#1 BYU Rugby traveled to #2 Life University for the D1-A semifinal and beat the Mid-South champions 26-20 to advance to their 7th straight national championship game next Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
In a very physical and tactical match BYU took an early lead and held on late to beat a strong Life team on their field.
After being down 26-5 the Running Eagles clawed their way back into the game on back of two tries by All American No. 8 Cameron Dolan and flanker Andrew McNeil.
With an additional penalty goal by fullback Joe Cowley Life was on the verge of coming back in the final quarter of the game.
But BYU, who played the majority of the game in their own half, would regain possession and hold on to the ball to run out the clock and win the game following the clearing kick from center Paul Lasike.
"We had to earn this one," BYU captain Ryan Roundy, "Life is a very good team. And there's not a lot of teams, if any who could come in here and beat them. I'm really proud of our guys for their guts and determination."
The Cougars started the game fast from an early try from prop Ray Forrester in the 4th minute. A tough angled conversion by scrumhalf Shaun Davies had BYU leading 7-0 in Marietta.
Life would come back quickly with a chip kick that bounced back into the arms of Cowley who then passed to a supporting scrum half Cornelius Dirksen who scored Life's opening try in the 10th minute. BYU would still lead 7-5 after the Life try was unconverted.
But as Life controlled more field position and possession the BYU defense was committed and repelled the Life attack on more than one occasion.
Eventually the BYU defensive patience led to three tries from the Cougars that would prove the difference in the game.
The first came from fly half Dylan Lubbe who intercepted a Life pass to sprint the remaining 60 meters for the try. And the remaining two were from center Paul Lasike manufacturing a duo of tries late in the first half.
"Those last two tries were big obviously," said BYU head coach David Smyth, "Not only did we hold on because of those tries, but both came on the back of some tough defense which was the name of the game."
The Cougars now move on to the National Championship game for the 7th straight time next Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT.
BYU will face a familiar foe in Arkansas State who are making their first ever national title bout.
BYU has faced Arkansas State twice before, the first time in 2009 as the Cougars marched on to their first national title and most recently last year where the Cougars came from behind to beat the Red Wolves 36-15.
For ticket details and information on the Collegiate D1-A National Championship go to www.riotintostadium.com.
BYU 1st XV vs. Life
Ray Forrester (Joey Mount @ 30′)
Kumi Tua’one (Chad Harker @ 55′ front row sub)
Ryan Roundy ©
Paul Lasike (Chris Wernli @ 50′ blood sub)
Tries: Forrester 4′; Lubbe 13'; Lasike 37', 40'
Conversions: Davies 3/4 (4', 13', 37')
Penalties: Davies 0/1 (78')
Tries: Dirksen 10'; Dolan 43'; McNeil 56'
Conversions: Cowley 1/3 (56')
Penalties: Cowley 1/3 (60')
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.