No. 3 BYU rugby welcomed No.1 Saint Mary’s to Provo on Saturday looking to beat a Gael team that handed the Cougars their only loss of the season. The highly anticipated rematch between two of the top three teams in the country went to the home team as BYU beat Saint Mary's, 35-21.
“Our boys did some very good things,” BYU head coach David Smyth said. “We’re coming more together as a team and our boys stepped up, did the hard work and did what they had to do to get the victory.”
BYU got on the board first as Jonathan Linehan’s fifth minute try and conversion put the Cougars up 7-0. Linehan would go on to convert two more penalty kicks in the half to go along with a second Cougar try by Jared Whippy. Saint Mary’s would convert a penalty kick and score a try before the first half came to a close, but BYU went into halftime ahead 20-10.
It didn’t take long for Saint Mary’s to start the second half scoring as the Gaels converted a penalty kick three minutes into the second half to make it a one score game. The two teams exchanged scores throughout the rest of the second half until a Saint Mary’s penalty kick pulled the Gaels to within six points of the Cougars with a little less than eight minutes remaining. The comeback was short lived, however, as BYU scored the final seven points of the game, beating the No.1 Gaels, 35-21.
“Saint Mary’s came out and gave it their all and we’re grateful to walk away with a victory,” BYU captain Kyle Sumsion said. “Last time we played [Saint Mary’s] we were humbled and so this time we knew we had to put in some hard work in order to come out victorious and that’s just what we did.”
With the win, the Cougars move to 9-1 on the season and have won every game they’ve played at home. The atmosphere and home field advantage that comes with playing on South Field in Provo is something that BYU players never take for granted.
“It’s always fun to play at home with our great fans and we can hear them yelling for us every time we get the ball,” Sumsion said. “We have wonderful fans at BYU.”
BYU heads to Idaho State next weekend looking to continue its winning streak. More information regarding that game will be posted as it becomes available.
Kelby Jones is a student at BYU studying public relations and currently writes for BYU Rugby.