The BYU men’s rugby team fell just short of an undefeated season and fifth-straight Varsity Cup with a 40-29 loss to Cal last weekend.
Despite the loss, the Cougars feel it was a successful and special season.
“I feel like the season went really well,” junior Joshua Whippy said. “The boys grew as a unit. We became a close-knit group. I know the boys will come back next year more hungry for a national title.”
The Cougars entered the title game last weekend with a perfect 22-0 record and 47-game winning streak dating back to 2014.
The 2016 season was filled with plenty of great play from the Cougars. Over the stretch, they posted eight shutouts and broke 50 points in more than half of their games.
The Cougars had a close call on February 20 against St. Mary’s, winning 30-29. But a few weeks later on March 12 BYU destroyed the Gaels 62-15, reiterating their dominance.
The Cougars put on a phenomenal show in the Varsity Cup Round of 16 against Arizona State, defeating the Sun Devils 113-8. They then defeated Dartmouth 75-15 in the next round. BYU then beat Arkansas State 68-20 in the semifinals on their way to their fifth consecutive Varsity Cup title game.
The Cougars faced off against the California Golden Bears, whom they had beaten in the title game the previous three seasons.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, they fell to the Bears 40-29.
After the title game, head coach David Smyth said he was pleased with the team’s performance throughout the season.
“Just because we lost today doesn’t take away the hard work we’ve done all year,” Smyth said. “(We) obviously would’ve liked to have won today, but we didn’t. So we learn from it and come back and be stronger.”
Following the title game, sophomore Jonny Layne said this year is one he won’t forget.
“(This season) is absolutely memorable,” Layne said. “This squad has been so special, just because of the unity that we’ve had. Up this point, we’ve honestly dominated, but for no individual effort. It’s just been a team all the way, so that’s what makes it memorable; the unity of the team, the bond between the brothers and how fun it’s been all season.”