BYU rugby team flies by Air Force’s cadets

BYU scrumhalf Shaun Davies scores his late game try in the corner. (Photo courtesy Paul Meyers)


PROVO — The 8-0 BYU Cougars beat the visiting Air Force Academy by the score 76-20 today to move atop the Western Conference standings and to remain unbeaten at home since moving to South Field in 2009.

BYU has never lost on South Field and held serve today notching 11 tries, nine conversions and one penalty goal against the Cadets.

“We played well,” said BYU assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti, “Our set piece was on and from that we were able to really build some pressure which led to some great tries.”

The 11-try scoring spree didn’t start right away however as has often been the case throughout the earlier part of the season.

From the kick-off Air Force would put BYU under pressure inside their own 22-meter line for the better part of the opening 7 minutes. And a Cougar penalty led to an early Air Force shot at goal in the 2nd minute.

The ensuing kick from 40 meters was just short and BYU looked to get out of the their end of the field fruitlessly until the 8th minute when Air Force was penalized for not releasing a BYU attacker and scrumhalf Shaun Davies easily slotted the 30 meter penalty goal.

The following restart was kicked out on the full and fullback Tua Leai scored the opening BYU try after a well-worked move from the ensuing midfield scrum.

Leai made another break after the next restart and he connected with center Paul Lasike who raced and stepped his way 40 meters for the next try of the game.

And after the slow start the Cougars quickly surged to a 17-0 lead by the 13th minute. Air Force gathered themselves and eventually pressure an errant BYU kick in their own half and garnered a penalty, 17-3.

Again, the Cougars found success from the restart and a break made by Davies set up wing Malosi Te’o down the sideline, which led to center Seki Kofe scoring under the posts in the 16th minute. BYU led 24-3 and looked to be in full control of the game at the 16th minute.

But Air Force again wouldn’t lay down and pressed the Cougars inside the BYU half. Eventually the Air Force pressure broke the Cougars defense and two missed BYU tackles led to a try for the Academy in the 23rd minute.

More pressure led to a contested break down and Cougar wing Austin Allred was yellow carded in the 26th minute. Air Force cut the lead to 24-13 with the penalty.

Playing a man down seemed to refocus the Cougars’ resolve as BYU scored two tries in the 10 minute sin-bin span with prop Ray Forrester and captainRyan Roundy each scoring in the 30th and 35th minutes.

The Cougars allowed one more try to Air Force  but that would come in the 77th minute and after another run of six BYU tries in the second half.

Prop Mikey Su’a garnered his solo try in the 45th minute as he rumbled 15 meters with a host of AFA players working to drag the big prop to the ground.

More tries from flyhalf Dylan Lubbe, Roundy, replacement flanker Hynie Leaaetoa and Davies round out the BYU scoring. Davies converted 9 of 11 tries, many from right-hand sideline angles.

BYU head coach David Smyth was pleased with his team’s performance against the speedy and sizable AFA Cadets.

“Overall I was happy with our performance,” Smyth said. “As we expected Air Force came out strong and did a fairly good job of moving the ball. It was a matter of being patient and soaking up the pressure. When we got our opportunities we did well and put points on the board. We were fairly clinical at times and that was good to see.”

BYU now stands atop the Western Conference standings with two bonus-point wins and will take a week off from league play two non-conference opponents on South Field.
The Cougars will first host local cross-county Utah Valley University on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

BYU will then host the No. 2 ranked St. Mary’s on March 10th at noon.
The Gaels lead the Pacific Conference with huge wins over conference foes UCLA (76-19) and Cal Poly SLO (69-3).

BYU fans are invited to come to both games early as seating will likely be limited. Tickets can be bought at the gate for $10 (adults), $5 (students) and children under the age of 12 are free.

BYU’s lineup

  1. Mikey Su’a
  2. Ishmael Tilialo (Scott Gowdy @ 61′)
  3. Ray Forrester (Chad Harker @ 45′)
  4. TJ Allred
  5. Viliami Vimahi (Mark Bonham @ 40′)
  6. Kumi Tua’one (Dave Collins @ 72′)
  7. Kyle Sumsion (Hynie Leaatoa @ 40′)
  8. Ryan Roundy (c)
  9. Shaun Davies (Inoke Funaki @ 68′)
  10. Dylan Lubbe
  11. Malosi Te’o (Will Taylor @ 58′)
  12. Seki Kofe
  13. Paul Lasike
  14. Austin Allred
  15. Tua Leai

BYU 76
Tries: Leai 9′; Lasike 12′; Kofe 16′; Forrester 30′; Roundy 35′, 53′; Su’a 45′; Lubbe 50′; Leaaetoa 55′, 61′; Davies 63′
Conversions: Davies 9/11 (9′, 12′, 16′, 30′, 35′, 50′, 57′, 64′, 71′)
Penalties: Davies 1/1 (8′)
AFA 20
Tries: AFA 23′, 77′
Conversions: AFA 2/2 (23′, 77′)
Penalties: AFA 2/3 (15′, 26′)


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