NYAC coach: BYU’s crowd “threw us for a loop”


PROVO — In a battle of champions, the top men’s club team topped the nation’s best college team, but all rugby fans gained by the matchup.

“We really appreciate the treatment we got from BYU,” said NYAC head coach Bruce McLane. ”Not only does BYU have a class team on the field, they are gentlemen off it. There is a terrific fan base, we really enjoyed our experience, the crowd really threw us for a loop with their enthusiasm. We can’t thank the BYU team enough for the quality of game and quality of the hospitality South Field is an awesome venue. We hope to be back.”

The BYU Cougars scored two late tries in the waning minutes of the match but fell short of upsetting the reining United States men’s division champs New York Athletic Club losing on South Field by the score of 22-16 in a hotly-contested match. Watch the video replay of the match here.

“We battled a great team today,” BYU coach David Smyth said. “NYAC is the best men’s club team in America for a reason. They have great players who represent at the international level and they showed their class in taking their moments when they came. That said, I’m proud of our guys for not throwing in the towel and battling the entire game. We’ll learn from this and be better for it.”

BYU’s first scoring opportunity came in the fifth minute as a jarring tackle from center Paul Lasike caused the NYAC flanker Paul Denise to knock the ball loose and into the hands of the BYU wing Chris Wernli who paced 80 meters for what was a supposed try.

But a curious call from referee Mark Ormsby brought the play back to the original knock-on from the Lasike tackle.

BYU continued their efforts of managing the field position which eventually offered the Cougars their opening points from the boot of Lasike in the seventh minute following a NYAC high tackle.

NYAC would counter however and own the majority of possession and field position for the remainder of the 1st half.

With NYAC knocking on the Cougars’ goal in the 10th minute after a series of repeated lineouts, mauls and goal line phases the BYU defense would cause the turn over and hold NYAC out of the end zone.

But the continued pressure of losing the field position battle and playing close to their goal line eventually led to the Cougars succumbing to the NYAC attack as Eagle scrum half Mike Petri took a quick tap from 5 meters out for the game’s opening try.

After Toby L’Estrange’s conversion hit the goal post, NYAC took a 5-3 in the 25th minute.

NYAC continued to pressure the Cougars deep in their own half and eventually scored again after a 10-meter lineout and maul. Again the L’Estrange conversion was missed, giving NYAC a 12-3 lead at the half.

In the second half, BYU opened the scoring again on a Lasike penalty conversion in the 49th minute, but that was all the improved BYU attack could score early on. On three separate occasions the BYU pressure led to Cougar lineout inside the NYAC 22 meter line, but missed throws or lost possessions left BYU scoreless.

BYU turnovers also led to solo walk-in tries from NYAC defenders in the form of No. 8 Alan McFarland ripping the ball from BYU’s captain Ryan Roundy and fullback Justin Hundley intercepting a wide Lasike pass to take a 22-6 lead in the 66th minute.

But the Cougars weren’t going to go down with out a fight as prop Kody Thompson scored from close range in the 75th minute and center Seki Kofe scored moments later in the 79th minute. Both conversions were hastily missed by Lasike and BYU’s comeback fell short.

BYU next steps on the pitch in a second-team fixture at Utah next on Saturday at 1 p.m. Update: This match has been cancelled due to injuries to Utah players.


BYU 1st XV

  1. David Williams (Ishmael Tilialo @ 40′)
  2. Ray Forrester
  3. Kody Thompson
  4. TJ Allred
  5. Kyle Lontine
  6. Dan Hubert (Jon Layne @ 60′)
  7. Kyle Sumsion (Braden Bair @ 60′)
  8. Ryan Roundy (c)
  9. Luke Mocke
  10. Jonny Linehan (Inoke Funaki @ 5′; Lelann Latue 74′)
  11. Jordan Lowry
  12. Seki Kofe
  13. Paul Lasike
  14. Chris Wernli
  15. Will Taylor

NYAC XV & Reserves

  1. Nick Discala
  2. Conor Coyne
  3. Pat Fiffe
  4. Seth Cohen
  5. Brian Doyle
  6. James Denise
  7. Neil McMillan
  8. Al McFarland
  9. Mike Petri
  10. Toby L’Estrange
  11. Sean Verma
  12. Phil Bailey
  13. Chris Chapman
  14. Kyle Granby
  15. Justin Hundley
  16. Kirk Hamilton
  17. Manny Cipriani
  18. Marvin Jean Baptiste
  19. Phil Rowe
  20. Danny Grace
  21. Ryan Diehl
  22. Gideon Balloch
  23. Rob Johnson

BYU: 16

TRIES: Thompson 75′; Kofe 77′
PENALTIES: Lasike 2/2 (7′; 49′)

NYAC: 22
TRIES: Petri 25′; Doyle 30′; McFarland 56′; Hundley 66′
CONVERSIONS: L’Estrange 1/4 (66′)



  1. spencer merrill

    This was a great match. Congratulations to both clubs. They both fought hard, played great and showcased some great rugby skills.

    Any update on the BYU player taken off in the ambulance? We trust he is okay.

    Congratulations to BYU Rugby.
    NCAA Champions.

  2. Matt Browne

    A brutal hard hitting match it was. BYU probably has the best venue in the United States for college rugby. I will continue to watch matches when shown online.