Dan Hubert

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 Cougars Will Attempt Four-Peat Against California Golden Bears

BYU senior Dan Hubert runs the ball against CWU in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup semifinals. BYU won 35-8 to advance to the championship match against Cal. Photo by Andrea Wride

Brigham Young University rugby head coach David Smyth will lead the Cougars (13-0) to achieve a feat on May 2 at Rio Tinto that has only been accomplished by one college rugby team: four-straight national championships.

The Cougars have four national titles overall which includes the last three championships in a row along with the 2009 national championship. But the only other rugby team to achieve this feat will be not-ironically suiting up against the Cougars this Saturday: California Berkeley.

The Bears own the record of consecutive championships at 12 from 1991-2002. And with a total of 26 titles to their tally, BYU’s four championships seem meager in quantity.

BYU senior Dan Hubert runs the ball against CWU in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup semifinals. BYU won 35-8 to advance to the championship match against Cal. Photo by Andrea Wride

BYU and California have battled for the championship 8 times in the last 9 years with California owning the series at 5-3. But the Cougars have won the last two meetings in 2013 and 2014 and they know the Bears will be looking to change that recent trend at the 9th meeting this Saturday.

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.