Sia Skipps

Women's Rugby Prepare for DI College 2018-2019 Season

By Dolli Player, September 18, 2018, The Daily Universe.

McFadyen - Kick Conversion vs ASU

Provo, UT - The BYU women’s rugby program has brought home many wins for the university while consistently flying under the radar.

The program has existed for 18 years after being founded by a student in the year 2000. In those 18 years, the team has grown from a group of 12 girls to a team of over 40 and is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation.

Head Coach Tom Waqa took over the team in 2004 when the organization was still recognized as the Women’s Cougar Rugby Club. After coaching the unofficial team for 11 years, Waqa was chosen as the official coach of the women’s team when the school gave it extramural status in 2015.

The team prides itself on taking girls with little-to-no rugby experience and crafting them into elite, nationally recognized players. Recognizable names include six-time All-American and member of the USA national team Jordan Gray, former World Rugby 7’s team member Rebekah Siebach, and former national team member and current coaching assistant Rebekah Hebdon.

“I grew up playing different sports and found out that I could incorporate them all into rugby, and it ended up being my favorite (sport),” Hebdon said.

Stories like Hebdon’s are common, with most of the past and present players coming to the team with a background in sports like soccer, softball and track.

“My favorite moment of last season was seeing the new girls who just played one semester playing a game in the DI Elite semifinals,” Waqa said. “For new girls to come in and pick up the game after just two months and play at the highest level is very encouraging for the program.”

BYU prevail over Lethbridge

Saturday March 19, 2016 : 11:00am - By Emma Stewart

Provo, UT - BYU women’s rugby got a 26-14 victory over Lethbridge, Canada Saturday afternoon. The BYU Cougars met at Helaman Field to take on the Pronghorns from the Canadian University of

Lethbridge from Lethbridge, Alberta for the first time in three years. Lethbridge came out on top in the last matchup between the two teams in 2012 with 5-3 over the BYU team. Expecting this to be their

hardest game this season, the Cougars were hoping for some preparation to play Central Washington. Playing the other Cougars on Wednesday March 23, and possibly next month in the D1 Elite playoffs in

Ellensburg, the BYU Cougars were looking for this game to be a good chance to hone their skills. The sunny Saturday morning game kicked off at 11 am, with both teams coming out with some big hits

and aggressive rucks. With many penalties on both sides, the Pronghorns and the Cougars fought for the upper hand. Finally the Cougars were able to punch through the Lethbridge defense and Sia Skipps

scored the first points of the game. After a difficult conversion by Jessie Beck, the score was 7 – 0 rounding off the scoring for the first half.

Both the Pronghorns and the Cougars fought hard in the rucks and scrums for possession of the ball. Though there were a couple line breaks by the Lethbridge players, the Cougars spent the majority of the

first half on the Lethbridge side of the field. Tight defense by the Pronghorns held BYU at bay, and the half ended with no additional scoring by either side.

“We started slow and we could have done better with our offense,” said head coach Tom Waqa. “That’s understandable when you play a really good team. Credit to Lethbridge, they gave us a really good game.”