Alex Vorster

Playing championship rugby a long way from home: Get to know BYU's Alex Vorster

A long way from where he was born and raised, Brigham Young University hooker Alex Vorster has overcome multiple life-changing events to get to where he's at now: playing a critical role in BYU's championship rugby team.

"There are a lot of differences living here," said Vorster of his transition from Durban, South Africa where he was born and raised to Provo, Utah. "It's not as humid and hot in Provo as it is in Durban. It's family-oriented here and the importance of religion is intense. I've been able to do well thanks to how accomadating people are here."

Vorster, a 20-year-old sophomore studying economics, is no stranger to change and credits the lessons he's learned from his parents as well as the friendly culture of the BYU community to helping him get to where he is today in life. He also acknowledges the support his sponsor family in Utah has given him by treating him as their own. 

While growing up in South Africa more than 10,000 miles away, Vorster experienced different life-changing events. Vorster's father remarried when Vorster was about five years of age in which he gained two half-brothers from his father's new marriage. When Vorster was 18-years-old, his mother passed away.

"Although my parents weren't together, they taught me to be humble," Vorster said of the teachings of his parents. "Whenever they saw me becoming a little boastful, my parents have always helped me know I stand. They always reminded me."

Learning to adjust to different situations and environments didn't stop when Vorster moved to BYU. Vorster, who is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, faced more learning curves from understanding BYU's unique culture to taking religion courses.

BYU rugby continues win streak with 71-10 finish over Army on March 18

Provo, UT- The no. 1 Brigham Young University rugby team continued its win streak with a 71-10 over the Army Knights of West Point on March 18, 2016 at South Field. Army scored two tries in the first half but would never find the tryline again falling to the balanced attack of BYU.

"We're grateful for Army making it out tonight and for the service they render," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of the Army Knights who traveled from West Point, NY. "They're a disciplined team. We needed to come out attacking all 80 minutes because we knew they would not give up."

Army responded with strong counterattacks in the first couple minutes of the match keeping the Cougars on edge until the Cougars gained control of the ball and worked their way down to Army's half of the field. In the 3rd minute, BYU's Zach Webber dodged several Knights and found the tryline adding five points to the score board. BYU sophomore center Calvin Whiting completed the conversion giving the Cougars a 7-0 lead.

Ten minutes later, the Army Knights responded with a try of their own. Army's flyhalf missed the conversion changing the score to 7-5 with the Cougars up by two points. In the 20th minute, Whiting scored a try off a grubber from junior flyhalf Joseph Nicholls. Whiting then completed the conversion giving the Cougars a 14-5 lead.

"We knew they'd respond quickly so we had to score as soon as we could to regain the momentum," Whiting said of Army's try in the 13th minute. "Our team stepped up and we were able to maintain ball control and play solid defense."

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.