BYU rugby: Jonny Linehan's kick with no time left gives Cougars third national title in five years

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  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    May 6, 2013 6:11 p.m.

    You didn't watch the game did you? Come on, you can be honest. It was a free Webcast, I watched it and it wasn't pay per view. You missed the best game of the year.
    Yes, I agree USA Rugby needs to clean their house and recognize they are losing their support at the college ranks. USA Rugby had their chance, dropped the ball and the two biggest revenue schools have left you. I don't think USA Rugby is going to fix this. They will see more and more teams willing to jump at a chance to play real competition rather than be suckered into playing without reasonable compensation.
    If there is an issue driving teams out of USA Rugby, try dropping them and see what happens to USA Rugby participation.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 6, 2013 5:40 p.m.

    So BYU and Cal can continue to face easy competition then play each other at the end of the season and they will fade away. College rugby will continue improve as more teams adopt a varsity approach to the game and will go on. The Varsity Cup will grow tired and boring in just a few seasons of isolation. Good luck with that.

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    May 6, 2013 4:18 p.m.


    "They would also face a great challenge in playing St. Mary's, Life, or Arkansas State. Why not play them?"

    Talk about hypocritical diatribe. Sadly for USA Rugby, it's St. Mary's, Life, and Arkansas State who won't be playing the best competition.

    Either you didn't watch the Cal-BYU match or you don't know much about rugby, because the Varsity Cup National Championship match was one of the most exciting and best played college rugby matches of the year.

    I attended live and in person BYU's national championship matches versus Arkansas State last season and versus California this year, and frankly, the Cal-BYU match was far superior.

    In its first year, the Varsity Cup was better organized and a greater commercial success than USA Rugby was able to produce. How many automatic qualifiers didn't even bother to compete in USAR's post season tournament?

    Don't be too surprised to see Saint Mary's, Life, Arkansas State and others joining the Varsity Cup next season.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 6, 2013 4:06 p.m.


    If we go by your logic then BYU shouldn't have bothered playing Cal this year because Cal beat them two years ago. Did you notice the scores you posted for BYU against Life and ASU from last year were the most competitive games BYU played in 2012? Absolutely Cal and BYU should play St. Mary's, Life, and ASU if they want to be the National Champion.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 6, 2013 2:54 p.m.


    David Smyth and Jack Clark are the people who birthed the Varsity Cup idea, pulled their teams out of USA Rugby, and talked 6 other teams into quitting too. What would you expect them to say?

    The players just finished a great game of rugby. The BYU kids are, of course, going to be very happy to have beaten Cal. They would also face a great challenge in playing St. Mary's, Life, or Arkansas State. Why not play them?

    As to the online webcast. It was pay per view. USA Rugby has ESPN3 webcasting and ESPNU broadcasting the USA Rugby Division 1-A National Championship. It's free if you have access to those channels. The Championship will be played in a beautiful facility at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

    I'm not arguing that the game between Cal and BYU wasn't good or that these teams don't have fan support. I'm arguing that they should be playing the best competition available and working with the governing body of rugby to improve the game.

  • mussingaround Palo Alto, CA
    May 6, 2013 2:49 p.m.


    "I do not agree that the two best teams played for the Varsity Cup title. Two of the the best teams played but not the two best. They'd have to prove that they are the best by beating Life, Arkansas State, and St. Mary's."

    BYU beat Saint Mary's 53-17, Life 26-20, and Arkansas St. 49-42 on their way to wining the national championship last year.

    BYU beat the same team (UCLA) in the quarterfinals of the Varsity Cup this year, as they beat in the quarterfinals of the USA Rugby championship last season, and BYU beat the most dominant team (Cal) in college rugby for the last 30+ years in the final; what makes you think the outcome would have been any different if Life, Arkansas St and Saint Mary's had been playing in the Varsity Cup National Championship this year?

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 6, 2013 1:19 p.m.


    According to Rugby Magazine, in the end it was a terrific spectacle, well-broadcast online and a sellout crowd at BYU's South Field. It was a commercial success and a rugby success.

    "To have a team like Cal on our home field and to be playing for the Varsity Cup is something you just never thought would happen," said BYU senior captain Ryan Roundy, "And then to win this game the way we did. It’s going to take a while for it to really set in."

    "The crowd, the broadcast and the events surrounding today’s Varsity Cup National Championship shows we’re moving this sport in the right direction, said BYU head coach David Smyth. "If today’s game is an example of things to come for the Varsity Cup, then I’m excited to see where it and collegiate rugby can go."

    Sounds like you've got a lot of convincing to do to get Cal and BYU to return to USA Rugby.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 6, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    Sports Fan:

    By working with dozens of other good college teams Cal and BYU could do much more faster to influence USA Rugby.

    If USA Rugby wanted to play hardball, they could push the Varsity Cup teams off of the USA Rugby registration. Their players would not be insured, their practices and games would not be insured, and the players would not be eligible for the All Americans or the USA National Team.

    I do not agree that the two best teams played for the Varsity Cup title. Two of the the best teams played but not the two best. They'd have to prove that they are the best by beating Life, Arkansas State, and St. Mary's. I know Cal beat St. Mary's by 10 points (that's a very competitive game!). BYU have not played St. Mary's this year. What they've done in past seasons is not important in 2013, they have to beat the best to be the best.

  • SportsFan Orem, UT
    May 6, 2013 12:27 p.m.


    "Bailing out doesn't help anyone involved."

    Actually, you're wrong.

    Cal and BYU bailing on USA Rugby will either force USAR to address its problems and then do everything it can to try to persuade Cal and BYU to return, or USAR will be forced to the sidelines as a new, more effective organization takes its place.

    Regardless, if you're as involved with college rugby as you claim to be, you have to concede that the two best teams in country played in the Varsity Cup National Championship match on BYU's South Field last Saturday.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 6, 2013 11:42 a.m.


    I'm a former rugby player, former rugby coach, former State SBRO officer who wants to see American rugby improve. The comment about Jack is just the truth about Jack, it's not slanderous. He's going to say anything to prop up this Varsity Cup thing. Just look at the Varsity Cup web site. If you didn't know better, you'd think that the Varsity Cup was the top 8 teams in the country. It's far from that.

    USA Rugby has gotten rugby to where it is today. USA Rugby is recognized by the International Rugby Board as the governing body of American rugby. We (players, coaches, State officers, and fans) need to help drive USAR in the best directions. Bailing out doesn't help anyone involved.

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 6, 2013 11:04 a.m.


    You sound like a jealous troll just looking to justify the inept management of USA Rugby that finally forced Cal, BYU, Utah, UCLA, Navy, and others to abandon a failing organization.

    Proof of that continuing failure was seen again this season, when USA Rugby couldn't even get all of their automatic qualifying teams to participate in their "championship" tournament.

    Trying to compare Cal and BYU leaving USA Rugby, to the Steelers and the Cowboys leaving the NFL is laughable. The NFL is one of the most profitable and successful professional sports organization on the planet, whereas USA Rugby is one of the least profitable and most disorganized sports organizations.

    Disparaging Cal's coach shows just how desperate your are.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 6, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    Jack Clark, yeah, he's a modest fellow. Since he and the BYU coach organized the placebo competition he isn't a credible source for determining the tournament's value.

    The Steelers and the Cowboys have a lot of NFL titles between them. Let's say they quit the NFL because they want more revenue and got the Browns, Jaguars, Panthers, Chargers, and a couple of Canadian Football League teams to join them in a new league, would that make the new league better than the NFL? We all know the answer to that.

    By the tone of your comments, I know you are upset that your favorite team quit playing college rugby to join this Varsity Cup thing. You should direct your anger toward the coaches and administration that cooked up this placebo league. Nothing good will come of this secondary competition or of such self serving comments as Jack Clark is prone to make.

  • TrueBlue Orem, UT
    May 6, 2013 8:59 a.m.


    "We should stay away from artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and artificial championships."

    For artificial championship - see USA Rugby tournament without Cal and BYU.

    In Rugby Magazine's latest rankings for all college divisions, ALL 8 Varsity Cup teams are ranked in the Top 25, while only 6 of the 9 USA Rugby tournament teams are ranked.

    As Jack Clark, Cal's head coach, rightly pointed out, "To us it's [the Varsity Cup] 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."

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 6, 2013 7:14 a.m.

    The Varsity Cup is a placebo. Of course, the patient never knows that he or she is taking a placebo until it is revealed. It's only at the finish that the patient recognizes that he was duped. You will see.

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 10:16 p.m.

    So we finally identified you as a USARugby staff member.
    Now about artificial sweetner...look who has no sugar. Get over it, it was THE championship between the two best teams.
    By the way, that whoa, and misery, and lost opportunity, and shame for wasting their year of eligibility you so warned about. Didn't see it in their faces. Just joy, just satisfaction, just pride in being the best. In fact both teams had it.
    Not an unhappy customer in the lot.
    Bet they do it again next year.
    Unless of course USA Rugby gets it's act together and dare I say...begs to have them come back. Varsity cup could end up being a 32 game bracket at this rate.

  • NevadaCoug Overton, NV
    May 5, 2013 9:25 p.m.

    Why do people think this isn't a "real" championship just because there are so few teams?

    I guess that means the NBA champions ship isn't real, because there are so few teams. Or NFL. Or MLB. Or any other pro-league.

    Yes, there are few teams. Which mean only the best tend to get to play which often leads to a better product. Or do you think we need more games like Alabama vs. W Carolina?

    BYU won a championship in Rugby. It is what it is. Get over it.

  • JmThms Henderson, NV
    May 5, 2013 8:56 p.m.

    Chris B,

    I've already given my diagnosis of you. Its a simple one. But accurate.

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 5, 2013 6:57 p.m.

    We should stay away from artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and artificial championships. They're all unhealthy. Of course a Cal v BYU game is a good game. It's the only good game the Varsity Cup produced. If you want to see more good games like that then Cal and BYU should get back in the competition.

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 5:35 p.m.


    Still waiting to learn who you are. You sound like the USA Rugby PR guy. You work for USA Rugby?

    By the way, you missed the best Rugby game of the year.

    Go Cougars, U.S.A. National Rugby Champions
    Thanks Cal, great game and great sportsmanship.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    May 5, 2013 1:44 p.m.

    RE: Propblast1

    "if it was for the work that USA Rugby has done over the decades we probably wouldn't be having this discussion today."

    WE'RE not having this discussion today. Just you are. The rest of us are congratulating BYU's rugby team for having just won the national championship. Go Cougs!

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    May 5, 2013 10:20 a.m.

    Congrats to the National Champions!!!

  • Propblast1 Odessa, FL
    May 5, 2013 10:13 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.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    May 5, 2013 10:02 a.m.

    SO neat.

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    May 4, 2013 9:44 p.m.

    @Chris B.

    You realize that you had (at this moment) 67 likes on your comment about the Book of Mormon play. It was because you made a real effort to be positive and supportive of others.

    As of this moment, you have one like for your comment on this article. Probably your own.

    As we used to say at work...67 "atta boys" can be lost with "one foot in your mouth"

    I suggested you stay away from sports articles but you just couldn't resist could you.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    May 4, 2013 8:17 p.m.

    The PAC 12 will not be calling BYU, Chris. Their past recruiting shows they want to fill out the low end of the league. But they may change their name to the Conference of Second Place Teams.

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    May 4, 2013 7:51 p.m.

    Chrissy B -

    Admit it - you were proud of the Cougars. Deep down.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    May 4, 2013 7:04 p.m.

    @Chris B

    How sad and irrelevant, U be...........
    BYU's shadow never ceases to engulf you.
    Your rival wins a National Championship and all your have is more Smack?

    -Utah's last Gymnastics National Championship was in 1995!....
    18 years ago!
    -Utah's last Skiing National Championship was in 2004!
    (Their only Championship in skiing in the last 15 years.
    Those are Utah's only competitive programs.

    In that same period of time BYU has won 10 National Championships!

    -Women's Cross Country...4

    BYU has won National Championships in....
    -Track and field
    -Men's Volleyball
    -Women's Cross Country

    That's 5 times the number of National Championships that Utah has produced.
    And, not coincidentally, BYU has also produced 5 times more All-Americans and Scholar Athletes than has Utah.

    Remember Chris, that the Pac, is all about the Olympic Sports.

    Now, would you care to debate who has the most diverse and best overall Athletic Program?
    90% of Utah's National Championships have come in Women's Gymnastics and Skiing.

    BYU has 10 Top-25 programs, year in and year out.
    Utah, does not.

    Your Pac 10.2 "Mask of False Bravado" has been removed.

  • BlueCoug Orem, UT
    May 4, 2013 5:42 p.m.

    Congratulations BYU on back-to-back Collegiate Rugby National Championships!

    One National Championship down, one more to go in Volleyball.

    And, the Lady Cougars Softball Team also won a conference championship today.

    Championship weekend for BYU!

    Go Cougs!

  • NevadaCoug Overton, NV
    May 4, 2013 5:31 p.m.

    Cal has definitely been king in this sport over the years. Beating them to win the title makes it that much sweeter. Congratulations to the Cougar Rugby squad.

    1 down, 1 to go.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    May 4, 2013 5:22 p.m.

    BYU National Championions! Back to Back! Goooooo Cougars!

  • Chris B's momma Idaho Falls, ID
    May 4, 2013 5:21 p.m.

    Hey Chris, the PAC called. They want their membership back!

  • Real Bass Idaho Falls, ID
    May 4, 2013 5:19 p.m.

    More evidence, rugby and volleyball, that BYU has the best sports program in Utah.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    May 4, 2013 5:08 p.m.

    My second rugby match in person. It was, and is an AWESOME sport ... if you've never watched it, get to a game and have someone tutor you through the rules and calls. Outstanding match on both sides, well played by the boys. Congrats to both sides, you played yourselves proud.

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    May 4, 2013 5:04 p.m.

    Congratulations Cougars!! Great win. I watched the first half and then listened to KSL Radio in the second half and I felt somewhat disappointed at the sarcasm and offensive comments and jokes by the guys who were "calling" the game, to cover up their lack of rugby knowledge. Also, this article should have reported/written "DROP KICK" (the correct term) for the kick that won the game. Rugby should now be an established sport for BYU - having won three titles in the last five years - and should therefore acquire some knowledgeable locals as reporters and writers. I'm sure the DesNews sportswriters too should at least have enough knowledge - not necessarily experts - to cover the game. Notwithstanding, it was a great game!

  • Oldcoach Hurricane, 00
    May 4, 2013 4:51 p.m.

    I have played football and rugby. Rugby is football for MEN! I have never been so beat up and sore as after a rugby match.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 4, 2013 4:36 p.m.

    The PAC12 may be on the phone, but not calling the utes except to find out if they've cleaned up their rugby.

  • tkdogg FARMINGTON, UT
    May 4, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    Hey Chris B! How did Utah Rugby end up this year? Probably the same place the swim coach and Chris Hill will end up? Gone...forever. I love my Independence and not being bogged down by an overrated conference where I can't even watch my teams play unless I subscribe to an outrageous cable program available in 4 or 5 states.

  • Striker Omaha, NE
    May 4, 2013 4:07 p.m.

    Yet ANOTHER national title! Doesn't get any better than that!

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    May 4, 2013 4:04 p.m.


    Glad to see you comment about BYU winning a National Championship.

    How'd the Lady Utes do in gymnastics this year, btw?

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    May 4, 2013 3:46 p.m.

    Thanks to whoever streamed the game. GREAT game to watch and great victory. Lots of fun as sports ought to be. Excellent athletes hitting hard!!! Congrats to the BYU Rugby Team. Best in college.

  • Lone Star Cougar Plano, TX
    May 4, 2013 3:35 p.m.

    Yeah, baby! Way to go Cougars! Will BYUtv be able to replay the game?

  • atlcoug Atlanta, GA
    May 4, 2013 3:25 p.m.

    This was the first Rugby game I have ever watched. I really enjoyed it, and I was happy to see the Cougars win. But man, that is a rough game - no helmets, pads, etc. I am surprised that there weren't a few of them carted off the field and taken to the hospital! Tough kids.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    May 4, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    And, I believe this counts in a certain unnamed rebel's terminology who patrol these blogs as a win against his/her coveted PAC12 conference team, Cal! So yahoo to the Cougars on winning the NATIONAL RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP 2013~ "Write it down!"

    I LOVE being a loyal BYU fan. I also say "Win!" to our exciting volleyball team tonight in LA.

    Go Cougars!

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    May 4, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    I'll bet the Big 12 will be on the phone first thing Monday morning!


  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    May 4, 2013 3:15 p.m.

    That was the best match of rugby ever played in the States. Unreal. That drop kick stunned me at the end. Can't wait to watch the replay. Two great teams.

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    May 4, 2013 3:04 p.m.

    National Champions and don't let Rugby USA pull anyone's leg and say that was not the greatest pairing of top teams in the Nation!!! BYU is National Champs and Cal is clearly the second best team in the Country.
    Fantastic Game, the run called back at the 7-8 minute mark looked crucial but in the end it was Linehan who was crucial. Great play, Well played by both teams.
    Thanks for Coming Cal Bears...You were great guests, excellent team, see you next year.

    On to Volleyball!!!

  • Eddie Syracuse, UT
    May 4, 2013 2:57 p.m.

    Way to go Cougs! Back to back. Now let's all get behind our wonderful volleyball team. Being a Cougar is so wonderful...going for two National Championships in a single day has got to be some kind of NCAA record! I love being a Cougar fan.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 4, 2013 2:56 p.m.

    Congratulations Cougars!

  • TheCrow American Fork, UT
    May 4, 2013 2:50 p.m.

    Great game! That was fun to watch. Congratulations BYU. Cal looked good as well. These two are definitely the kings of their sport. Good job to all.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    May 4, 2013 2:50 p.m.