At various points during the women’s rugby season, coaches have felt it necessary to give inexperienced players from the second team opportunities to play the entire match to help build a deeper team so lack of performance or injury won’t stop the Cougars from progressing.
This weekend the second team gets another chance in the team’s last game of the fall season against Weber State.
The first time BYU and Weber State matched up was also the first time the second team got a chance to shine. Despite its lack of experience and knowledge of the game, BYU’s second team, with the help of a few starters, defeated Weber State 46-8.
“They [Weber State] were inexperienced and even though most of us were inexperienced as well, it affected our game,” Rebekah Boaz said. “We could have been more organized, but we still came together and ended up winning.”
The only difference from the last meeting to this Saturday’s meeting is the second team will compete completely on its own, with no help from the experienced, first-string players. However, to prepare for the game new players on the team focus on the highlights of their first few months in a new sport.
Several players — including Boaz, who said she was hooked on rugby after the first time she played — said their “ah ha” moment came on their road trip to Colorado as they played against Air Force and Colorado State.
“While playing Colorado State, I had a long run and stiff-armed two or three girls in the process,” Boaz said. “Because of the yardage I gained, we ended up scoring a few plays later. It was our last league game and we qualified for the Sweet 16.”
Nalia Tafua, a captain on the second team, said the road trip to Colorado was where she realized how much she loved playing the game and how close she had come to the girls on the team. But her highlighted playing experience came against Weber State the first time the teams met.
“The last time we played Weber, I felt I really stepped up and played really well,” Tafua said. “Because I stepped up, I scored twice for my team.”
Amber Ah Sue, a first-year player from Laie, Hawaii, shared similar feelings to Boaz in her love for hitting people.
“A highlight for me was the first time I hit someone at practice,” Ah Sue said. “I’m really into contact sports. In Hawaii they have wrestling in high school for boys and girls, so after I hit someone for the first time in rugby, I felt I was back in the grove.”
The game against Weber State begins Saturday morning at 11 at Fort Utah Park in Provo.