BYU rugby (12-1), leading by as much as 29 points in the second half, came away with a 45-33 win despite a late offensive charge from San Francisco Golden Gate (6-3) on Saturday at BYU’s South Field.
In a matchup between collegiate national champions and men’s division champions, BYU wingerChris Wernli and BYU center Jared Whippy led the Cougars in scoring with two tries a piece followed by a try each from Joshua Anderson, Jonathan Linehan and Joshua Whippy. San Francisco played a physical game, trading hits with the Cougars throughout the game but couldn’t win the game after getting on the score board first in the third minute.
“The first half was the best half of rugby we’ve played all year. The boys came out, challenged and really worked hard and very smart too. The gaps opened up for them. Got a good lead going into half-time,” BYU rugby head coach David Smyth said “I couldn’t be more proud of the boys. (They) just fought to the very end. Overall, this has been by far the best performance of the season.”
Compared to previous matchups at South Field, San Francisco featured more seasoned, developed players compared with BYU’s lineup which resulted in a more physical game. Injuries affected both teams throughout the flow of the game. A San Francisco player received a yellow card in the first half for throwing punches at Anderson following a ruck.
BYU’s defense held in the first half following an early score by San Francisco and leading to multiple scores within minutes of each other. Joshua Whippy left the field after a hamstring injury in the 37th minute and did not return to the game. The Cougars ended the half leading San Francisco 31-7.
Six minutes into the second half, Jared Whippy cut through a gap for his second try off an assist from Linehan. Linehan’s conversion kick was good, increasing the Cougars’ lead to 38-7.
San Francisco scored 26 points in the second half, as the Cougars struggled to keep San Francisco out of their own territory.
BYU would score once more in the 57th minute, with Whippy assisting Linehan for another try and a solid conversion giving the Cougars 45 points for the day.
“As a team, we came together during the rucks. Played for the brothers, for the school, for the program and came out with a victory,” BYU prop Steve Saia said.
The Cougars look forward to hosting Utah at South Field on April 4, 7 p.m., for the coveted Wasatch Cup. The Cougars have won eight of the last nine games against the Utes, with Utah’s last win in 2005.
“We feel excited to play the U. It’s always good competition, and we look forward to it,” Saia said.
The Utah rugby matchup with be available via live stream and through real-time tweets on @byurugby.