Men’s rugby dominate Washington teams

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    By David Hawks

    The BYU men”s rugby team continued its winning tradition by thumping two Washington teams last weekend in an invitational at IMA turf field in Seattle.

    The Cougars defeated No. 16 Washington on Friday night, 60-10. The No. 5 Cougars then defeated the unranked University of Central Washington the following day, 73-5.

    Although the scores would indicate easy games for the Cougars, team manager Gabriel Almeida said the competition was fierce.

    “They were tough teams, we just played really well,” Almeida said. “We scored a lot of points on scrums and lineouts.”

    Throughout the year, head coach Jared Akenhead has emphasized the need for a solid team and not just a group of standout players. Almeida said there were good individual efforts during the weekend, but the teamwork was even more impressive.

    “There were great performances from everyone during both games,” senior flanker Alma Clark said. “When we put it all together, it just flowed.”

    Team members gave credit to Jeff Hullinger, a junior, who scored several tries against the Huskies. Hullinger”s performance came as a surprise to most because this is only his second year playing for BYU.

    Even though the Cougars won by large margins, BYU still struggled with penalties during the invitational.

    The Cougars were called for a variety of penalties including obstruction. Unlike American football, rugby players are not allowed to use fellow teammates as blockers.

    “We tend to make minor mistakes,” Clark said. “They are usually little things that just shouldn”t happen.”

    This weekend was the first time that BYU faced the two Washington teams, and it was also the first time the Cougars had to play on a turf field.

    In preparation for the change in terrain that the IMA turf field had to offer, the Cougars held practices at the indoor field on campus. The turf training helped as the Cougars were able to keep the upper hand on the two Washington teams.

    “The turf was a big difference for us,” Clark said. “It was a lot faster, and the bounce of the ball was more predictable.”

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