BYU rugby: No. 3 Cougars win inaugural Rugby Bowl, move on to Varsity Cup playoffs

By Kelby Jones

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, April 12 2014 9:45 p.m. MDT

The No. 3 BYU rugby team won the inaugural Rugby Bowl, beating the home team Arizona State, 57-26.

Despite the lopsided victory, captain Kyle Sumsion said his team didn’t perform as he would have hoped one week before it heads to the Naval Academy to begin its Varsity Cup campaign.

“We didn’t play our best today,” Sumsion said. “No discredit to ASU, but we just didn’t play our best and we know we have a lot to work on as we move into the playoffs.”

Sumsion’s tepid review of his team’s performance was echoed by head coach David Smyth.

“We were fairly erratic today,” Smyth said. “We were great at times and then very average at other times. I was a little disappointed in a few individual performances. A few players didn’t put their best foot forward in regards to selection moving into the Varsity Cup.”

The Rugby Bowl scoring started early from BYU’s wing Jordan Lowry who intercepted an ASU pass to race 50 meters. Flanker Ara Elkington followed suit to find the endzone after ASU wasn’t able to clear the ball out of its half.

Sumsion and winger Chris Wernli scored from open play and well-timed runs to stretch the Cougars’ lead to 35-0 following another Lowry try.

But an erratic defensive chase of the Cougars on a loose kick gave the Sun Devils all the space and opportunity they would need to score their first points of the game in the 37th minute.

At the break, the Cougars led 35-5.

The second half proved to be an affair of trading blows with ASU dotting down three converted tries to the Cougars’ four tries, one of which was converted.

The final score was in favor of BYU, and the Cougars hoisted the Rugby Bowl trophy.

Despite Sumsion’s review of his team’s play on the day, he was flush with praise for the event and organizers of the Rugby Bowl.

“The atmosphere was awesome here,” Sumsion said. “It was fun playing in the first ever Rugby Bowl against a great ASU team. I hope this event is able to grow and we hope to be able to come down here in the future.”

With BYU’s regular season now over, the Cougars now move on to the postseason playoffs of the Varsity Cup.

The Cougars’ Varsity Cup campaign begins with BYU traveling to Annapolis and the Naval Academy to play in the Varsity Cup quarterfinals against Dartmouth College, which beat Clemson on Saturday in the opening round of the Varsity Cup, 59-24.

Kickoff for the BYU vs. Dartmouth Varsity Cup quarterfinal is set for Saturday, April 19 at 1:30 p.m. ET, inside of the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 youth. Parking is $5 per vehicle.

The match will also be streamed live on the Patriot League Network.

Should the Cougars win their quarterfinal matchup against the Big Green, BYU will host one of the Varsity Cup semifinals on South Field on April 26.

Kelby Jones is a student at BYU studying public relations and currently writes for BYU Rugby.

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