Varsity Cup

No. 1 BYU advances to Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Semifinal after defeating Dartmouth 75-15 on April 16, 2016

Thanks to a well-rounded offensive attack, the no. 1 Brigham Young University rugby teams advances to the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Semifinals after defeating Dartmouth 75-15 at Dartmouth on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

"Hats off to our boys for continuing play hard even on the road," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of his team's win over Dartmouth. "Many of our players stepped up and performed when called upon. We have to keep winning to play another week and that's what they did today."

BYU winger Kevin Schofield put the first five points on the score board with a try in the 5th minute giving the Cougars a 5-0 lead. The Cougars added additional points to the board thanks to two tries from Tua Laei and one a piece from Jared Whippy and Josh Anderson plus two good conversions until the 38th minute when a Dartmouth interception resulted in a try. Dartmouth's conversion was successful changing the score to 34-7 before half-time.

After going into half-time down 34-7, Dartmouth made a penalty kick closing the gap to 34-10 with the Cougars still in the lead.

"The coaches told us to play our hardest," said BYU scrumhalf Luke Mocke. "They reminded us what we're playing for which helped come out even harder in the second half."

Three minutes later at the 44-minute mark, no. 8 Joe Pikula rumbled in the try line giving BYU another five points. The conversion was successful increasing BYU's lead to 41-10.

BYU lock Matt Jensen found the try line in the 53rd minute. BYU scored more tries between the 56-minute mark and 79-minute mark thanks to Jared Whippy, Laei, Anderson and Sialao Mobley. While only two of the conversions between the 23-minute stretch were completed, BYU increased its lead to 75-10.

Dartmouth wasn't done for the day. The opposing team scored another try at the end of the match making the score 75-15 still in BYU's favor.

BYU (19-0) opens Varsity Cup playoffs against ASU in Arizona on Saturday, April 9

The no. 1 Brigham Young University rugby team (19-0) will travel to play the Arizona State Sun Devils for the first round of the Varsity Cup playoffs in Mesa Saturday, April 9, 7 p.m. BYU's regular season accomplishments are the result of well-coached players who have executed on the pitch.

"Many players stepped up to the challenge this season and we will need them to do it again against ASU," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of BYU's undefeated record. "We were able to develop more players this year and those who received those opportunities played well."

A few of the players mentioned by Smyth who played well this season include Matt Jensen, Jackson Kaka, Calvin Whiting, Kingston Matua and Kevin Schofield. Jensen, a junior lock who has found the tryline several times during the regular season, credits much of the team's success to consistent play and effective coaching.

"I've been a creature of opportunity," Jensen said of being able to make plays on the rugby pitch. "Most of my tries have been set up by the team. The whole team across the board has been solid. They're consistent. No one is selfish as we've been spreading the ball out."

BYU's expectations to play well and win the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup is due in part to BYU's five national championships with four of those championships being consecutive wins. While the Cougars have not lost a game since February 2014, they do not appear to be letting up. The team's ability to stay focused and play hard each game has been an accomplishment on its own.

"This year, as a team, we have worked on sticking to what we worked on in practice," said no. 8 Joe Pikula. "We've focused on executing what we worked on in practice. We've performed well against top competition like St. Mary's and Central Washington. I think we've been able to outperform our own expectations."

BYU will play San Diego State at South Field on March 29, 2016

Provo, UT- The undefeated Brigham Young University rugby team will welcome the San Diego State rugby team to South Field on Tuesday, March 29.

"San Diego State will be hungry for another win," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of the visiting team. "We'll need to continue our momentum from the win against UVU last week. Our team has seen different players step up when called upon. I know we'll see the same thing happen at South Field when we play the Aztecs tomorrow."

Last week's match against the Utah Valley Wolverines ended with a 25-7 victory. The Cougars took the field with mixture of 1st and 2nd XV members of the BYU rugby team in the win in Orem. Players that have stepped to the challenge in recent games include freshman scrumhalf/flyhalf Kingston Matua and senior lock Brock Markham.

"Brock and Kingston have been impact players on the pitch," said BYU 2nd XV coach Steve St. Pierre of the two Cougars. "Kingston has done a great job leading on the field with his passing ability. Brock has been key in winning many of our lineouts. Players like Kingston and Brock are the reason why our team has so much depth this season. The depth in our roster will be important in the post-season."

With its sights set on winning the 2016 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup, BYU is the top-ranked team in the nation. The Cougars have not lost a match since February 15, 2014 against St. Mary's at St. Mary's home pitch. BYU has won five national championships. Four of its five championships were consecutive seasons from 2012 to 2015. BYU's last championship win was a nail-biter against the California Golden Bears. The Cougars finished on top with a 30-27 win.

2016 Schedule Announced

As the calendar turns to a new year, the Cougars set their sights on a 5th straight national title in preparation for the 2016 season.

 

This year’s BYU rugby squad has a lot to look forward to as they return a plethora of talent from last year’s national championship squad, who defeated California 30-27 in the 2015 Varsity Cup title game at Rio Tinto Stadium.

 

Below is the released 2016 schedule for the Cougars. They will head down I-15 back-to-back weekends to begin their title defense when they take on Utah in St. George on January 16th and then compete in the annual Red Rock Invitational Tournament in Mesquite, NV over the January 23rd weekend.

 

After trips to play Colorado in Grand Junction and a return to St. George to take on Dixie State, BYU will then hit the road to take on northern California rugby power St. Mary’s in Moraga, CA on February 20th.

 

Their first home contest will take place against the Falcons of the Air Force Academy on February 27th, which will then be followed by Central Washington on March 5th, a rematch with the Gaels from St. Mary’s on March 12th, and then another home contest on St. Patrick’s Day against Army.

 

After a March 19th trip to Ogden against Weber State, BYU will return home under the lights for contests against the Aztecs of San Diego State on March 29th, and then close the season with the annual Wasatch Cup game against rival Utah on April 1st.

 

Stay tuned for more specific details of each match on https://rugby.byu.edu/schedule, as times and addresses will be posted closer to gameday.

 

1/16/2016      Utah (St. George, UT)

1/23/2016      Red Rock Invitational Tournament (Mesquite, NV)

2/6/2016        @Colorado (Grand Junction, CO)

2/13/2016      @Dixie State (St. George, UT)

2/20/2016      @St. Mary’s (Moraga, CA)

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.”

Rio Tinto Stadium to Host 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Rugby Collegiate Championship on May 2

Salt Lake City, UT - The 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Rugby Collegiate Championship will take place at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, May 2. The Championship is slated for 2:00 p.m. MT and features the winners of the Varsity Cup Semifinals taking place this Saturday. The championship match will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.

Media looking to cover the event can apply for a media credential using the following link. The application deadline is Tuesday, April 28.

Utah’s own Brigham Young University advanced to the 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup semifinal last weekend, defeating UCLA 45-16, continuing their perfect 12-0 season. The Cougars remain the only college from Utah in the tournament after University of Utah was eliminated for the second consecutive year by Central Washington in a narrow 18-7 loss on April 11.  BYU is next scheduled take on CWU this Saturday, April 18 at 1:00 p.m. MT at South Field in Provo. The match marks the 50th Anniversary of BYU Rugby and will include a flag raising ceremony recognizing the 2014 Championship team.

In the other semi-final pairing, Navy challenges California on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. MT at Witter Rugby Field at University of California Berkeley. Navy got by Clemson 24-23 last weekend while Cal handled Texas 100-7.

The winners from each of Saturday’s semifinal rounds will face off in the 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Championship at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 2 at 2:00 p.m. MT. An updated Varsity Cup bracket can be found here.

RIO TINTO STADIUM TO HOST 2015 PENN MUTUAL VARSITY CUP NATIONAL RUGBY COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP ON MAY 2

Salt Lake City, UT - The 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Rugby Collegiate Championship will take place at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, May 2. The Championship is slated for 2:00 p.m. MT and features the winners of the Varsity Cup Semifinals taking place this Saturday. The championship match will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.

Media looking to cover the event can apply for a media credential using the following link. The application deadline is Tuesday, April 28.

Utah’s own Brigham Young University advanced to the 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup semifinal last weekend, defeating UCLA 45-16, continuing their perfect 12-0 season. The Cougars remain the only college from Utah in the tournament after University of Utah was eliminated for the second consecutive year by Central Washington in a narrow 18-7 loss on April 11.  BYU is next scheduled take on CWU this Saturday, April 18 at 1:00 p.m. MT at South Field in Provo. The match marks the 50th Anniversary of BYU Rugby and will include a flag raising ceremony recognizing the 2014 Championship team.

In the other semi-final pairing, Navy challenges California on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. MT at Witter Rugby Field at University of California Berkeley. Navy got by Clemson 24-23 last weekend while Cal handled Texas 100-7.

The winners from each of Saturday’s semifinal rounds will face off in the 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Championship at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 2 at 2:00 p.m. MT. An updated Varsity Cup bracket can be found here.

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 Advances to Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Semifinals After Defeating UCLA

BYU senior Kody Thompson runs the ball against UCLA. BYU won 45-16 to advance to the semifinals of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup playoffs. Photo by Andrea Wride
BYU senior Kody Thompson runs the ball against UCLA. BYU won 45-16 to advance to the semifinals of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup playoffs. Photo by Andrea Wride

Los Angeles, CA – Frustrated UCLA Bruins could not stop the relentless, well-conditioned BYU Cougars (12-0) at UCLA’s North Athletic Field on Saturday, April 11, in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup quarterfinals. With tall, green trees and red-accented brick buildings as the backdrop, the Cougars beat the Bruins 45-16.

“Led by our front row: Zane Mendenhall, Alex Vorster, and Kody Thompson, these boys built a good platform for us to work off, defensively we were able to get on our tackles early and as a result we created scoring opportunities,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. “Fair play to UCLA, they were aggressive and did a good job at disrupting our momentum. Our performance was uneven at times and we had to work hard for what we got.”

BYU senior Kody Thompson runs the ball against UCLA. BYU won 45-16 to advance to the semifinals of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup playoffs. Photo by Andrea Wride

UCLA was able to make two penalty kicks and try but couldn’t manage much more offensively. BYU’s senior wing Jordan Lowry scored two tries in the win as five other Cougars got on the scorecard. Junior fly half Jonathan Linehan made five out of seven conversion attempts in the match.

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.

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