Monday, March 2, 2009

Expectations exceeded: BYU tops Denver!

Well, I had my doubts, folks... I admit it. Perhaps all the talk about the Barbarians touting former and current USA Eagles got me secretly worried that BYU might get hammered like last year (a 68-12 loss). Yes, I know that last year's mostly-seconds' squad was the best that the BYU Rugby team had to offer due to numerous injured starters... but this year I still feared the strength and experience of the Denver side (you know, what with their 'old man strength' and all that goes with it!).

Reading Coach Wayne Tarawhiti's comments regarding BYU's 32-20 win, however, turned my anxiety into excitement: “We wanted the guys to come out in the first 10 minutes and go full-out... And they did that to their credit. I think we caught these guys [Denver] a little by surprise in the first ten minutes.”

That's how it's done against tough teams... there's something about those first ten or fifteen minutes that can make or break a team's spirit. The same holds true at the start of the second half... but a team already substantially broken in the first half does not easily recover in time (e.g. BYU's first National Championship appearance vs. Cal Berkeley in '06, a sickeningly close, 26-29 loss).

And so I must express a renewed sense of optimism and energy for BYU's 2009 National Championship prospects... after all, our boys just beat a seasoned Super League team with more than one USA Team member on its roster!

But before looking too far into the sunset, the BYU Rugby team must face a most formidable opponent in
#5-ranked, arch rival Utah this coming weekend. With the coveted Wasatch Cup on the line, as well as playoff seedings, this match threatens to be the biggest barn-burner of the season!

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