PROVO — With a Western Conference Championship, an undefeated 2011 regular season and numerous players receiving post-season honors, the Cougars rugby team netted further honors with five BYU players named to the Collegiate All American Touring Squad.
The squad consists of the country's top men’s collegiate rugby players and will assemble for a training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., in early July to prepare for a three-match series with the New Zealand Universities team.
The 30-man squad was selected from the roughly 22,000 men’s collegiate rugby players in the country.
The locations and dates for the New Zealand Universities games are San Diego, July 9; Santa Barbara, July 13; and Stanford, July 16.
Utah native, former Highland Rugby standout and current All Americans head coach Alex Magleby said the players named to the Touring Squad are some of the country's best young rugby players.
“The players we selected for the Touring Squad are athletic and experienced," Magleby said. "There are some exciting players who earned their spot in this squad through their outstanding play this season and will get to experience in an Olympic training environment, take on the challenge of representing their country against a formidable international opponent and have the opportunity to put their hand up for future selection into the senior national teams."
Magleby also noted that many of the players at this camp will be Olympic hopefuls for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The All-American pathway, beginning with the High School All-Americans, is a proven route to playing for the Eagles. In fact, four of the players on the touring squad — Ryan Roundy, BYU; Cam Dolan, Life University; Blaine Scully, University of California, Berkeley; and Peter Tiberio, University of Arizona — have all represented the USA at the senior international level.
BYU's tally of five players on the touring squad was matched by 2011 National Champions Cal Berkeley who also contributed five players to the touring squad.
BYU's prop Mikey Su'a, No. 8, and captain Ryan Roundy were named to the touring squad for their second time, while scrumhalf Shaun Davies was selected for the last three years.
Prop Ray Forrester and lock Mark Bonham not only were named All Americans this year but were also named to their first touring squad.
BYU flyhalf Dylan Lubbe, who is recovering from a broken foot sustained against Navy in the 2011 playoffs, and freshman center Jared Whippy, who is preparing to serve an LDS mission in his home country of Fiji, were considered for selection but were unavailable.
"We're very excited to play for the All American team," said BYU's Roundy, "Any chance you have to represent your country is always exciting and it's an honor."
The BYU rugby program is one of the university's most winning sports teams with just 19 losses in over 20 years. The team won the 2009 Collegiate National Championship and has promoted 28 players to All-American status. (For more information, view byurugby.com.)
The BYU players and the rest of the All American Touring Squad will assemble on July 2nd at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista before they square off with the formidable New Zealand Universities side in their first match at Old Mission Beach Athletic Club's stadium of Little Q.
For scores and recaps, go to usarugby.org or follow the All American Touring Squad at twitter.com/aarugby.
Squad members are:
Forwards: James Besser, University of California, Berkeley; Matt Crawford, St. Mary’s College of California; Zach Fenoglio, Loyola Marymount; Ray Forrester, BYU; Nick Mostyn, Utah; Mike Su’a, BYU; Andy Cooke, St. Mary’s College of California; Mark Bonham, BYU; Nate Brakeley, Dartmouth; Nick Civetta, Notre Dame; Chris Parker, Texas A&M; Derek Asbun, University of California, Berkeley; Jordan Badia-Bellinger, Claremont Colleges; Cam Dolan, Life University; Garrett Lambert, Life University; Dave Martini, UCLA; Shaun Potgieter, Arkansas State; Ryan Roundy, BYU.
Backs: Shaun Davies, BYU; Chris Saint, Penn State; JP Eloff, Davenport University; Pat Sullivan, Arkansas State; Benji Goff, Tennessee; Gareth Jones, Temple; Seamus Kelly, University of California, Berkeley; Duncan Kelm, San Diego State; Kyle Grossheider, Life University; Dustin Muhn, University of California, Berkeley; Blaine Scully, University of California, Berkeley; Peter Tiberio, University of Arizona.
Considered but unavailable: Danny Barrett, University of California, Berkeley; Roland Evans, Arkansas State; Taylor Mokate, University of Oklahoma; Don Pati, University of Utah; James Bailes, University of California, Berkeley; Dylan Lubbe, BYU; Will Holder, Army; Thretton Palamo, University of Utah; Jared Whippy, BYU; Tyler Harrison, University of California, Davis; Ben Leatigaga, Army; Sione Lauti, University of Utah.
The full schedule is July 9, 3 p.m., Little Q, Old Mission Bay Athletic Club ; July 13, 6:30 p.m., Harder Stadium, University of California, Santa Barbara; July 16, 1 p.m., Steuber Rugby Stadium, Stanford University.