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St. Mary’s Head Coach Tim O’Brien would just as soon like his team to crawl under a rock, at least when it comes to notoriety.
The Gaels are always a work in progress, he says, and he is never a fan of pumping them up too early. The reply, of course, is, don’t beat BYU, then.
The 30-24 defeat of the Cougars over the weekend did, and should, shock
fans. St. Mary’s is an excellent rugby program, but often the Gaels don’t
match up perfectly with the Cougars – fast but a little small, savvy but a
But this year BYU is young, too, and while the story on St. Mary’s is how good they are in the open field, and how much they love to run, the secret is that it all starts up front.
“It’s sound team defense, and it’s what the guys do up front,” said O’Brien. “Try to find a better scrum coach than Johnny Everett. He takes players who haven’t played prop at all and he turns them into great scrummagers. He does it every year.”
Having beaten BYU, St. Mary’s has still not arrived, cautions the cautioning coach.
“We still made mistakes,” he said. “We are getting better, but we’re chipping away at it. This is a very big rebuilding year for us.”
Of note, though, BYU won the B-side game, but it was 43-34. That indicates the St. Mary’s second line isn’t so bad, either.
Player Notes: Dylan Audsley has become the St. Mary’s go-to kicker, but he was also stellar on defense against the Cougars. People are still talking about Jake Sauser’s aerial display, where he leapt into the air to win a restart and helped set up a Bubba Jones try. It was, said O’Brien, one of the most athletic plays he’d ever seen.