 31, in the Red Rock Invitational.

BYU sophomore No. 8 Hayden Johnson scores a try against Cal Poly SLO on Jan. 31, 2015 (Photo by Andrea Wride)
BYU sophomore No. 8 Hayden Johnson scores a try against Cal Poly SLO on Jan. 31, 2015 (Photo by Andrea Wride)

BYU’s stingy defense kept Cal Poly to five points in the game as it improved to 4-0. The 39-point margin came as a result of BYU’s flow playing the ball out of the ruck.

“I’m very pleased with our effort and execution today,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of his players. “I thought the first twenty minutes was the most accurate rugby we’ve played this season.”

The Cougars moved the ball quickly and efficiently despite the physical presence of the Mustangs.

“Cal Poly offered a physical challenge at the breakdown but we created many opportunities to score,” Smyth said.

BYU junior scrumhalf Luke Mocke, who scored a try in the 68th minute, added that the game was more physical than the score showed due to the size and athleticism of Cal Poly’s players.

In the end Cal Poly’s athleticism was not enough as BYU’s solid forward play allowed eight different Cougars to score tries. Sophomore wing Tua Laei, freshman center Calvin Whiting and sophomore flanker Ara Elkington joined Hubert in scoring two tries each. The BYU Cougars will play the Utah State Aggies in Logan, UT on Saturday, Feb. 7.

BYU improves to 3-0 with win over UNLV

Mesquite, NV- Cold, windy and rainy summed up the weather as the BYU Cougars defeated the UNLV Rebels 99-0 on Friday, Jan. 30, in the Red Rock Invitational.

“The grass was slick but it didn’t hold back our forwards. They played a great game opening up passing lanes for our backs,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. “We got to see great plays and a lot of hustle.”

UNLV managed to keep a consistent tempo throughout the game without any substitutes. The Rebels never backed down from the challenge but couldn’t seem to recover from BYU’s relentless offense early on.

BYU sophomore wing Kevin Schofield scored the first try of the game in the second minute running up the left side of the field through the Rebel defense. Schofield went on to score two more tries including the last try of the game in the 79th minute. Senior wing Tyler Huxford also scored three tries as BYU improved to 3-0.

BYU will look to increase its winning streak as it plays Cal Poly SLO on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at 1 p.m. PST at the Mesquite Sports and Event Complex.

BYU takes on two teams in Red Rock Invitational Tournament

Provo, UT—The Red Rock Invitational is coming up this weekend in Mesquite, Nevada, and BYU will take on two teams during the two-day tournament: Cal Poly SLO and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“We’re looking forward to a challenging weekend,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. “We have great momentum coming off our wins against ASU and Utah.”

The games begin on Friday, January 30 with the BYU 2nd XV taking on UNLV at 2:00 p.m. PST. The following day BYU’s 2nd XV team will take on the Cal Poly SLO 2nd XV team at 11:30 a.m. PST. Later that same day the BYU 1st XV will play the Cal Poly SLO 1st XV team.

BYU is coming into the tournament with a 2-0 winning streak for the season. After decisive wins over both in-state rival Utah (W 50-22) and ASU (W 72-8), BYU is staying focused and training hard for the upcoming back-to-back games.

“Everyday this week is full of team practices,” BYU rugby assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti said. “We have been playing well, but we don’t want to lose our edge. This weekend could really set the tone for the rest of the season.”

The Red Rock Invitational is a chance for collegiate rugby teams in the western United States to come together and play against each other. The tournament came to Mesquite last year and the games are held in the Mesquite Sports and Event complex. Bill Ungricht, the current commissioner for the Utah Collegiate Rugby Conference, says tournament organizers are hoping to make the Red Rock in Mesquite an annual tradition.

Of the teams BYU is set to play this weekend, Cal Poly SLO is ranked one of the Canterbury D1A Top 20 college teams, and was a 2014 D1A quarterfinalist. Dixie State University is in its second year as a program. The match against BYU will be the first game of the year for UNLV. Last year BYU defeated both teams: Cal Poly SLO (W 37-22) and UNLV (W 48-0).

BYU Rugby defeats Utah in St. George 50-22

BYU sophomore wing Tua Leai runs with the ball in hand against Utah. (Photo credit Andrea Wride)
BYU sophomore wing Tua Leai runs with the ball in hand against Utah. (Photo credit Andrea Wride)

St. George, UT- BYU rugby’s convincing win over ASU two weeks ago in St. George foreshadowed today’s 50-22 win over Utah.

Junior scrum half Luke Mocke opened the game scoring his first of two tries in the first six minutes setting the tone early for the Cougars.

“Today’s win showed the depth we have at different positions,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of the six different players who scored tries. “Our forwards did a great job holding their ground creating more chances for us to make plays.”

Utah played a physical game keeping their forwards in tight leading to four tries and one conversion. Aggressive play by the Utes resulted in extended periods of possession but the Cougars still outscored them.

Fans in attendance saw the return of All-American junior fly half Jonathan Linehan who scored ten points off of conversions. Freshman Calvin Whiting added two tries. Sophomore Tua Laei, junior Steve Davies and seniors Ryan Blaser and Kyle Sumsion added a try each to the Cougar’s victory.

Whiting’s try off a Laei pass in the 71st minute wide right put the game out of reach for the Utes giving the Cougars their second victory.

Cougars Take on Utes in Southern Utah Showcase

BYU senior winger Jordan Lowry runs past the Utah defense enroute to a try in last year's Wasatch Cup.
BYU senior winger Jordan Lowry runs past the Utah defense enroute to a try in last year's Wasatch Cup.

Provo, UT—BYU is set to play against the University of Utah on Saturday, January 24th in St. George, Utah at Snow Canyon High School in a Southern Utah rugby showcase friendly. The last time the two teams faced each other was at the Wasatch Cup last April where BYU beat Utah 41-21. The victory marked the ninth out of 10 over Utah.

Although Saturday’s match-up between rivals is simply a friendly fixture and won’t carry any Wasatch Cup implications BYU’s head coach David Smyth says this weekend’s fixture will undoubtedly carry typical rivalry intensity.

“Both schools have a solid rugby program and a tradition of excellence,” said David Smyth, BYU rugby head coach and former player (1983-87). “There has been a healthy rivalry between the two schools for years now. Utah always comes ready to play.”

The April 2014 Wasatch Cup was especially heated. At one point BYU was down a player, and Utah demonstrated its creativity in some unexpected plays. Utah is currently coming from four wins in the PAC-12 North Tournament in Oregon and a 15-81 loss to St. Mary’s College of California. BYU’s first game of the season ended in a 72-8 victory over Arizona State University.

The Utah roster is diverse and includes players coming from Nigeria, Hawaii, Las Vegas, California, and Utah. The team has ranked in the final four in the national championship four times.

BYU Rugby opens 2015 season victorious over Arizona State

BYU All American Seki Kofe eludes an ASU defender. Kofe helped pace the Cougars with a bevy of tries on the day. (Photo courtesy of Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News)
BYU All American Seki Kofe eludes an ASU defender. Kofe helped pace the Cougars with a bevy of tries on the day. (Photo courtesy of Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News)

BYU Rugby opens 2015 season victorious over Arizona State

St. George, UT- BYU team captain and All-American Kyle Sumsion and the four-time national championship BYU Cougars defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils 72-8 after 80 minutes of non-stop play Saturday, Jan. 10, at Snow Canyon High School in St. George UT.

“The first half was a little slower than expected but we were able to play our game and stay true to our system in the second half,” Sumsion said of the team entering the second half with a 24-3 lead. “I’m proud of the team for coming out strong and starting the season right.”

Since it was the first game of the season for both the Cougars and Sun Devils, both teams agreed to open substitutions giving both coaches opportunities to develop lineups.

In his first game since his season-ending-injury in April of last year, BYU senior center Seki Kofe scored the first try of the day three minutes into the game. BYU junior scrumhalf Luke Mocke’s conversion was good giving the Cougars 7-0 lead.

Cougars Open the 2015 Season Against Sun Devils

Provo, Utah—BYU Rugby season kicks off this week with the first game on Saturday, January 10th against the Arizona State University Sun Devils. The game will be played in St. George, Utah at Snow Canyon High School.

The BYU Cougars are four-time and three straight National Champions. Arizona State University was added to the Varsity Cup last year. The Varsity Cup boasts twelve of the most recognized and accomplished collegiate rugby programs in the country. Each season the teams fight to be Varsity Cup National Champion.

“There are some great opponents this season, and this first game particularly will be one of the most exciting starts to a season we’ve seen in a long time,” said David Smyth, BYU Rugby head coach and former player (1983-87). “We have two Varsity Cup teams playing against each other. We have been preparing for a long time and are ready to hit the ground running. The game will be non-stop action, and very strategic.”

The ASU Men’s Rugby Team began in 1975. Both BYU and ASU have consistently been nationally ranked in the top 15 rugby teams. The last time BYU played ASU was in the Rugby Bowl in April 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. BYU took home the victory with a 57-26 win.

The Cougars will be without a variety of top line talent as All Americans Jonny Linehan, Paul Lasike and brothers Josh and Jared Whippey will all be unavailable for the weekend’s match. With less than a week of school under their belts the Cougars will be coming into the match up with a little more than one week’s of in-season preparation.

Regardless, BYU will trust on the leadership of captain and USA Eagle Kyle Sumsion, along with All Americans Seki Kofe and Luke Mocke to set the tone for the 2015 opener.

BYU Rugby Student Athletes Excel On and Off the Pitch

Sterling Paulson (left) and Josef Jolissaint (right) excel in the classroom and are pillars of success for the National Champion BYU Rugby program.
Sterling Paulson (left) and Josef Jolissaint (right) excel in the classroom and are pillars of success for the National Champion BYU Rugby program.

Provo, UT—The BYU Rugby program is best known for its status as the winner of four national championships since 2009, including the last three consecutively.

What is less known to the general public, but perhaps equally as impressive is the fact that the team has many student-athletes whose talents extend beyond the field.

The Fall Semester is soon to finish before the Christmas holiday and all BYU students are in the middle of completing their academic studies with hours of rigorous written and oral final examinations.

BYU Rugby’s student athletes are not immune to these academic rigors and on the sum excel in the classroom just as they do on the rugby pitch with a team average academic GPA of 3.45.

Considering that 2014 incoming BYU freshman averaged a 3.85 and an ACT score of 28 in high school the title of being a “student-athlete” isn’t bandied about lightly by the BYU Rugby coaching staff.

BYU Rugby’s 50th Anniversary Schedule Released

The 10,000+ fans at Rio Tinto Stadium cheer on a BYU player in the 2014 Varsity Cup National Championship where BYU won 43-33. United World Sports Photo
The 10,000+ fans at Rio Tinto Stadium cheer on a BYU player in the 2014 Varsity Cup National Championship where BYU won 43-33. United World Sports Photo

Provo, UT—The four-time and three straight National Champion BYU Cougars will kick off a commemorative 50th season starting this January with games against some of the top collegiate programs in the country, including a home-and-away series with St. Mary’s College (2014 D1A Champions), Cal Poly SLO (2014 D1A Quarterfinalist) along with the return of the hugely anticipated Wasatch Cup fixture with in-state rival the University Utah (2014 Varsity Cup Quarterfinalist).

BYU will kick-off the season in earnest against the recently added Varsity Cup team, Arizona State University on January 10th in St. George, UT.

The remainder of the 2015 BYU Rugby schedule sees local rivals Utah Valley, Utah State and Dixie State squaring off with the Cougars along with another home-and-away series with their strong regional rival the Air Force Academy.

A highlight of the Cougars’ 2015 season will be the celebration of the program’s 50th Anniversary on April 17th and 18th.

That weekend BYU Rugby Alumni, former coaches, family, friends and fans will be able to celebrate BYU’s winningest sports program by participating in a variety of social gatherings,culminating with a formal dinner.

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