Ara Elkington

California bests BYU in 2016 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Final 40-29 at South Field on May 7, 2016

Provo, UT- The physicality and persistence of the California Golden Bears proved to be too much for the Brigham Young University Cougars in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup. With a late scoring run in second half, California finished with a 40-29 win in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Final on Saturday, May 7, at South Field.

"Cal was the better team all-around today," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of the Golden Bears winning the 2016 championship. "They were more physical in the breakdown. They were very good in the lineouts. In fairness to our boys, we did have our moments in today's match."

The Cougars opened up the championship game against the Bears by kicking off. BYU struggled in the lineouts which created opportunities for California to score. After several phases by both teams, the Bears scored the first try of the day at the 13-minute mark. Despite a missed conversion, the Bears gained a 5-0 lead over the Cougars. 

Refusing to be held scoreless, BYU responded with a try by Zach Webber in the 29th minute. Calvin Whiting's conversion was good giving the Cougars a 7-5 lead. Five minutes later, BYU scored again with a try from BYU captain Ara Elkington. Whiting nailed his second conversion of the day putting the Cougars up 14-5. 

California answered back with its second try of the match closing the scoring gap to 14-12 with BYU still in the lead. However, neither team would score again in the first half.

Four minutes into the second half, BYU's Ryan Blaser found the tryline earning the Cougars another five points. Whiting's conversion was good increasing BYU's lead to 21-12. Taking advantage of a California penalty, Whiting completed a penalty kick changing the score to 24-12.

BYU beats CWU and advances to Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Championship

Provo, UT—Excitement abounded today on BYU’s South Field as the Cougars defeated Central Washington University 35–8, advancing to the final round of the Varsity Cup National Championship.

The undefeated Cougars fought back an aggressive offense from the CWU Wildcats throughout the game and sustained several injuries. Despite the setbacks, the Cougars played hard the entire 80 minutes and scored consistently.

“Both teams had great defense, but BYU played really well and kept CWU at bay most of the time,” said David Smyth, BYU rugby head coach. “Even when our players were hurt they turned in a winning performance. Nothing stands between us now and the final championship game.”

Linehan, a scrum half affectionately known as “Jonny Rugby” by fans, is a New Zealand native and All-American. He scored the first try of the game. CWU then took the game up a notch and scored a try but were only able to get in a penalty kick for the remainder of the game. Other BYU players who scored include Joshua Whippy, Joe Pikula, Ryan Blaser and Arawa Elkington, who scored an especially impressive try of a stolen CWU pass.

“Central Washington’s front line was strong,” Linehan said. “Our forwards and backs communicated really well throughout the match allowing several us Cougars to score. Being able to play at South Field with our loyal crowd helped us big time.”

Fans from both teams filled the South Field, cheering loudly for their respective team. Among the fans were close to 100 past BYU Rugby players who were there as part of the BYU Rugby 50th Anniversary Celebration festivities. They flooded the field during halftime and were honored by current team members and fans alike.

“We want to thank everyone who has contributed to this team’s legacy and made BYU rugby what it is today,” Smyth said. “Whether current team members, past players or fans, we couldn’t do it without you.”

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 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.