BYU rugby may be a college team, but its program competes at a whole other level.
For the first time in BYU history, the 2012 collegiate champions will face the 2012 Super League semi-professional champions, the New York Athletic Club, in the Champions Challenge.
BYU ended last year’s season undefeated and, for the second time in school history, as national champions. This year the Cougars have a record of 6–1 with a sole loss against the Old Puget Sound, another semi-professional team. The game ended 34–30 in favor of the Sound when they scored a last try in the final minutes of the game.
Saturday’s game will be competitive and physical. As two of the top teams in the nation face off in a battle for the champion of champions.
“This is a semi-professional team,” senior lock TJ Allred said. “They have many people who have played at the professional level. This will be the best rugby you will see between two top championship teams. It will be high action with a lot of impact.”
This week the team has prepared both physically and mentally for the intense game. NYAC has won four National Super League Championships in eight years.
“We picked the intensity up in practice this week,” freshman halfback Jonathan Linehan said. “We need to be mentally prepared for a physical game.”
BYU has only lost 20 games in the past 21 years. The Cougars will be pushed this weekend as a few of the them will be proving that they can contend at the next level.
“This is huge,” BYU assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti said. “If we win tomorrow, then we have proven ourselves as a program. In my opinon, this is the biggest game that BYU has had up to date. As for physicality, it will be the most physical game BYU will ever play.”
BYU kicks off at 1 p.m. on South Field. Tickets can be purchased at the gate.