St. Mary's College

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 rugby finishes with 30-29 victory over St. Mary's Gaels in California

Moraga, Calif.- Proof that the best teams play till the very end, BYU rugby's defense worked to hold off St. Mary's late comeback and finished with a 30-29 win at the lush, green pitch of St. Mary's in California.

"Our boys worked hard for the win despite St. Mary's bringing everything they had the full 80 minutes," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of St. Mary's late push in the second half. "We credit St. Mary's for playing hard through the entire match."

After both teams went scoreless during the first ten minutes of the match, St. Mary's capitalized off a Cougar mistake by putting three points on the board thanks to an accurate penalty kick. It wasn't until BYU's Kevin Schofield scored a try at the 22 minute mark that the Cougars were able to get on the board. Seeking to capitalize on his team's momentum, BYU's no. 8 Joe Pikula scored BYU's second try two minutes later increasing BYU's lead over the Gaels 10-3.

Seven minutes after Pikula's try, St. Mary's scored their first try of the match at the 29 minute mark. At the 33 minute mark, BYU's Jared Whippy converted a penalty kick changing BYU's lead to 13-8. Jared, who played at fly half in today's contest, made the conversion following the try scored by his twin brother, Joshua, at the 38 minute mark before the Cougars held the lead at half-time, 20-8.

"We knew we had to stay focused going into the second half despite our 12-point lead at the end of the first half," said Jared Whippy of St. Mary's intensity. "We always to need to play our best."

BYU Plays Utah For Wasatch Cup This Saturday

Salt Lake City, UT—BYU (8–0) is coming to the Wasatch Cup ready to play the University of Utah (8–3) for the second time this season. The game is Saturday, March 21 at 1 p.m. MST on the Ute Soccer Field.

Most recently BYU defeated Saint Mary’s College 35–26. The game was a close one; the Cougars were behind most of the first half until a try by senior center Seki Kofe followed by a conversion by junior fly half Jonny Linehan in the 28th minute. Linehan had an especially impressive match, despite being injured, and scored 20 out of the 35 total points.

“Every season is good, but this one has been especially impressive,” said BYU assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti. “Our boys have really come together and know what they are doing. They play as a team.”

The Cougars have already played the Utes once this season in the Southern Utah Showcase and beat the team 50–22. While Utah traditionally has an aggressive offense, BYU has a strong defense and a depth at different positions.

“The Clash of the Titans”: BYU vs. Saint Mary’s College

Provo, UT—The dictionary defines a titan as one who stands out for greatness and achievement. BYU rugby fits this definition. The team is prepared for the upcoming clash against Saint Mary’s College this Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m. MST.

BYU has already played Saint Mary’s College once this season, but this time the game is at home. That means a familiar field, greater support, and even more Cougar pride. Fans and players alike have felt the tension building in anticipation for Saturday.

“This past weekend we had a great turnout for the game against Salt Lake Community College,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. “This weekend, two of the best rugby teams in the nation are going head to head. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Two weeks ago the BYU Cougars beat the Saint Mary’s Gaels 32–28. The game was a close one; if not for center Seki Kofe’s try and fly half Jonathan Linehan’s conversion in the 55th minute, the game could easily have yielded a different result.

Most recently the Gaels are coming from a 48–10 win over Cal Poly. This weekend the team will play both the University of Utah and BYU on consecutive days. BYU is coming from a 58–10 win against Salt Lake Community College. The team is 7–0 so far this season.

“We’re ready to take on St. Mary’s for the second time this season,” said BYU rugby team captain and All-American Kyle Sumsion. “Saint Mary’s is the only team that beat us last season. We don’t want that to happen again.”

All Utah Youth Rugby players who come to the South Field wearing their team jersey will be admitted to the game at the discounted price of $3. There will be a curtain raiser against Weber State University at 5 p.m. MST.

The Saturday game will be streamed live on BYU Rugby’s YouTube channel,https://www.youtube.com/user/BYURugbyTV. Also follow the Cougars on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

BYU improves to 6-0 against St. Mary’s

Moraga, CA- Senior center Seki Kofe’s try in the 55th minute followed by junior fly half Jonathan Linehan’s conversion against a scrappy #4 St. Mary’s defense put #1 BYU’s point total at 32 for the day despite a rough first half.

The visiting BYU Cougars (6-0) won 32-28 defeating the Gaels improving their win streak to 18 since the Gaels handed the Cougars their lone defeat of the 2014 at St. Mary’s on Feb. 15, 2014. The 18-game win streak includes the 43-33 Varsity Cup National Championship victory over the California Golden Bears.

“We picked up the pace in the second half which made all the difference. Our forwards ran hard increasing our confidence as a team,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth.

BYU struggled in the first forty minutes despite an early penalty kick by Linehan in the 4th minute and a quick try by senior fullback Ryan Blaser in the 10th minute which gave the Cougars a 10-0 lead. The Gaels responded with great passing and kicking as they scored 18 unanswered points going into half-time with an 18-10 lead.

Subbing in for Blaser in the second-half, junior fullback Joshua Whippy scored a try in the 41st minute closing the gap to 15-18. Six minutes later, Linehan sent a penalty kick through the uprights tying the game at 18-18.

“I knew it was a critical moment of the game since St. Mary’s came out hard in the first-half,” said Linehan of his second penalty kick. “I knew I could count on my teammates to keep the momentum going.”

The momentum increased for the Cougars as freshman winger Calvin Whiting scored a try in the 48th minute as a good conversion by Linehan increased the lead to 25-18. The Gaels responded four minutes later with a penalty kick changing the score to 25-21.

BYU takes on tough competition this weekend

Moraga, CA—BYU is on the road again and ready to play one of its toughest competitors: St. Mary’s College in California. The game is at 12 p.m. PST this Saturday, February 28.

After an unexpected game cancellation against the Air Force Academy last weekend, BYU is anxious to get back on the field, and St. Mary’s is a fitting opponent. It is the only team that disrupted BYU’s win streak last year (L 30–24).

“Not only are we ready to get back in action and play, but we’re coming into this game with a lot of energy and preparation,” said Kyle Sumsion, BYU team captain. “Last year we weren’t as focused. We don’t want to make that mistake again.”

While the Cougars went on to defeat the Gaels in their second matchup of the 2014 season, the first game was still a disappointment. To make sure this coming game isn’t a repeat of history, the Cougars have put in extra hours at practice this past week.

This season St. Mary’s has experienced some turnover in players and as a result has had some ups and downs. The team is coming to the match against BYU with the latest win against San Diego State (W 78–5). St. Mary’s Tommy Wallace and Kingsley McGowan are leading the team, both offensively and defensively.

In 2014, St. Mary’s was named the Men’s College Team of the Year by American Rugby. Most recently Coach Tim O’Brien was awarded Coach of the Year on January 24, 2015 by USA Rugby.

“It’s no lie that St. Mary’s is a good school and has a great rugby team,” said BYU rugby assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti. “But BYU has had no losses this season. This will probably be one of the most exciting games up to this point in the season.”

This weekend’s game will be broadcast live on SMC Gael Vision at www.smcgaels.com. For a direct link, visit http://rugby.byu.edu/schedule/2015-schedule.

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.”