Since I graduated from Brigham Young University (1984 - BSEE) and now play rugby, I am interested in the BYU Rugby club. I'm just sorry I didn't get involved in the game when I was there!
I found the best way to get current news about the team is by going to the BYU Rugby website at http://rugby.byu.edu
Another way to is look at BYU's NewsNet and typing in "rugby" in the search window.
However, I went right to the source and got into contact with Head Coach Dave Smyth about the BYU rugby club:
Please describe the BYU RFC rugby program.
BYU has had a rugby team for almost forty years. We play a very competitive schedule every year. I am the Head Coach and we also have three other coaches. Currently all of the coaches are from overseas and grew up playing rugby in rugby playing countries. Traditionally we do very well, in the last ten years we have lost only nine games.
What is the relationship between Brigham Young University and the BYU RFC? Does the rugby club receive any funding from BYU, or use of facilities and fields?
We have an excellent relationship between the team and the university. We are well funded, we have our own rugby field along with our own athletic trainers and training room. Our home pitch is at Haws Field on the BYU campus.
Describe your player base. Do you have many non-US players?
The majority of our players are Americans, however we usually do have a couple of foreign players on the team. They could be from anywhere, This year we have players from New Zealand, Tonga, South Africa, Canada and India. They come to BYU because of the high level of education they receive, and also for the Latter-Day Saint educational experience. Out of our current squad of forty, two players are non-LDS.
What other sides do you typically play? How are you doing?
We basically play any college side who wants to play us; we try to schedule the top competition in the western states. We play in the Inland Pacific conference; you can see who is in that from looking at our website. (The University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the University of Utah, Utah State, Weber State, Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, the University of Central Washington, the University of Idaho and Idaho State, Stanford University and New Mexico.)
This season (Spring 2000) we played the University of Victoria - arguably the best collegiate rugby side in North America. BYU lost the game 36-26 despite outscoring the Vikes 19-10 in the second half. I attribute the team's late arrival to its slow start and 26-7 deficit at half time. (Due to visa problems we were delayed at the Canadian border and arrived just 15 minutes before the game was scheduled to start.) However, we did better the second day and defeated the University of British Columbia, 20-10. Playing in Canada gave us a world of experience playing collegiate rugby at the top level.
Our results can be found at the web site: http://www.byurugby.com - which is also a starting place for anyone in the Provo area interested in seeing or supporting first-class collegiate rugby in Utah.
How does the connection with the LDS church affect the BYU side? (I know you don't play on Sundays, for instance. Has this been a problem in the past?)
The tournaments BYU competes in runs from Saturday to Sunday; therefore the team can never compete in the finals. BYU has tried for years to change the tournament to a Friday-Saturday format, but there has been no progress with this. So the subject of Sabbath play has been an unresolved issue with USA Rugby.
A spiritual aspect of the BYU Cougars team (prayer before games, etc.) is well documented. Is there a spiritual aspect to BYU rugby?
As you can imagine, the majority of our starting XV players are returned missionaries. Spirituality is nothing new to them. They are well-grounded young men who behave very well most of the time. Prayer is an important part of our team functions: we always pray before and after every game and also at all practice sessions. Provisionally, we have planned an overseas tour next spring to the U.K. where we will not only take our rugby skills on the road, but plan on doing a lot of missionary work through firesides in different areas.
Because we don't play on a Sunday, which means no play-offs at the moment, many people want to know the background behind that decision. This gives the boys a chance to share with other people a little about our beliefs. We all very much still believe we are missionaries.
Many people believe that we have a physical advantage over others because we field older kids (returned missionaries). I don't necessarily agree. It takes a returned missionary at least one year to get back into rugby playing condition; some never do. I do believe there is a difference from an emotional maturity perspective, and this I believe is a result of the spiritual growth they receive in the mission field.