Second string starters come up short against Utah State in women’s rugby

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The BYU women’s rugby team suffered from its first loss of the season this past Saturday against Utah State University 10-8.  However, considering BYU’s second string went up against USU’s first string, players and coaches were still pleased with the performance.

“It was unfortunate we lost, but we still played a good game,” Nalia Tafua said. “We struggled with inexperience, but our forwards were able to control things pretty well.”

During the first half, USU scored first but missed the extra point, going up 5-0. Not too long after, BYU bounced back with an infield kick, making the game 5-3. BYU controlled the ball late in the first half but was not able to convert any more drives.

“We were going into our rucks really slow,” Nicole McCullough said. “At the half we had a team meeting, and after that we started to pick it up and saw good things.”

Even though BYU began to pick it up, USU scored again early in the second half extending the lead 10-3. USU celebration was cut short when BYU scored once more closing the lead 10-8. Just as in the first half, the Cougars controlled the ball for the last several minutes but were not able to convert.

“We were able to control the ball the last several minutes of play,” Tafua said. “But we just ran out of time.”

The reason rucking quickly is so vital is it prevents the defense from setting up to stop the offensive plays. BYU allowed USU’s defense to set up, which made it more difficult for the scrum half to get the ball out to the fly half and continue down the field.

In addition to rucking, the second string starters noticed they had a hard time with some of the basics in the game, such as passing and catching.

According to Ellexis Khan, one of the second string starters, this was a good practice game for them.

“Overall we have improved playing together as a second team since the season began,” she said. “There were just a few key things that went wrong.

In order to help the second string players get more experience under their belts, they play Weber State University next Saturday at Fort Utah Park, and admission is free for any BYU fan.

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