By Jonathon Eyre
The BYU men”s rugby team is trying to remain focused as they prepare to face Texas A&M and the University of Colorado this weekend.
Coaches emphasized in practice the need to remain focused and pointed out their only loss this year came because they weren”t prepared mentally.
The Cougars are also continuing to key in on fundamentals.
“We worked a lot on our set plays, line outs and scrums, because that is where our weaknesses are right now,” senior lock Brian Westenskow said. “Our loose play has been a lot better. We”ve been able to get around and get good multi-phase play.”
BYU expects both games to be a challenge.
“It”s a great chance to go and play two very good teams,” Westenskow said. “It”s going to be forward oriented they (Colorado and Texas A&M) have two really large strong packs.”
Coach David Smyth said Texas A&M is a bigger team like Utah Valley State College, which the Cougars played this past week.
“They (Texas A&M) are a much bigger team,” Smyth said. “They have big forwards. They like to keep it up front. They”re a very competitive team as well.”
The Cougars are going to try and use Texas A&M”s size against them. Smyth said BYU is going to move the ball around the field and tire out the Aggies.
In August the Cougars faced a Texas all-star team featuring some of Texas A&M”s players, senior scrum half Pierre Fourie said.
Fourie said the all stars played well so the game should be tough.
The Buffaloes play a style similar to the Cougars and are about the same size, Smyth said.
“It will pretty much be man up,” Smyth said. “Every man will be looking at his opposite number and deciding to outplay him for the day.”
Fourie said the game against Colorado should be a challenge because they have played and beaten some of the better teams in the West like New Mexico.
“I think they”re one of the better teams in the nation actually,” Fourie said. “They”ve got a lot of good players.”
The Cougars will be without the services of senior All-American winger Ned Stearns and flanker Matt Hutch, who are staying in Provo because of “academic commitments.”
BYU will also be playing without junior prop/hooker John Gowdy who is out with a separated shoulder he suffered during the game against UVSC.
Both games will be in Boulder, Colo. The Cougars will face Texas A&M on Friday and Colorado on Saturday.