GRR on X  GRR on Facebook GRR in Instagram GRR Vimeo Library GRR on YouTube RuggaMatrix America Podcasts Support GRR on Patreon

BYU and Arizona State Open Seasons

irish rugby tours

BYU and Arizona State Open Seasons

Arizona State hopes to build on a strong 7s showing. David Barpal photo.
BYU and Arizona State meet somewhere in the middle as they open their 2015 season Saturday in St. George, Utah, about a 260-mile drive from Provo and a 430-mile trek from Tempe.

The Cougars are coming off two straight Varsity Cup wins, and also a competitive 57-26 victory over Arizona State last April in a one-off, The Rugby Bowl, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Arizona State continues to be one of the standard-bearers of the benefit of the a tough schedule. As they did last year, the Sun Devils have loaded their slate with tough games all through the winter and print.

“We want to be better,” said ASU Head Coach Gary Lane. “To do that, you’ve got to play tough teams. That’s why we got into the Varsity Cup."

And with that and the PAC Conference games plus another Rugby Bowl they will have precious few relaxed weekends. Arizona State had some impressive results in the fall 7s season, and Lane hopes to build on those performances. But i
n this 15s opener, Arizona State has to be the underdog, but that’s OK with Lane.

“We’re in the throes of training camp and we’re looking forward to playing BYU because it will be a good final report on where we sit,” said Lane. “We have certain outcomes we want to achieve and we know it will be a challenging game.”

It’s not clear whether this game will be played with open substitutions (probable) or some other adjustments to help the teams figure out who they have and what combinations they have. But it’s likely the game will have some kind of wrinkle.

“We have two Varsity Cup teams playing against each other,” said David Smyth in BYU Rugby’s release on the game. “We have been preparing for a long time and are ready to hit the ground running. The game will be non-stop action, and very strategic.”

The Cougars will be without some high-profile players. All Americans Jonny Linehan, Paul Lasike, and brothers Josh and Jared Whippey, won’t play. But Eagle and Goff Rugby Report co-College Player of the Year Kyle Sumsion, as well as All American backs Seki Kofe and Luke Mocke, will be there.

Former USA High School All American Josh Webber will slot in at flyhalf for Linehan, and will team up with his former HSAA teammate, Calvin Whiting. Joe Pikula and Zane Mendenhall rejoin the team after playing some football, and former USA U20 Tua Laei is, like Whiting, back from LDS Mission.

Meanwhile ASU has some exciting players on their squad. HS All American flyhalf Alex Walsh has his first big get, and exciting back Alex Sandstrom is back from injury. Keenan Mayfield switches from the backline to flanker. He was Man of the Match in ASU’s December defeat of Grand Canyon College.

Meanwhile, Davaughn Foster, who was such an impact player in the fall 7s season, is set to showcase his athleticism in the 15s game. 

“We are in a bit of a rebuilding phase in the forwards, but we have some promising players,” said Lane.

BYU is currently on a 12-game winning streak, and this game marks the beginning of their 50h anniversary season. Kickoff at Snow Canyon HS is slated for 1pm.

Click on images to enlarge. Photos by David Barpal and David Brinton.

Arizona State 7s  BYU Wins Varsity Cup