BYU rugby: Cougars will rely on New Zealanders in national title game

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  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 4, 2013 11:47 a.m.


    Say what you want about USA Rugby. I agree that USAR could do a better job with college rugby and many other aspects of the American game. They aren't even close to perfect. To improve the governing body of American rugby we all need to work together. USA Rugby belongs to us, the players, coaches and fans of American rugby.

    Just keep this in mind, if it wasn't for the work that USA Rugby has done over the decades we probably wouldn't be having this discussion today. They have, at the very least, gotten us to the point where we have tens of thousands of kids playing rugby. Thousands of high school and U-19 teams playing, hundreds of colleges and universities and hundreds of clubs. We don't need to recreate the wheel, we just need to improve the wheel.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 4, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    Well, if that's the case, BYU and Cal can both just declare themselves National Champions every year without playing a game. They aren't the only elite college teams in America anymore. In sports, you have to prove yourself every game, every season. You don't get to be the National Champion by simply saying you are. If you believe that your team is the best in America then you should make sure that your coach and your administration know that you want them to compete with all the best teams in America so your championship is meaningful.

    I'm not saying that Cal or BYU couldn't win the National Championship this year. They both are elite. The problem is that BYU and Cal chose not to compete with the other top teams this year. The top teams need to be reunified in one competition. Cal beat St. Mary's this spring by 10 points and St. Mary's beat Cal in the fall. That's hardly a dominating performance. Cal, BYU, St. Mary's, Life, and Arkansas State are very competitive and would make interesting pairings. The Varsity Cup is harming college rugby.

  • Sandyclaws Salt Lake City, UT
    May 4, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    Propblast 1 - Going to a National Championship Rugby match with Cal and BYU but without USA Rugby is like going hunting with a rifle and a knife but without an accordion.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 4, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    The problems I have with that idea are:

    1) The issue isn't that USA Rugby puts on a bad tournament, it's that BYU and Cal wanted a bigger slice of the revenues from the championship game. If the top 20 or 30 teams work together and negotiate with USAR they can get the best terms for all parties involved. The fact is that even the revenue from a National Championship game is minimal considering that it can cost around $30,000 to fly a team cross country and house and feed them. I believe that by working cooperatively we can improve the quality of the college game and generate better revenues.

    2) The Varsity Cup final has never been in question. It was always going to be Cal v BYU. The other "top quality" teams didn't even present a threat to beat either of them. No team, group of 8 teams, or rugby blog has the authority to claim a National Championship. It has to be won on the field. The Championships that Cal and BYU are always crowing about are the USA Rugby National Championship. Nothing has changed about that. May 18th will determine who wins it.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    May 3, 2013 8:15 p.m.

    Won't argue with Propblast that having all the best teams play in the same tournament is the best result, but don't understand why that needs to be in USA Rugby's tournament. If USA Rugby can't put on a tournament that appeals to the top teams (and is financially unsound) and the Varsity Cup can, what's wrong with expanding the Varsity Cup field expand to 16 teams and make it the national championship tournament.

    If Propblast can't agree to that proposal, I'll have to agree there's some ulterior motive to his/her comments.

    The way the field stand now, the Varsity Cup certainly has as good a claim of crowning the National Champion as any BCS football championship game.

  • Pavalova Surfers Paradise, AU
    May 2, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    The argument is a valid one and is very similar to the BCS which we all know very well. The best teams may not play against each other each year, and the fact that a tourney doesn't exist yet,a true champion is still a popularity vote. It's getting better, but in support of a single group of teams, it would be nice if the best played the best on both sides.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 2, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    They left because they wanted a bigger cut of the gate revenue from the 2011 and 2012 national championship game. Did they do anything to negotiate this with USA Rugby? I don't know, there's never been a report written about that. I believe that if the top 20 or 30 programs joined together, perhaps as a unified Division 1-A, they could successfully negotiate with USA Rugby to make changes that would improve the college game and share any revenues equally. If USA Rugby doesn't work with them, they could hold the playoffs or national championship at a venue of their choice and bypass USAR. My point is by working together a lot more can be accomplished. Twenty or Thirty teams have more power than 8 or 9 teams. We need to keep the best teams competing with each other. It will inspire other universities to go with a varsity approach and will allow USA National Team and All American Selectors to see the top talent play top talent. It will also improve the marketability of college rugby to attract sponsors and sport media outlets to cover the game.

  • Whatsnu Sandy, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:56 a.m.


    "I read a lot of rugby news..."

    Then you should be well aware of why California left USA Rugby and why BYU followed their lead this year.

    Unless USA Rugby starts listening to and addressing the concerns of top programs like Cal and BYU, expect more top programs to join Cal and BYU.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 2, 2013 9:36 a.m.


    That's exactly why Cal and BYU should be competing against the best college teams. There are only a few teams in the elite level and it would be much more interesting to see them play each other instead of running up huge scores on teams of lesser ability. Exactly the reason why the Varsity Cup is bad for American rugby.

  • TLH South Jordan, UT
    May 1, 2013 7:53 p.m.

    I need to correct myself. BYU is just 11-0 vs college teams. Cal is 21-0, including a 176-0 drubbing of Stanford. OUCH!!

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 1, 2013 5:40 p.m.

    I read a lot of rugby news but I missed any that said the Varsity Cup crowns the national champion. Just remember, both of the blogs that report on college rugby have their own motivation and allegiances. Also, both blogs are penned by only a few people, they don't speak for American rugby. There simply is nothing that beats head to head competition.

  • LonestarRunner Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2013 5:23 p.m.

    Cal head coach Jack Clark's comments on the Varsity Cup National Championship:

    The Varsity Cup is being billed in the rugby press as the consensus national collegiate championship. Is that a fair description?

    "Probably fair but we can only speak for ourselves. To us it's the national championship, nothing more or less. We acknowledge there is a second championship being contested, but this other competition isn't comprised of the winners of 31 of the 33 national championships like the Varsity Cup. I'll let others enjoy the debate, but on the Varsity Cup campuses, there is no debate."

  • TLH South Jordan, UT
    May 1, 2013 4:48 p.m.

    Whatever the motivation is for propblast, I do agree that things would be better if all of the top teams were in one play-off. Maybe the two champions could do an AND-1 game to settle it on the pitch.
    BYU has played 22 games this year I believe, undefeated against other collegiate teams. I think Cal is 21-0 this year. Bottom line, you need BYU vs Cal sometime in the year to know who's the best, and that wasn't happening after Cal pulled out. My guess is, BYU wanted to get that game back, so this is what came out of that.
    Should be a great game.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 1, 2013 4:36 p.m.

    The fact that Navy has a sweet rugby pitch has noting to do with the Varsity Cup. Some of the VC teams have good rugby facilities and some don't. It's the same for all rugby teams in the US.

    I'm not a USA Rugby guy, or an officer of a rugby union. I'm a former player, former youth and club coach, former SBRO officer. I want rugby to become a popular sport in the US. I want to see college and pro rugby broadcast on TV. I want every high school to have varsity rugby. We need to stick together to make that happen.

  • Truth Machine Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2013 4:28 p.m.


    Propblast1's "facts" are seriously lacking. Every rugby fan knows that Cal has been the most dominant collegiate rugby team in the country for years, and BYU is the only team that's been good enough to challenge that supremacy. Despite USA Rugby's protestations, the winner of the Varsity Cup championship match between Cal and BYU will be real National Champion.

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    May 1, 2013 4:08 p.m.

    Problast must be typing from USARugby's office.

    I went to Varsity Cup match's in Annapolis andvthe venue was far better then typical USA Rugby fields. Unless of course USA rugby uses Cal's or BYU's fields. As a college rugby fan I am thrilled that the Varsity Cup has been formed. Long live the Varsity Cup !!!!!!

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 1, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    Some of you keep referring to the ranking of teams. There are three rankings out there. Rugby Magazine (blog), This is American Rugby (blog), and D1-A (USA Rugby). None of them are polls, they are all nothing more than the opinion of a blogger or administrator. They all have their motivations too. Being "ranked" is not much to crow about.

    Rugby isn't played before judges who lift score cards and grade every game. Rugby is settled on the pitch. With the college game so torn up by the Varsity Cup and the emergence of conferences we are going to be left with a D1-A and a Varsity Cup Champion. Last year, BYU beat Arkansas State to win the D1-A Championship and the National Title. This year, they chose not to play for it. The winner of the D1-A National Championship Game will be the USA Rugby National Champion. The winner of the Varsity Cup Championship will be the Varsity Cup Champion. It's not a matter of opinion, it's a fact. It would be much more interesting to see the best 8 teams in the nation duke it out. Maybe next year?

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 1, 2013 3:05 p.m.

    The D1-A Teams out side the top eight who qualified had the option to challenge for a playoff spot, those games were to be played on April 20th. Only one game took place that weekend because the teams that qualified to challenged elected not to.

    My agenda is, the Varsity Cup was started by the coach of BYU who decided that his club didn't get enough of the money generated by the USAR National Championship game in 2012. College Rugby is not popular enough to generate much income for any team or organization yet. It's improving and more teams are working hard to become elite. Better quality rugby will draw fans and media coverage. By unifying the top 20 college teams and using the power of that unification with USA Rugby, things can be changed for the better. It weakens college rugby to fracture like this. It serves no one!

    To answer your last question, D1-A has over 30 teams in the tournament, the top teams go into the playoffs after a season of games. Varsity Cup has 8 teams playing a maximium of 3 and a minumum of 1 Varsity Cup game(s). That's not many games.

  • truecoug1 Provo, UT
    May 1, 2013 1:56 p.m.


    Ok, I'm not sure what your agenda is here other than to stir the pot, but I have a few questions for you:

    How is the USA Rugby playoff more valid than the Varsity cup, when 3 of the AQ teams who should have been playing in the D1-A playoffs aren't? That means that not every eligible team will get a shot at the championship, so whoever wins it will have a won in a watered-down tournament.

    How can you make a statement like "Well, Ufan, it's happening as we speak and it's working out great!" when, as LonestarRunner pointed out, only 9 teams ended up playing in what should have been a 16-team field?

    And again, how is a 9-team tournament so much better and more valid than the 8-team tournament in the Varsity Cup? Do you have anything factual to back up your statements that the Varsity Cup is not recognized as a national title (since the title of this article indicates otherwise)? Or is all of this your opinion?

    Just curious. Thanks!

    Go Cougars!

  • Snack PAC Olympus Cove, Utah
    May 1, 2013 1:32 p.m.


    Cal and BYU are the two best collegiate rugby teams. You sound like a jealous, disgruntled Utah troll who's upset that his team had to withdraw from the Varsity Cup in disgrace.

  • Snack PAC Olympus Cove, Utah
    May 1, 2013 1:13 p.m.


    Best guess, she's just a jealous, disgruntled trolls who's frantically and emotionally trying to minimize the Varsity Cup after the Utes were forced to withdraw in disgrace.

    The real National Championship will be decided Saturday, at South Field, between Cal and BYU.

    The pretenders will play off for a meaningless consolation prize.



    Army is actually ranked 8th, so the real tournament line-ups look like this:

    Varsity Cup - #1, #4, #6, #7, #11, #16, #18, #21 (ALL 8 ranked)
    Rugby USA - #2, #3, #5, #8, #9, #10, unranked, unranked, unranked (3 of 9 unranked)

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 1, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    @Marked it Down

    Cal and BYU are just two spokes in a big wheel. The wheel is turning just fine without them. Once their egos deflate, they'll come back into the National Competition and will help to make it stronger when they do. Until then, college rugby plays on.

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2013 8:53 a.m.

    Thank you for responding. But you didn't answer the question. What motivates you to defend USA Rugby? Who are you backing? I would guess one of the remaining teams but I'll let you answer.

    The best teams left the disfunctional organization. Obviously they think the USA farce is not worthy of being the arbiter of who is champion and so the best will choose who is without them. One trophy is the same as the other, you get them for about a dollar at thrift stores. But one will mean the best played off for the title and one will mean a bunch of nobody's held a tournament and no one (of consequence) showed up.

  • LonestarRunner Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    Here's what Rugby Magazine had to say about the USA Rugby, which helps explain why Cal and BYU and several other top collegiate rugby teams left this dysfunctional organization:

    "The DI-AA playoffs are a mess. There’s really no other way to put it. They’re a mess, and the fact that they’re a mess is holding up the announcement of the Sweet 16 fields for both DI-AA and DII. The most glaring problem is that the West Regional is set to be played in Austin, Texas, but the three automatic qualifying teams are from Southern California (Long Beach), Northern California (Chico State) and Washington (Western Washington). And USA Rugby is in the process of trying to make sure all the AQ teams are going to attend the Sweet 16."

    In the end, only 9 schools ended up playing in the USA Rugby DI-A "playoffs":

    #2 Arkansas St
    #3 Life
    #4 Army
    #5 Saint Mary's
    #9 Kutztown
    #10 Cal Poly SLO
    ur Colorado
    ur Colorado St

    Notice that EVERY team in the Varsity Cup is ranked in the Top 25.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 1, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    @Mark it Down

    If you want to live in the past, talk about how good we used to be, and somehow believe that that makes you great today. Rugby championships aren't judged or given by bloggers, they are won on the pitch. The teams playing in the Varsity Cup can only win a Varsity Cup trophy. The National Champion will be crowned on May 18th and you can watch it on ESPNU, for free.

    BYU and Cal need to join the national competition if they want to compete for a national championship. That's the simple reality of it.

  • LonestarRunner Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    Rugby Magazine All College Divisions Top 25 Rankings as of April 17, 2013

    Four of the top 7 teams are in the Varsity Cup (VC), including the #1 team, Cal.

    1 California (VC)
    2 Arkansas State
    3 Life
    4 Brigham Young (VC)
    5 St. Mary's
    6 UCLA (VC)
    7 Central Washington (VC)
    8 Army
    9 Kutztown
    10 Cal Poly
    11 Navy (VC)
    12 Davenport
    13 Penn State
    14 Lindenwood
    15 Arizona
    16 Notre Dame (VC)
    17 Arizona State
    18 Air Force (VC)
    19 Bowling Green
    20 Texas A&M
    21 Dartmouth (VC)
    22 Tennessee
    23 UCF
    24 Western Washington
    25 Clemson

  • sls Columbia, MO
    May 1, 2013 7:39 a.m.

    Too bad that the U dropped rugby so suddenly. It was fun to have a rivalry that wasn't canceled for fear of losing to BYU.

  • Marked it Down Park City, UT
    May 1, 2013 7:38 a.m.


    Without Cal and BYU, the so-called USA Rugby "competition" is a farce.

    The real competition for the collegiate rugby national championship will be held Saturday, August 4th at South Field between the two best teams in the country.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 1, 2013 7:32 a.m.


    If you repeat a lie enough times it may be accepted as truth. The Varsity Cup is waste of time. None of the Varsity Cup teams are competing for a National Championship, they only have a shot at a trophy. Cal and BYU quit competing, that's true, but the competition goes on nonetheless. Hopefully, all the Varsity Cup teams will re-enter the competition in 2014 so another group of graduates won't have to look back on their final college season and remember it as a season of disappointment and excuses.

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2013 12:28 a.m.

    It seems you have a dog in this race you aren't admitting to. So what is your beef with the top teams taking their ball and going to play some where else? Your team didn't get invited to play with the big boys? Or you know the USA Rugby title will be hollow and empty without Cal or the Cougars? Cal is the top dog and everyone knows it. That BYU and Cal play each other practically every year for the championship (6 consecutive plus two by BYU vs other schools after Cal withdrew) I would say the national title is where they are, not where the also rans are.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    April 30, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    I understand, you're upset. I would be too! Who wants to see their favorite college team waste a full season playing a social schedule and an 8 team tournament? Of course you're going to lash out at the teams that legitimately are competing for a national title that your team could be in the mix for. The Varsity Cup is a monumental waste of time for the 8 teams that joined it. I especially feel for the players who wasted a year of college eligibility on this farcical season. Particularly the seniors who will graduate after playing, at most, a 3 game regular season. Sure, the seniors can graduate on to a club team, but it's not the same. You are right to be angry. You should write to the schools and coaches and tell them how you feel.

  • CordonBleu Park City, UT
    April 30, 2013 4:08 p.m.


    "'s happening as we speak and it's working out great!"

    As Ufan said, the USA Rugby tournament can't really be considered a national championship if the two best teams in collegiate rugby aren't participating.

  • LonestarRunner Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2013 3:47 p.m.


    "Of course, you can also buy the pay per view webcast of the Varsity Cup final, if you want to."

    Or, I can watch the best two college rugby teams play for the national championship live and in person at South Field.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    April 30, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    Well, Ufan, it's happening as we speak and it's working out great! St. Mary's is playing Cal Poly in one semifinal and Life University is playing Arkansas State in the other. You can watch the USA Rugby National Championship on ESPNU on May 18th. Of course, you can also buy the pay per view webcast of the Varsity Cup final, if you want to.

  • Ufan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2013 11:56 a.m.

    Having a national championship rugby tournament without Cal and BYU, would be like having a national championship football tournament without the SEC.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    April 30, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    If the Varsity Cup teams are sharing revenue then they'll all owe someone a lot of money since attendance at the games has been light. If the Varsity Cup is all about revenue then they are trying to harvest unripe fruit. When college rugby is more uniformly varsity or varsity like then the quality of the games will be worth paying for. Clearly, the Varsity Cup is a failing enterprise. You can pay money to go watch Cal or BYU smash a weaker team or you can purchase the pay per view webcast. This Cal vs BYU game will be interesting but that game can be arranged without quitting the national competition or taking the other 6 teams out of national competition.

    The winner of the Varsity Cup game will take home a trophy but St. Mary's, Cal Poly, Arkansas State, or Life will take home a national championship this year.

  • LonestarRunner Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2013 11:13 a.m.


    If USA Rugby had been run better, the two best teams in the country, Cal and BYU, would still be members. The fact that other teams like Notre Dame, Air Force, Dartmouth, Central Washington, UCLA, and Navy joined them in the Varsity Cup is proof of the problems not being addressed by USA Rugby and proof of where the best teams in college rugby now reside.

    Regardless, the best team and true collegiate national champion will be determined in the Varsity Cup championship match on Saturday.

  • AZguy Phoenix, AZ
    April 30, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    Last year Cal was competing in the 7's (Olympic) competitions as I understand, therefore they were not in the 15's competition. This year they are back.

    Most of the top collegiate rugby schools dropped out of the DI-A college rugby class to the DI-AA class. This allowed them to join this Varsity Cup competition for their post-season tourney instead of the collegiate rugby championships.

    The Varsity Cup allows the schools to keep more of the revenue of the tournament instead of giving it up to USA Rugby. My understanding is that even the most successful college teams like Cal, BYU, UCLA, and others were losing money, but their pleas to keep more of the gate receipts fell on USA Rugby's deaf ears.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    April 30, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    This is about the Varsity Cup championship not the USA Rugby collegiate national championship. Unfortunately, BYU and Cal pulled out of the USA Rugby college competition and started an 8 team college rugby tournament called the Varsity Cup. The other teams involved are Notre Dame, Air Force, Dartmouth, Central Washington, UCLA, and Navy. BYU and Cal breezed through their 2 prior Varsity Cup games and will play each other to determine the Varsity Cup champion. It really has nothing to do with being the best team in American college rugby. The USA Rugby competition is in the semi-final stage now and the USA Rugby Collegiate National Champion will be crowned on May 18th in Greensboro, NC. The USA Rugby championship has been won by Cal many times in the past and several times by BYU. Unfortunately, we'll never know how Cal and BYU stack up to the other college teams this year. Many rugby fans, including me, hope that all 8 of the Varsity Cup teams will return to the USA Rugby competition next year.

  • Elcapitan Ivins, UT
    April 29, 2013 9:31 p.m.

    My wife made me turn it off. They do it well however, that which I saw. Good Luck BYU Rugby.

  • TLH South Jordan, UT
    April 29, 2013 3:30 p.m.

    BYU played Arkansas St. for the championship last year (and won). Cal didn't play in the tournament last year for some reason.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    April 29, 2013 2:02 p.m.

    Watched a fun match at Rio Tinto vs. Arkansas State for some Championship. Is this one different?

  • TruBlue Salt Lake City, UT
    April 29, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    Anyone know where this will be broadcast? ESPNU?

  • TLH South Jordan, UT
    April 29, 2013 12:01 p.m.

    Championship game is this Saturday, May 4, BYU's South Field, game starts at 1 PM.

  • royalblue Alpine, UT
    April 29, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    "I would like to go watch the match. Time, place, and ticket info would be nice."

    The BYU men's rugby team will be hosting the Varsity Cup Championship Match versus California on Sat., May 4, 1:00 p.m. at South Field. Tickets are $25 for prime reserved chairs, $22 for reserved chairs, $20 for reserved bleachers, and $15 for general admission.

    See byutickets to order tickets.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    April 29, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    I would like to go watch the match. Time, place, and ticket info would be nice.

    April 29, 2013 10:03 a.m.

    What a great year for BYU sports, both rugby and volleyball in the hunt for national titles! Great sports to watch.