Provo, UT–After starting the 2013 season with a 5-0 record against fellow college teams the BYU Cougars turn their attention towards the Old Puget Sound Beach men’s rugby club.
The Cougars and OPSB are set to square off tomorrow at 1:30pm MT at Snow Canyon High School’s rugby field just outside of St. George, Utah.
OPSB finished the 2012 men’s season as runners-up losing a hotly contested championship game against NYAC by the score of 32-29. And with a new head coach and former Irish International Justin Fitzpatrick leading their 2013 Men’s Elite Cup campaign OPSB has high expectations for this season. OPSB is one of three top men’s clubs that BYU is slated to face this season, with the other two being the Denver Barbarians on February 27 and New York Athletic Club on March 9.
“We were let down with how the season ended last year,” said BYU Alum and USA Eagle Alipate Tuilevuka about OPSB’s 2012 men’s division championship loss, “But we have a lot of the guys returning and we expect to be right back in the hunt again this year. And this game against BYU is a good way for us to start our season.”
Tuilevuka leads a backline that enlists the talents dual 7s and 15s USA Eagle Mike Palefau, 7s Eagle Miles Craigwell and Fijian 7s international William Rasileka.
The OPSB forward pack will lean on captain and 2012 USA “A” team member Matt Trouville but will be without dual 7s and 15s Eagle Andrew Durutalo, who is with the USA 7s team now.
BYU holds a 1-0 record against OPSB with the two teams having squared off in early 2012 in Seattle, Wash. with BYU scoring a late try to secure a hard-fought 19-15 victory.
“This will be a very good test for us,” said BYU head coach David Smyth, “OPSB is one of the top men’s clubs in the country and having played them last year and knowing what we can expect this year, it’s going to be a game that will stretch our team, especially our young players who will be new to level, and give us a chance to really see what we’re made of. We’re very much looking forward to the challenge.”
The BYU and OPSB clash will serve as the final event of the two-day BYU/Serevi Rugby Training Camp being held at Snow Canyon High School Friday and Saturday. Players from throughout the Utah and Las Vegas regions are descending to St. George, Utah to learn from top 7s players Waisale Serevi, Ben Gollings and the BYU Rugby coaching staff and players.
The BYU 2nd XV will also take on Dixie State College immediately following the OPSB match.