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BYU rugby: Cougars clinch playoff berth

Published: Monday, April 11 2011 11:06 a.m. MDT

TUCSON, Ariz. — The BYU Cougars beat the Arizona Wildcats by the score of 70-12 over the weekend to be the first team to punch their ticket to the College Premier Division playoffs.

A win in their final regular season game against Arizona State on April 30 would give the Cougars (11-0, 6-0 Western Conference) lock up the conference title and secure a home playoff game for their CPD quarterfinal match up on May 7 against the Eastern Conference No. 2 seed.

"We're happy to win today," said BYU head coach David Smyth, "It was a bit sloppy at times, but we have a spot in the playoffs and now we just need to work towards getting a home game in the first round."

With an uncharacteristic set of weather conditions for Tucson the Cougars and Wildcats played in the cold and the rain and it was a tight first 10 minutes as BYU led 7-6.

BYU's opening points came from a converted quick tap try by captain Ryan Roundy in the second minute while Arizona's points were tallied off the boot of Arizona's Mike Getzler, who notched two penalty goals. One of the kicks was scored with room to spare from 49 meters.

As the Cougars' struggled with their set pieces BYU's scoring opportunities were few in the opening quarter of the game.

BYU however would still find a way to score with hat-trick-scorer and flanker Hynie Leaaetoa scrambling for his first try from turn over ball in the 25th minute. His scores came after Lock Viliami Vimahi's burrowing try in the 10th minute.

Center Dylan Lubbe would also step his way into the end zone from 35 meters out five minutes later to give the Cougars a 17-6 lead.

Leaaetoa scored one of the Cougars' next two tries to close out the half.

BYU would get another chance to dot down in the 38th minute as freshman center Jared Whippy blocked a would-be Arizona clearing kick. The blocked kick was regathered by lock Viliami Vimahi 20 meters from the Wildcat tryline.

Vimahi would off-load to a supporting prop Ray Forrester who, after a charging a few short meters, then off-loaded back to the Vimahi. Vimahi would finally link with the original playmaker Whippy who dragged a few Arizona defenders over the line for his sixth try in CPD action.

The Whippy try was converted and at half time it was BYU leading 38-9 with six tries to Arizona's three penalty kicks.

The Cougars would tally another six tries in the second and the scoring started quickly in the second half after flanker Apenisa Malani dummied off the kick off to make long 30 meter break.

With the less than ideal weather BYU's Smyth was pleased with his team's performance on the road.

"The conditions slowed us down a bit," he said, "It made it sloppy a bit, as did some of our execution and decision-making. But all in all the boys played well against a good team."

The Cougars now have the next week off for finals before they prepare for a non-conference tilt with Dixie State College at home on South Field on April 23.

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