By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Brigham Young mauls Central Wildcats, 53-20

By CLAIRE COX, assistant sports editor



The Central Washington University Rugby team was defeated by Brigham Young University on Saturday, April 27 in the semifinals of the Varsity Cup National Championships. Central lost the lead after losing 46 points to the Cougars in the last 50 minutes of the game. 

“BYU came out wanting it more than us, and it showed,” Jake Bates, Central Rugby Club president said. “And we just started falling apart and couldn’t get ourselves back together until the end.”

BYU started scoring first with their junior fullback Will Taylor in the 6th minute of the game, followed by junior center Seki Kofe, with a midfield linebreak. Freshman flyhalf Jonny Lineman helped the Cougars to a lead of 7-0.

Central responded with a series of possession exchanges with BYU, eventually leading to a BYU penalty that got Central fullback Alex Reher a penalty kick at the 15th minute. Central then took the lead 8-7.

Central flyhalf Max Nawerski split the BYU defense in the midfield, eventually leading Wildcats’ wing Josh Bower to score in the 22nd minute. A conversion by Reher pushed the Wildcats to a lead of 15-7.

The Cougars were able to gain points again in the 30th and 37th minutes thanks to junior winger Chris Wenli and junior hooker Ishmael Tilialo, respectively. At the break, BYU got back into the game and remained there with a 19-15 lead.

“I thought we played really well in the first half,” head coach Tony Pacheco said. “But there were a couple turning points in the match where it just got away from us.”

The second half started with Central trying to score near the BYU goal line, when senior Ray Forrester stole the Wildcats’ ball in the 43rd minute. The ball was then passed through the BYU backline to Wernli, who broke through the Central defense 50 meters to finish the 90-meter try.

A BYU freshman, scrum half Luke Mocke, scored next for the Cougars in the 51st minute, after deft chip and chase close to the sideline. Another try from Kofe in the 53rd minute was followed by a Linehan penalty that pushed BYU to the lead with 41-15.

Mocke made another short range try in the 65th minute, which was followed by a final BYU try from senior flanker Ryan Roundy in the 75th minute. Central tried their hardest in the 78th minute with wing Shelby Williams rounding out the score in favor of the Cougars, 53-20.

BYU will now move on to the Varsity Cup National Championships game next Saturday at 1 p.m. at BYU South Field Stadium.

The is Central’s first time as a part of the Varsity Cup Tournament. This tournament is America’s top collegiate postseason championship, and features eight of the most recognized and accomplished collegiate rugby programs in the country.

The eight Varsity Cup teams are: U.S. Air Force Academy, Brigham Young University,  University of California, Dartmouth College, U.S. Naval Academy, Notre Dame, University of California-Los Angeles and Central Washington University.

For the past four years, Central has been working towards the Varsity Cup, watching teams like themselves get better and better.

“Every year the competition level has been getting greater and greater,” Bates said. “We are just going and trying to just play the best, to be the best.”

Being invited to compete in the tournament is very exclusive and teams must be picked by the Varsity Cup Selection Committee.

“It speaks a lot for our program,” Bates said. “How far we have gotten in just the last four years, going from a no name team in the Pacific Northwest, to one of the top tier teams in the country.”

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