Rugby makes return to Final Four


    By Brandon Wells

    The BYU men?s rugby team is once again taking the field against Utah, this time today in the semifinals of the National Collegiate Rugby Championships.

    The match begins at 5 p.m. MDT at Steuber Rugby Stadium at Stanford University. The winner will advance to face the winner of the Cal-Navy game for the National Final Championship on Saturday.

    ?Our strengths right now are team unity and chemistry. We are going to stick with the game plan that we?ve had in the last few games. We have two of our starters back, so we just need concentrate and stick to the game plan,? said head coach Jared Akenhead.

    BYU suffered a 17?15 loss in their game with Utah earlier this season.

    ?We?ve really come together as a team,? said Ross Robinson, a senior playing ?lock? for BYU. ?When we played them [Utah] last time, we weren?t as used to playing with each other as we are now. I think our intensity will be much stronger now that we are comfortable about playing with each other. Plus, we are playing Utah in the semifinals, so it is just a dream to be here.?

    BYU advanced to the semis by beating Penn State 44?35 and Army 36?13 in the tournament two weeks ago. The last time BYU rugby participated in the National Final was in 1984, when they lost a close game to California. The tournament changed its policies to a Saturday/Sunday format the next season, causing BYU to choose not to participate.

    Last year, that policy was changed to where the championship game would fall on a Saturday, and the Cougars could play for the title again.

    ?We?re all really excited,? Robinson said. ?We are excited for ourselves, but also to represent all of those players before us who sacrificed so much and never got the chance to play in a championship because they wouldn?t play on Sunday.?

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