The BYU Cougars beat UCLA 69-8 Saturday at the UCLA fields to move on to the semifinal of the Varsity Cup.
Wing Chris Wernli scored three tries in a match that was competitive, and saw UCLA come close to scoring several times, but in the end went the way of the bigger, stronger, and deeper Cougars squad.
The Bruins and Cougars met in January with BYU winning 84-14 but today’s quarterfinal match-up saw an improved UCLA team, said BYU head coach David Smyth.
“We were a little rusty not having played in three weeks,” Smyth said, “At the start of the game I thought were were just doing enough, UCLA played very well defensively and they contested every phase. [UCLA head coach] Scott Stewart has really done a great job with his guys and they played confidently throughout the game.”
The first half was not a perfect exhibition of rugby by either side, and BYU made several mistakes.
“We weren’t as effective as we should have been in the first half,” said BYU captain Ryan Roundy, “It’s been a couple weeks since we played, so we were making a couple miscues that normally I don’t think our guys would typically make. But in the end we were able to get it sorted and get back into a bit of a groove and keep them from scoring in the first half.”
Cougar kicker Jonny Linehan contributed 29 points with eight conversions, a penalty, and two tries, as BYU tightened up their play in the second half.
BYU now faces Central Washington April 27 in Provo, Utah.
Tries: Sumsion, Wernli 3, Linehan 2, Mocke, Lowry, Carver, Taylor
Convs: Linehan 8