South Field

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.

No. 1 BYU rugby seeks to complete 2016 season with Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Final win over California on May 7, 2016

Provo, UT- With four national championships in a row and five overall, the No. 1 Brigham Young University rugby team (22-0) seek to complete another perfect season with a Penn Mutual Varsity Cup final victory over the California Golden Bears on Saturday, May 7, at BYU's South Field.

"Our team has continued to play well and stay focused this season," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of his team's win streak since February 2014. "We've been able to see many players step up and perform on game day. Our forward pack has been reliable and our backs have come through each game. We'll need to keep it up this Saturday against Cal. They are always ready to play."

California has proven to be a formidable rival for the BYU Cougars under the leadership of head coach Jack Clark who took over in 1984. The Golden Bears have a history of dominance in the world of collegiate rugby with 12 consecutive national title wins from 1991-2002 and grand total of 26 national championships overall. Like the Cougars, the Bears have produced many All-Americans as well as members of the USA Eagles such as Seamus Kelly. Last year's Varsity Cup Final was a thriller as the Cougars finished on top with a 30-27 win at Rio Tinto Stadium. 

"Cal has a history of playing great rugby," said BYU senior scrumhalf Luke Mocke. "We can't take a break. We have to stay focused all 80-minutes and stick to what the coaches have worked with us on. Their coaching has paid off as shown by our team's ability to score and starve our opponents of the ball."

The Cougars have proved to be an offensive juggernaut throughout the 2016 Varsity Cup playoffs so far outscoring opponents 256-43 with a scoring average of 85.3 points per game. BYU's depth has shown on the rugby pitch as multiple Cougars have added tries to the scoreboard with points their forward pack. 

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."

Wasatch Cup: Rival University of Utah to play BYU at South Field on Friday, April 1

Provo, UT- Friday's game is no joke. The Brigham Young University rugby team will host in-state rival University of Utah in a battle for the Wasatch Cup at BYU's South Field on April 1, 2016.

"Utah always plays hard," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of the Utes. "We'll need to stay focused and stick to our game plan as we have all season. Ball control will be key against the Utes. We'll need to starve them of the ball and keep attacking all 80-minutes."

BYU's most recent victory was a 71-0 win over the San Diego State Aztecs at South Field on March 29, 2016. Multiple Cougars found the tryline as BYU continued its win streak including senior wing Joshua Anderson who added four tries. BYU worked hard offensively and was able to take advantage of San Diego State's defensive lapses. The Cougars plan to continue their momentum against University of Utah.

"We're always excited to play our rival," said team captain and senior scrumhalf Luke Mocke of the Wasatch Cup. "Utah always brings it each time we play them. We're ready for the challenge."

In last year's Wasatch Cup, BYU defeated the Utes at University of Utah's home pitch 76-31. Several Cougars scored tries in the 2015 Wasatch Cup in a display of BYU's versatility.

Kick off is set for 7:00 p.m. MDT at South Field on Friday, April 1, 2016. Tickets are available online at this link. The game will be live-streamed from BYU's YouTube channel.

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 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 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.

ABOUT THE BYU RUGBY PROGRAM:

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.

BYU Cougars Defeat SMC Gaels at South Field

BYU center Joshua Whippy and teammates perform the haka on March 14, 2015 before kick off against St. Mary's at BYU's South Field. Photo by Andrea Wride
BYU center Joshua Whippy and teammates perform the haka on March 14, 2015 before kick off against St. Mary's at BYU's South Field. Photo by Andrea Wride

Provo, UT—BYU defeated Saint Mary’s College for the second time this season with a final score of 35–26, proving that the Cougars are number one in the nation.

More than 3,000 fans were on the edge of their seats tonight at BYU’s South Field as the no. 1 Cougars took on the no. 4 Gaels. BYU is part of the Varsity Cup and has a bye to this year’s quarterfinals.

“Saint Mary’s came out with a tough defense, but we worked our way around it and built momentum for a strong victory,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth.

Following a demonstration of the haka by BYU as a sign of respect to the game of rugby, the team had a rocky start. Saint Mary’s was in the lead until BYU’s first try by senior center Seki Kofe, followed by junior fly half Jonny Linehan’s conversion, bringing the score to 16–7 in the 28th minute. Junior center Joshua Whippy scored a try in the 36th minute, bringing BYU’s score up to 14. The Cougars were still behind at halftime 16–14.

BYU wins home opener against SLCC

Provo, UT- Passionate fans cheered the BYU Cougars (7-0) on Fan Appreciation Day at BYU’s South Field as the Cougars defeated the Salt Lake Community College Bruins 58-10 as BYU started its home schedule on Saturday, March 7.

“Our fans have played a major role in our success today. Their support really motivated us to run hard and make plays,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth.

BYU ran hard and made plays as scrum half Joseph Nicholls and flanker Steve Davies led all scorers with two tries each. Davies scored his two tries in the first half punching through SLCC’s defense. Nicholls added ten points total in the second half in the victory.

SLCC’s forwards were quick and aggressive racking up several large hits as they worked to win the rucks. The Bruin back line displayed their shiftiness and athleticism at times but could not keep up with BYU’s pace and resilient defense.

“The score doesn’t tell the story of the whole game. The Bruins played hard all 80 minutes,” said BYU rugby assistant coach Steve St. Pierre. “We’ve been putting in the work every day at practice. Our boys made the big plays when it mattered most.”

The most dramatic play of the game came in the second half as a breakaway run by flanker Erik Wilcox down the middle of field got the crowd to its feet. Wilcox fought through the front line then quickly offloaded the ball to No. 8 Hayden Johnson. Johnson caught the ball, quick-stepped the last SLCC defender then placed the ball down for a try in the 59th minute.

BYU will welcome the St. Mary’s Gaels at BYU’s South Field at 7 p.m. MST on Saturday, March 14. The Cougars defeated the Gaels 32-28 on Feb. 28 at St. Mary’s home field.

Game notes:

Open substitutions were used by both teams.

BYU has won 19 straight games since the 2014 loss to St. Mary’s at Moraga, Calif.

Including today’s game, BYU has scored at least 50 or more points in six of their last seven matches.

Pages