BYU Cougars

Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Semifinals: No. 1 BYU Cougars to play Arkansas State at South Field this Saturday

Provo, UT- The undefeated Brigham Young University rugby team (21-0) returns to South Field to play Arkansas State in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Semifinal this Saturday, April 23, 2016, at 1 p.m. MT.

"Our team has continued to work hard carrying the momentum from the regular season to the playoffs this year," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of BYU's performance this season. "We need to continue to stay disciplined all 80-minutes of the game and keep up our intensity. Arkansas State will play their best and will bring it on Saturday."

The Arkansas State Red Wolves has a history of being a formidable opponent on the rugby pitch. In 2012 national championship game, the Cougars and Red Wolves battled it out resulting in a gritty final score of 49-42 in favor of BYU. Arkansas State has produced several All-Americans as well as USA 7s representatives.

"Sticking to the game plan will be key in winning this weekend's game," said BYU no. 8 Joe Pikula who scored a try in last week's playoff game against Dartmouth. "I have full confidence in my team. Executing what the coaches have worked with us on in practice has paid off on the field."

In the 75-15 victory over Dartmouth, multiple Cougars added points to the final tally including Tua Laei, Josh Anderson, Jared Whippy, Sialao Mobley, Matt Jensen and Kevin Schofield. While the Cougars have won several games this season by double digits, the Cougars have demonstrated tough forward play. Fans can expect to see BYU battle it out in the scrums and lineouts throughout the course of Saturday's match.

"This season's forward pack has a lot of experience," said BYU forwards coach Wayne Tarawhiti. "They've worked really hard and our record shows. We're excited to play Arkansas State. We're ready to play and we know they will be ready as well."

No. 1 BYU rugby to play in-state foe UVU at UVU's home field on March 26

Provo, UT- The no. 1 Brigham Young University Cougars will make the short journey to Orem to take on the Utah Valley University Wolverines on Saturday, March 26. In the last full 80-minute match of the Cougars versus Wolverines in 2015, the Cougars shut out the visiting Wolverines 109-0 at South Field.

"Regardless of last year's outcome, we need to be prepared and stay focused on Saturday," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of BYU's preparation for UVU. "We need to continue to execute as a team. Last week against Army and Weber State, we were able to see different players rise to the occassion. I know we'll continue see each member of team step up when called upon."

In the home match against the Army Knights last Thursday, the Cougars held the Knights scoreless in the second half with a 71-10 finish. Several Cougars added to the final tally of the night. Junior lock Matt Jensen, sophomore hooker Alex Vorster and sophomore center Calvin Whiting each scored two tries in the match.

Last Saturday, the BYU 2nd XV defeated the Weber State Wildcats 71-0 at Weber. Rugby newcomer Sam Merrill pulled off a hat trick as the Cougars dominated on both ends of the ball.

"The boys have meshing together really well," said BYU scrumhalf Kingston Matua of BYU rugby's victories. "As long as we stick to our game plan and what we've been working on in practice, we'll win."

The Cougars have been meshing well as Matua pointed out and here are a few of the statistics showing what BYU's 1st XV has accomplished in its last five matches:

  • BYU has outscored opponents 301 to 89 in its last five games
  • BYU averages 60.2 ppg compared to 17.8 ppg tallied up by opponents
  • BYU has scored a total of 21 tries in the first half and 22 tries in the second half over the course of five matches

"We look forward to playing the Wolverines," Smyth said. "We know they will put everything they have on the field."

BYU sweeps the 2016 series against St. Mary's with a 62-15 win at home in Provo on March 12

Provo, UT- In front of a packed stadium at South Field, the no. 1 Brigham Young University rugby team defeated the no. 3 St. Mary's Gaels 62-15 on Saturday, March 12. In the first half, BYU sophomore winger Kevin Schofield completed his third game in row with a hat trick giving the Cougars the momentum they needed to continue their win streak.

"St. Mary's played a tough game today, but our boys played hard and kept their foot on the gas all 80 minutes," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of BYU's win at home. "Kevin stepped up today on his birthday. We also saw consistent play in our set pieces and good ball control."

Despite kicking off to start the first half, the Cougars managed to get the ball back and found themselves in scoring position early on. A handful of penalties prevented the Cougars from finding the try line. BYU finally scored a try in the 7th minute when a Jared Whippy kick connected with Schofield who eluded several Gaels en route to his first try of the day. BYU's Calvin Whiting's conversion was good giving the Cougars a 7-0 lead.

The Gaels answered back in the 21st minute taking advantage of the BYU penalty by sending the ball through the uprights for three points closing the gap to 7-3 with BYU still in the lead. Not only did the Gaels score three points, but Whippy was also sent to the sin bin requiring the Cougars to play down a man for the next ten minutes.

Not allowing the their shortage of players on the field to hold them back from scoring, BYU once again got on the scoreboard due to a try from eight-man Joe Pikula who bulldozed his way through three St. Mary's players. Whiting followed up Pikula's try with a completed conversion increasing BYU's lead to 14-3.

The No. 1 BYU Cougars to play no. 3 St. Mary's on Saturday, March 12

Provo, UT- In a battle of two of the top collegiate rugby teams in the nation, the no. 1 Brigham Young University Cougars will take on the no. 3 St. Mary's Gaels at South Field in Provo this Saturday, March 12, at 1 p.m. MT for the second time in 2016. In the last match between the Cougars and Gaels on Feb. 20 at St. Mary's, the Cougars hung on for a 30-29 win despite the relentlessness and conditioning of the Gaels.

"St. Mary's always brings it every match so we need to be prepared," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of skill level and conditioning of Gaels. "We will need to be better in our set pieces and execution. We'll also need to keep our foot on the gas the entire 80 minutes and stay focused on finishing with the win. We can't afford to play the same way we did last week against Central Washington."

Last week against the Central Washington Wildcats, the BYU Cougars had a rough start to both halves of the game which included three tries in a row scores by the Wildcats in the second half. In BYU's last match against the Gaels, the Cougars led 27-8 in the second half. It wasn't until the last five minutes of the match where the Gaels pieced together back-to-back tries and conversions putting the Gaels within one point.

"We'll be defending our home pitch this time," said BYU rugby team captain and scrumhalf Luke Mocke of St. Mary's coming to South Field. "Our passing and ball control will be key against St. Mary's. They have the ability to score as well as play defense. As long as our forward pack and back line work as one, we'll finish with a win."

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 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.

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.

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

​  BYU rugby team captain Kyle Sumsion is lifted by his teammates after winning the 2014 Varsity Cup National Championship. Photo by Andrea Wride ​
BYU rugby team captain Kyle Sumsion is lifted by his teammates after winning the 2014 Varsity Cup National Championship. Photo by Andrea Wride

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.

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.

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