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Preview and live stream: No. 1 BYU Cougars rugby team to take on No. 3 St. Mary's at home


Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. MT at BYU's South Field in Provo on Saturday. Watch it live above.


PROVO — In a battle of two of the top collegiate rugby teams in the nation, the No. 1 BYU Cougars will take on the No. 3 St. Mary's Gaels at South Field in Provo on Saturday.

The game will be the teams' second meeting in 2016. In the last match between the Cougars and Gaels, on Feb. 20 at St. Mary's, the Cougars hung on for a 30-29 win despite the relentlessness and conditioning of the Gaels.

"St. Mary's always brings it every match, so we need to be prepared," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. "We will need to be better in our set pieces and execution. We'll also need to keep our foot on the gas the entire 80 minutes and stay focused on finishing with the win. We can't afford to play the same way we did last week against Central Washington."

Last week against the Central Washington Wildcats, the Cougars had a rough start to both halves of the game, which included three tries in a row for scores by the Wildcats in the second half. In BYU's last match against the Gaels, the Cougars led 27-8 in the second half. It wasn't until the last five minutes of the match that the Gaels pieced together back-to-back tries and conversions, putting the Gaels within one point.

"We'll be defending our home pitch this time," said BYU rugby team captain and scrum half Luke Mocke. "Our passing and ball control will be key against St. Mary's. They have the ability to score as well as play defense. As long as our forward pack and back line work as one, we'll finish with a win."

Fans at South Field have seen gritty BYU forward play by the likes of Zane Mendenhall and Ricky Tu'ihalagingie at prop and Alex Vorster at hooker in the front row. The play of these three Cougars in the front row has led to BYU dominating in the scrums against past opponents this season, including Air Force and CWU.

The Cougars, who have averaged 56 points per game in their last three matches, are not lacking when it comes to scoring ability. In last week's match against the Wildcats, five Cougars found the try line, including fullback Ryan Blaser, flanker Jonny Layne, winger Kevin Schofield, lock Matt Jensen and Tu'ihalagingie.

Tickets can be purchased at https://eventtickets.byu.edu/. For fans who will not be able to attend the match, the game will be broadcast on BYU rugby's official YouTube channel.