‘Cats claw to the end in hard-hitting rugby showdown

Miles Shaw

On a windy afternoon with the sun shining down over the snow capped Wasatch mountains, the Weber State Wildcats battled the BYU Cougars in a hard-hitting rugby matchup on Feb. 22, at the Spence Eccles Ogden Community Sports Complex.

Men's Rugby game between Weber State University and Brigham Young University on Feb. 22 (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

The Cougars came roaring out of the gate, as a flurry of quick tries were run in by BYU in the first minutes of the game.

BYU’s scrum-half scored out of a lineout in the 36th minute of the first period. BYU missed the conversion as the ball sailed left of the goalposts.

After the restart kick and a scrum, BYU’s Prop broke free and ran almost to the try line where he pitched it back to the fullback who dove past the try line, dropping the ball for another score. The conversion was good as the fly half kicked the ball through the goalposts. Bringing the score to 12-0

After the score BYU threw in a lineout, but a Wildcat forward gained the turnover and advanced the ball before being tackled and releasing the ball once on the ground.

The Cougars then advanced the ball almost to the Weber State try line but Wildcat inside-center Taylor Carlton made a defensive save by kicking it out back down the field.

The Wildcats threw in in a lineout, but got pushed back by the Cougars who got the ball and put in a another try, making the score 24-0 .

The Cougars right-wing ran and pitched to the forward, who ran the length of the pitch into the try zone.

After the cougars try the score was 36-0.

After some valiant defensive efforts by the Wildcats, BYU’s fullback scored with four minutes left in the first period. Bringing the the score to 48-0 after the made conversion.

To start the second period BYU advanced the ball down to the try line, but a good defensive play was made by Weber State’s Taylor Carlton as he kicked the ball back out down the pitch.

Both teams defenses were on display in the second period, BYU advanced the ball down to the try line but a good defensive play by Weber State’s Taylor Carlton as he kicked it back out down the pitch

A BYU scrum with 36 min left led to a Weber State lineout which resulted in another BYU score making it 53-0 to start the second period with 34 min left BYU made the conversion bringing the score to 55-0.

A big defensive play made by Weber State’s flanker, lead to a yellow card for him. The Cougars scored again with 29 minutes left in the the game bringing the score to 60-0 in the second period.

After a Weber State scrum, Wildcat prop Ray Tweed had a thunderous run and plowed over multiple Cougar defenders, pushing the Wildcats forward.

BYU again scored midway through the second period bringing the score to 69-0 . Weber State’s Ray Tweed missed a penalty kick for 3 points with 13 minutes left in the second before BYU scored one last try with time almost expired making the score 74-0.

“BYU’s always a tough team to play. They’re nationally ranked so it was a hard first game for us, and we definitely have some things we need to work on,” Weber State’s fly-half Gavin Perkins said.

It’s a tough loss for the Wildcats, but the Cougars aren’t just any other team. BYU finished the 2018 season ranked No. 6 in the D1A College Rugby rankings.

“We started off really slow to begin with, they put up three tries in the first ten minutes on us, but in the second half we came out and we settled down, we were able to see space and create space and attack it. Going forward this will probably be one of our tougher competitions so this is a good measuring stick of where we’re currently at,” Weber State’s Head Coach Karl Hunt said.

This was the first game of the new season for the Wildcats, as they are looking to improve and get better each game. The team still has the whole season ahead of it.

“We got some things we could work on missing that first Dixie game really made a difference, but now at least we have a game under our belt so we know how we’re going to play together. We’re hoping to improve on our tackling and offensive tactics,” Weber State’s inside-center Nick Andiarena said.

Up next for the Wildcats is Idaho State, their first conference matchup.