Saturday, May 4 2019 - By Jackie Finlan (Recap Courtesy of The Rugby Breakdown)
Matthews, Charlotte, NC - BYU has claimed its first USA Rugby DI College Spring Championship and capped the title run with a 48-0 win over Virginia Tech today in Matthews, N.C. Across three post-season games, the Cougars have outscored opponents 162-7.
Virginia Tech made the first big impression, using an unforced passing error to set up a crisp lineout and driving maul. BYU didn’t join in an attempt to draw a penalty, but as the maul sprinted down field, a defender panicked, joined the maul and legitimized the drive. The defense then swarmed to halt the try just in time. A penalty later followed to extend the Virginia Tech attack, but back-to-back errant passes eventually ended the Hokies’ first big scoring opportunity.
BYU had its penalty issues and took a yellow card for repeated infringements at the breakdown, but those mistakes didn’t occur as the result of buckling under pressure. They were aggressive, yet ill disciplined mistakes – in-from-the-side or diving-over penalties while trying to steal the ruck.
Aside from those missteps, the Cougars’ ability to poach possession was a difference-maker. Just when Virginia Tech looked like it was building some continuity or put itself in the position for a steal, BYU took the ball back. Lineouts were also vulnerable. Obviously it was tactically important, but it was also emotionally dampening for the Hokies.