Short-handed rugby team struggles in Denver

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    By Craig Walton

    The BYU rugby team struggled against the Super League Denver Barbarians Saturday night, as the Cougars fell 68-12.

    The Cougars (6-2) dropped their second game of the season, as they work to grind through the early portion of the season with a case of the injury bug.

    “We are going through a pretty tough stretch right now,” BYU coach David Smyth said. “We have 12 of our [first team] currently unavailable for selection, so we just have to keep powering through and working hard.”

    The injuries proved too much for the Cougars to overcome as the Barbarians took over the game early, scoring 33 points in the first half.

    “We knew what we were up against today,” Smyth said. “Obviously there are a lot of lessons to learn from a game like this and I hope our guys are able to look back and see what it is that they can do to get better.”

    The second half did not fair much better for the Cougars as they were outscored 35-7. The Cougars said the game was an uphill battle but looked to focus on the basics.

    “I told the guys to play hard, focus on the basics so that when all was said and done they could be proud of their performance,” Smyth said.

    The Barbarians held the Cougars scoreless until the 35th minute in the game when Manti Su”a was able to score the team”s first try. The team then went on another scoring drought until the 68th minute when Travis Rodermund scored the team”s final try.

    BYU was also able to give some of its reserves valuable playing experience that might help the team”s depth and experience level.

    “There were a few guys that stepped up today and that has been noted,” Smyth said. “We learned a lot about our reserve players in this game and I think that there are some guys that will be seeing substantially more playing time.”

    The Cougars are now 2-2 on the road after last week”s 28-22 loss to Colorado.

    The team”s schedule turns in favor of BYU as it plays the next five games at home on Helaman Field.

    The first battle of the five-game home stretch will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. as the Cougars take on archrival Utah.

    BYU rugby contributed to this article

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