BYU Rugby Three-Peats
The BYU Cougars are rugby national champions once again.
After needing a last-second drop kick goal to knock off Cal in last year’s Varsity Cup title match, BYU controlled Saturday’s national championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium, defeating the Golden Bears 43-33.
BYU players and coaches spoke often this week about the importance of getting out of the gate early against Cal, and the Cougars did just that.
Paul Lasike scored a try at the five-minute mark of the first half as the Cougars built a 22-7 lead. The Bears fought back just before the break when Miles Honens scored a try in the final minute of the half to cut the BYU lead to 22-14.
Andrew Battaglia’s second try of the day got Cal to within three points at 22-19 four-and-a-half minutes into the second half. But from that point on the Cougars took control, outscoring the Bears 21-7 over the next 32 minutes of play to put the game out of reach at 43-26.
Cal scored a meaningless try and conversion as time expired to get within 10 points at the end.
Josh Whippy scored the final two tries for BYU and the Cougars got another great title-game performance from fly half Jonny Linehan and his trusted leg as they closed out their third-straight national championship and their fourth in the last six years.
The convincing win may signal a changing of the guard, with BYU nudging ahead of Cal as the premier collegiate rugby program in the country.