BYUWRUGBY

Triumph of the Spirit — BYU women’s rugby wins national championship

By Aaron Fitzner - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - The Daily Universe

BYU women’s rugby holds the national championship trophy. The jerseys worn in the championship game were the same jerseys that were worn during the Cougars’ first game as a recognized sport with BYU in 2015. (BYU women’s rugby)
BYU women’s rugby holds the national championship trophy. The jerseys worn in the championship game were the same jerseys that were worn during the Cougars’ first game as a recognized sport with BYU in 2015. (BYU women’s rugby)

Matthews, NC - The BYU women’s rugby team captured its first-ever national title on May 4 with an overwhelming 48-0 win over Virginia Tech. The story for this game, however, is more than the final score.

The story for this game started in 2000 when women’s rugby began at BYU. The script was revamped in 2010 when the women’s rugby squad chose to chase honor rather than a national title. In 2015, the script from this story was changed again when the rugby team became officially recognized by BYU. All of these stories became one telling tale of a team in 2019 that featured not only the current roster but every athlete that has ever put on a rugby jersey representing BYU.

When the women’s rugby squad at BYU was first organized in 2000, there were only a few players that started the program, and recruiting was tough. Students left the following summer, and only a few came back the following year. Julia Hobbs, a player from Oklahoma, was instrumental in keeping the program afloat at that point.

BYU Wins First DI College National Championship

BYU Women's Rugby win W DI College National Championship 2019

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.