BYU men's rugby

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BYU Rugby
BYU Athletic Logo.svg
Union USA Rugby
Nickname(s) BYU Cougars
Founded 1962
Location Provo, Utah
Ground(s) South Field
Team kit
Official website

The Brigham Young University Rugby team is a sports team that participates in USA Rugby's Varsity Cup Championship. Previously they participated in the College Premier Division, winning the 2009 and 2012 D1-A National Championship at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT.[1]


The Brigham Young University Rugby Team was founded by John Seggar in 1962 while a student. In 1967, after graduating from BYU, Seggar would become Head Coach of the newly formed program, a position he would hold on and off for 15 seasons.

In the 1980s, players David Smyth, Mark Ormsby, and Dean Ormsby helped build up the BYU Rugby Team to compete for national championship honors. However they were never able to advance past the quarterfinal round.

In 1987 the National Collegiate Tournament changed the schedule of playing from Friday-Saturday to Saturday-Sunday. This change in schedule and the team's affiliation with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints kept them from competing for a national championship because they would not compete on Sundays. The change in the championship format also led Seggar to retire as the Head Coach.

Over the next few years, BYU Rugby continued to participate in regular season matches, but they participated in no post-season. David Smyth, Mark Ormsby, and Dean Ormsby would act as co-coaches, but they seemed unable to capture the zeal that Coach Seggar had inspired among his players. While under Smyth, Ormsby, and Ormsby the team never finished above .500. The three would pass the program on to Vernon Heperi, the new BYU dean of students, who would later become the head coach. In 2004, USA Rugby returned post-season tournament play to a Friday-Saturday format, and BYU Rugby would begin playing again in the national tournament.

After a temporary stay in the United Kingdom, Smyth returned to Utah in 1991 and once again assumed coaching responsibilities at BYU. Smyth would leave for the second time in 2002, and Jared Akenhead, the assistant coach for Smyth, would succeed him as the new Head Coach. Under Akenhead's instruction, the BYU Rugby team made it to the national collegiate playoffs. Several of his players received All-American awards and National Team selection honors.

In 2005, Akenhead left the BYU Rugby program. Smyth would once again assume head coaching responsibilities with Kimball Kjar, Wayne Tarawhiti, Brian Westenskow, Justen Nadauld, and Jeff Hullinger as assistant coaches.

In his 20+ seasons as head coach at BYU, Smyth has coached several USA National Rugby Team Members, Collegiate All-Americans, and Pacific Coast All-Stars. He has also led the Cougars to four collegiate championships: 2009,[2] 2012,[3] 2013,[4] and 2014.[5]


Collegiate All-Americans[edit]

  • Smyth, David - AA Head Coach (2006 - Pres.)
  • Kjar, Kimball - Backs Coach (2010)
  • Allred, TJ - 2010 (HM), 2012
  • Blaser, John - 2004
  • Clark, Craig - 2006, 2007
  • Davies, Shaun - 2009, 2010, 2012
  • Folau, Byron - 2009, 2010 (HM)
  • Forrester, Ray - 2012, 2013 (HM)
  • Havea, Morris - 2007
  • Hullinger, Jeff - 2006
  • Kjar, Kimball - 2001, 2002, 2003
  • Kjar, Taylor - 2006, 2007
  • Kofe, Hoseki - 2012, 2013
  • Lasike, Paul - 2009, 2012, 2013
  • Leaaetoa, Hynie - 2012
  • Linehan, Jonny - 2013 (HM)
  • Lubbe, Dylan - 2009, 2010, 2012 (HM)
  • Malani, Apenisa - 2009
  • Nadauld, Taylor - 2001
  • Ngakuru, Duran - 2007
  • Poelman, Michael - 2005
  • Qaqa, Vito - 2009
  • Roundy, Ryan - 2010, 2012, 2013
  • Sika, Salesi - 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
  • Smith, Derek - 2006, 2007
  • St. Pierre, Steve - 2007. 2008, 2009
  • Stearns, Ned - 2002
  • Sua, Mikey - 2009, 2012
  • Sua, Manti - 2009
  • Sumsion, Kyle 2009 (HM), 2012 (HM), 2013
  • Taumoepeau, Ikani - 2006
  • Tuilevuka, Alipate - 2006
  • Vimahi, Viliami - 2010 (HM)
  • HM = Honorable Mention

Pacific Coast All-Stars[edit]

  • Michael Poelman- 2005
  • Derek Smith- 2006, 2007
  • Craig Clark- 2006, 2007
  • Taylor Kjar- 2006
  • Steve St. Pierre - 2007, 2008, 2009


Each year BYU competes in the Wasatch Cup, an annual rivalry match against the University of Utah. Since 2007 the symbol of victory has been a rather large loving-cup style trophy with the match history inscribed in its base.

As of 2014 BYU participates in the West Coast Cup. The series features a home-and-home series between BYU and Saint Mary's. The match title comes from the fact that both teams compete in the West Coast Conference in most NCAA sanctioned sports.

Other matches that BYU participates in annually include the Champions Challenge, featuring BYU against a previous season semi-pro championship team, and the Rugby Bowl.

While not a regular rival on the schedule, BYU and Cal are regarded currently as being the top rugby rivalry in the nation. Since 2006 the Cougars and Bears have met in every season, except 2012, in the collegiate postseason tournament. Cal didn't participate in any post-season collegiate rugby in 2012. Before 2006 the schools met in 1981, 1983, 1984, and 2001. Seven of the appearances have been in the national championship match. 2014 will mark the eighth time BYU and Cal have met for the national championship.[6]

National championships[edit]

National Championships (4): 2009 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014

Division 1-A Rugby[edit]

The following table shows the Division 1-A national championships where BYU reached at least the semifinals. In addition to the years listed below, the Cougars made the quarterfinals in 1999 and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in 2004.

2005 Stanford, CA California 44-7 Utah BYU / Navy
2006 Stanford, CA California 29-26 BYU Utah / Penn State
2007 Stanford, CA California 37-7 BYU Navy / Penn State
2008 Stanford, CA California 59-7 BYU Saint Mary's / Colorado
2009 Stanford, CA BYU 25-22 California Army / San Diego State
2010 Stanford, CA California 19-7 BYU Arkansas State / Army
2011 Sandy, UT California 21-14 BYU Utah / Arkansas State
2012 Sandy, UT BYU 49-42 Arkansas State Life / Saint Mary's

Varsity Cup[edit]

The following table is a list of each of the Varsity Cups in which BYU has reached at least the semifinals.

2013 Provo, UT BYU 27-24 California Central Washington / Navy
2014 Sandy, UT BYU 43-33 California Central Washington / Navy

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rugby Mag, BYU Team Honored at Football Game, Sep. 8, 2012,
  2. ^ Goff, Alex (May 2, 2009). "BYU beats Cal". eRugbyNews. Retrieved May 2, 2009. 
  3. ^ Call, Jeff (May 19, 2012). "BYU rugby wins national championship with 49-42 victory over Arkansas State". Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ Lloyd, Jared (May 6, 2013). "BYU beats Cal". Provo Daily Herald (Provo, UT). Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ Call, Jeff (May 3, 2014). "Cougars capture third straight title with 43-33 win over Cal in Varsity Cup national championship". Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  6. ^ "BYU, Cal again face off for national crown Saturday". Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT). May 2, 2014. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 

External links[edit]