St. George, UT- With St. George's iconic red rock as the backdrop, the BYU rugby 2nd XV defeated Dixie State University rugby at Snow Canyon High School with a final score of 53-12.
"The team played well together today, which resulted in a hard fought and deserving win," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. "I was pleased to see the efforts of everyone who saw time on the field against Dixie State."
Both sides came out strong with only 10 points seperating the two teams 25 minutes into the first half. After an elusive run beating a few defenders, walk-on junior Sam Merrill ran 60 meters to score and put the Cougars up 15-0.
The Cougars scored another converted try thanks to Freshman Zach Webber, and went into the half time break leading 22-0.
Despite a late offensive rally by Dixie State, the BYU Cougars were in control for most of the game, and fans watched BYU junior winger Ryan Lever score two of BYU's nine tries. Eight different Cougars put points on the board. BYU freshman Paul Campbell scored one try and kicked another 10 points through the uprights.
BYU's forward pack managed to outsmart and outwork their bigger Dixie State counterparts by creating scoring opportunities and spreading the ball wide. Forwards coach Ishmael Tilialo said "Our more experienced players like Ben Keith and Wineera Elkington stepped up and lead from the front, which gave our younger players the confidence to attack."
The Cougars credit their conditioning and simple game plan to helping them win by 41 points.
"We remembered to play simple and support our runners throughout the 80 minutes on the field," said BYU junior fly half Joseph Nicholls who captained the Cougars today. "Our conditioning and coaching continues to pay off every game."
BYU rugby's next match is in Moraga, Calif. where the first XV will play St. Mary's on Saturday, February 20.
BYU Rugby Reserves Starting XV: