California

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 plays CWU in the Varsity Cup Semifinals

Provo, UT—The BYU rugby season is quickly coming to an end and the Cougars (12-0) remain undefeated as they head to the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Semifinals this weekend. The two-day 50th Anniversary Celebration begins on Friday and culminates with the game against Central Washington University on Saturday, April 18 at 1 p.m. MST on BYU’s South Field.

“This has been one of the most exciting seasons we’ve had,” said David Smyth, BYU rugby head coach. “It’s fitting that this year is the 50th anniversary. Everyone involved this semester has given a performance worthy of the team’s great legacy.”

Last week the team played in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup quarterfinals and defeated University of California, Los Angeles 45–16. Although the UCLA Bruins fought hard, the Cougars’ offense and defense came together in a spectacular showcase of strength and determination.

The win last weekend means the Cougars advance to the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Semifinals and will play against the CWU Wildcats. CWU is most recently coming from a victory against the University of Utah (18–7) and has won a total of eight out of ten games this season.

On the other half of the bracket of the quarterfinals are the California Golden Bears and the Navy Midshipmen. California put on an offensive exhibition last week beating the Texas Longhorns 100-7. Navy, on the other hand, is going into the quarterfinals following a nail biter against Clemson winning 24-23.

Wayne Tarawhiti, assistant coach for BYU rugby, feels the game against CWU will be a good test for BYU in preparation for the winner of California vs. Navy.

BYU Rugby: A look back at the 2014 season and the state of program

BYU fullback Josh Whippy scored two tries to help his side beat the California Golden Bears in front of 10,000 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium this past Saturday for the Varsity Cup National Championship. United World Sports Photo.
BYU fullback Josh Whippy scored two tries to help his side beat the California Golden Bears in front of 10,000 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium this past Saturday for the Varsity Cup National Championship. United World Sports Photo.

Provo, UT—With the dust still settling from the Cougars resounding 43-33 victory over the California Golden Bears BYU head coach David Smyth, his staff and captain Kyle Sumsion took time to review the 2014 season which culminated in BYU winning the Varsity Cup National Championship for the second year in a row over the University of California—Berkeley.

By running in seven tries against the vaunted California rugby program and in front of over 10,000 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium the Cougars put an exclamation point on a season that had high expectations from the outset according BYU’s head coach David Smyth.

“The season was a huge success,” said Smyth, “Our main priority was obviously to defend our championship and we did that. I couldn’t be more proud of the work our players put into this season in order to help us win the Varsity Cup again. We have a lot of respect for the California rugby program and are fortunate to have come out champions in this meeting between our two teams.”

BYU Rugby: A look back at the 2014 season and the state of program

BYU fullback Josh Whippy scored two tries to help his side beat the California Golden Bears in front of 10,000 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium this past Saturday for the Varsity Cup National Championship. United World Sports Photo.
BYU fullback Josh Whippy scored two tries to help his side beat the California Golden Bears in front of 10,000 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium this past Saturday for the Varsity Cup National Championship. United World Sports Photo.

Provo, UT—With the dust still settling from the Cougars resounding 43-33 victory over the California Golden Bears BYU head coach David Smyth, his staff and captain Kyle Sumsion took time to review the 2014 season which culminated in BYU winning the Varsity Cup National Championship for the second year in a row over the University of California—Berkeley.

By running in seven tries against the vaunted California rugby program and in front of over 10,000 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium the Cougars put an exclamation point on a season that had high expectations from the outset according BYU’s head coach David Smyth.

“The season was a huge success,” said Smyth, “Our main priority was obviously to defend our championship and we did that. I couldn’t be more proud of the work our players put into this season in order to help us win the Varsity Cup again. We have a lot of respect for the California rugby program and are fortunate to have come out champions in this meeting between our two teams.”

BYU Rugby: Cougars weather the rain & a tough Navy team to advance to 9th straight National Championship

BYU All American center Paul Lasike barges past the Navy defense for his lone try of the game.
BYU All American center Paul Lasike barges past the Navy defense for his lone try of the game.

Provo, UT—The BYU Cougars weathered the rainy and windy conditions today on South Field to beat the formidable Naval Academy Midshipmen to advance to the Varsity Cup National Championship by the score of 60 to 0.

With the wet and soggy conditions BYU was able to hold a stout Navy team in check and garner the first shut out of the season while also notching a lopsided score against the No. 5 ranked Naval Academy.

“I thought we started the game well given the conditions,” said BYU head coach David Smyth, “And overall we put together a solid performance that we can certainly build on moving into the championship game next week.”

The scoring started in the 5th minute with center Jared Whippey dotting down after a well constructed kicking exchange by BYU that saw the Cougars with a lineout just outside of the Naval Academy goal line.

More sustained field position control by BYU saw winger Chris Wernli take a cut back pass to bully his way the final 5 meters for the games second try.

The Cougars continued to manage the wet conditions with a strong kicking game that kept Navy pinned in their half of the field.

BYU flyhalf Jonny Linehan was the next Cougar player to take advantage of the field position with a penalty kick in the 17th minute.

Cougars Release 2014 Schedule

Provo, UT—The three-time National Champion BYU Rugby team today released its upcoming 2014 schedule, which includes two top men’s teams, the return of the Wasatch Cup and two inaugural challenge series with some of collegiate rugby’s top teams.

“One of our goals as a program here at BYU is to provide an environment where our student athletes are challenged to develop into good rugby players,” said BYU head coach David Smyth,”I firmly believe that this schedule offers that opportunity for development. Our regular season competition, will be very demanding and will help us improve and mature as we lead up to the Varsity Cup National Championship.”

The Cougars’ season begins at the familiar Las Vegas Invitational January 22-24 in conjunction with America’s largest rugby tournament the USA Sevens HSBC IRB Sevens World Series stop at Sam Boyd Stadium. BYU’s foes are still to be determined as event organizers are finalizing involved teams.

BYU’s next challenge will be in Mesquite, NV as the team squares off with Colorado University and the Air Force Academy in the Red Rock Invitational February 7th and 8th.

The Cougars will then travel to Moraga, CA February 15th for the first leg of the inaugural West Coast Cup which pits West Coast Conference foes BYU against the formidable St. Mary’s College.

The Gaels of St. Mary’s will return to Provo, UT March 8th for the second leg of the home-and-away series three weeks later. The cumulative score tally between the two games will declare the winner of the West Coast Cup.