Siblings square off in BYU-Utah rugby match

BYU's rugby team defeated Utah 38-22 on Saturday to win the large silver Wasatch Cup at home in what was a hard-fought game. The Cougars have never lost the Wasatch Cup to Utah, and on Saturday one specific player was going to do all that he could to make sure that didn't happen.

The game was over and the teams shook hands, following which they met in front of the crowd as the announcer called up the Cougars' number eight position, team captain Ryan Roundy, up front to take hold of the Wasatch Cup.

"Coming in, you know, and being the captain of the team, I wanted to lead from the front," Roundy said. "I just came in and held up the trophy and it was a lot of fun."

Roundy picked up the large silver cup, and hoisted it up above his head as his Cougar teammates cheered him on. Literally speaking, Roundy had more skin in this game than any other Cougar on the rugby team.

"I have a special connection with Utah," said Roundy with a laugh. "My older brother Blake Burdette is actually the head coach of Utah. He's my stepbrother."

With the large cup held high, Roundy's Cougar teammates surrounded him with smiles and cheers. BYU's team captain was enjoying the moment. The game was physical and the Cougars truly earned their victory. While the game was fierce on the field, there was no bad blood or trash-talking between the two brothers prior to the event.

"We don't talk about it and try and stay away from it, but it's a fun rivalry to be a part of, especially when your brother's coaching the other team," said Roundry.


So how did two brothers come to represent rivals schools? Well, Burdette played tight end and H-back for Utah's football team from 2002 to 2004 before leaving the sport to pursue rugby.

"He played football and rugby up there at Utah, but I came down here when he wasn't the coach," said Roundy. "He became the coach when I was on my mission."

"Ryan has been here for three or four years," said Cougar rugby head coach Dave Smyth. "Blake has been coaching up at Utah for a long time, so there's a good healthy family rivalry there. Obviously, each one wants to be on the right side of the victory, and for us today Ryan was his usual, constant self."

When Roundy returned home from his mission, he decided to return to BYU rather than switch allegiances.

"I had been settled down here [at BYU] already so I decided to come back," Roundy said. "You know, it's worked out really well for me. It really has."

One should say so. Roundy not only played tough defense in the middle of the field, but he was also instrumental in the Cougars' victory against Utah after scoring a try following a narrow 16-15 halftime lead for BYU. Roundy's score to start the second half put the Cougars up for good.

"Oh, I loved it, I loved it," said an excited Roundy with a big smile on his face. "It felt great. It always feels good to score against Utah, especially when your brother is the coach."

So now that the rivalry game is over and the dust has settled, there might be a little more sibling rivalry to be had.

"Yeah, there will be a little talk about it, I'm sure," Roundy said with a laugh. "I'm sure at family dinner sometime we'll talk about it, I'm sure. We'll see."

"It's going to make for an interesting Sunday dinner, I'm sure," said Coach Smyth. "But I'm just glad Ryan was with us today."

Roundy already has one Cougar rugby national championship ring from the 2009 season. If the Cougars continue onward like they did on Saturday against Utah, they will have little left to say or do other than the raising of another national championship trophy.


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