BYU rugby captures fourth consecutive national championship

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The BYU Rugby team celebrates their (Joshua Jamias)
The BYU Rugby team celebrates its fourth consecutive national championship. BYU Defeated Cal 30-27. (Joshua Jamias)

BYU Men’s Rugby fought tooth and nail to win the honors of a four-peat championship and make history against California in the 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championship.

The tension could be felt between the two teams as they faced off in their third consecutive championship meeting. BYU fans showed up with enthusiasm, and the roar of the stadium was deafening as the BYU Cougars held off the California Golden Bears 30-27.

“It was right down to the wire the whole game,” BYU junior scrum-half Luke Mocke said. “Cal came out to play. Every single year it has gotten harder to beat them, because they come out and they want it more. They really put it all out on the pitch tonight. It took a lot of heart to be able to win with them coming at us so hard, but it felt awesome.”

BYU started out strong as senior center Seki Kofe scored a try seven minutes into the game. California answered with a penalty kick, but BYU continued to dominate as junior Wing Josh Anderson scored another try in the 24th minute. BYU’s strong defense managed to hold Cal to three points in the first half.

Cal came out ready to play in the second half. Within two minutes California scored a try but missed the conversion. Cal seemed to get fired up, scoring again in the 49th minute, and BYU fought for momentum. BYU was barely hanging on to its lead of 17-15 but shut it down as junior Flyhalf Jonny Lineham scored a penalty kick in the 57th minute. BYU’s junior Center Jared Whippy scored a try within three minutes along with junior Flyhalf Jonny Linehan adding a conversion kick.

The crowd of BYU fans roared with the success of the Cougars leading 27-15. The final 20 minutes of the game consisted of both teams battling it out to score. BYU fought to keep its lead as Cal used trick plays and great athleticism to reduce the lead to three, but the Cougars came out on top 30-27.

“It was a real team effort today. It was 15 men battling for each other to win,” BYU head coach David Smith said. “It was one heck of a game.  Fantastic program, fantastic team, it doesn’t get better. To play a final like this, that is what we want. To play the best games against the best teams and win.”

 

 

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