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."