The undefeated and No. 1-ranked Cougars are rolling. The 13-0 squad has one game left in the regular season before starting its quest for a second Division I national title. BYU defeated chief rival Utah 38-22 last weekend at South Field in Provo. The Deseret News' Aaron Morton recently caught up with team captain Ryan Roundy.
Q: Utah has been called a "rugby hotbed" by Nigel Melville, USA Rugby CEO and President of Rugby Operations. Do you think that is true? Why?
A: I do believe that Utah is a rugby hotbed. We have some of the best high school and U19 programs in the country, and I believe it greatly contributes to the fact that BYU and Utah are always a couple of the best teams in the country. From what I have seen and experienced, the coaching here in Utah is exceptional. They have systems that work and great athletes buy into the programs and have a lot of success.
Q: Last summer you played on the Collegiate All-American Touring team with MikeY Su'a. What was that experience like? Do you see you and or your teammates doing this again?
A: It was an amazing experience to be an All-American and to be able to play alongside some of the best college rugby players in the country. We had a great tour in California against a visiting New Zealand side and I learned a lot in just a few weeks. We would love to have the opportunity to represent BYU again, but we aren't looking forward to the summer. Right now we are focusing on the last part of our season and doing all we can to achieve the goals which we have set for ourselves this season.
Q: Sevens rugby seems to be on the rise, especially with it coming to the Olympics in 2016. Is this good for the sport of rugby, or would you rather have seen 15s as an Olympic sport?
A: I believe that the growth of sevens rugby is great for the game of rugby in general. Since it will be an Olympic sport in 2016, there are a lot of people that are trying it out and starting to follow it. It's an exciting game to play and watch and I believe that it will continue to grow. Since you can finish an entire sevens tournament in a couple of days, I believe that it will be a great and successful sport in the Olympics.
Q: What does the Wasatch Cup mean to you? What do you see happening in the future with the Cup?
A: I always look forward to playing Utah because I know many of the guys on the team and it's always the biggest game of the year. Rivalry games are always intense, and are always the funnest games of the season. It is our first goal every year to win the Wasatch Cup, and I've been lucky enough to be on the winning side for three straight seasons since I have been at BYU. BYU and Utah in rugby are the biggest collegiate rivalry in the nation and it will always be that way. It's always an intense game and I don't see any of that changing any time soon.
Q: The playoffs are coming up. What do you think of your chances of taking home the Division I-A college title this year?
A: We have a very talented team this year and have the potential to be a great team. We are improving after every single game and we hope to be hitting our stride in a couple of weeks once playoffs start. If we can continue to play as a team and play to our strengths, we will have the opportunity to do very well in the playoffs. Obviously there are numerous other teams in the country that have the same goal as we do to win a national championship, so it is not going to be easy. We are going to have to play as a team and play our best games in the upcoming weeks in order to achieve our goals.