The 2009 BYU Rugby Forever Anchor Awards
Perhaps more so than any other sport, rugby is all about playing for the team, not for yourself. Whereas in other sports it may seem almost belittling to merely be called a "supporting player," in rugby there are few greater compliments...
Player support is absolutely essential in rugby; without it, true team success is impossible. Being a solid, supporting player doesn't often bring great amounts of recognition, but it does bring great personal satisfaction and increased potential for team success.
Over the course of the BYU Rugby team's amazing run this past season, numerous players contributed to such collective success, the culmination of which yielded a National Title. Time and time again, we fans heard announced the names of standout players, such as Steve St. Pierre, Shaun Davies, Dylan Lubbe, Paul Lasike, Vito Qaqa, and freshman speedster Jordan Lowry...
Nevertheless, in an effort to recognize and spotlight those true supporting players that often go unnamed, BYU Rugby Forever introduces the first-ever "Anchor Awards."
Just as an anchor represents steadfastness and stability in the face of opposition, the BYU Rugby Forever Anchor Awards are given to those BYU players who are a model of consistency offensively, defensively, and with respect to their specific position.
While myriad players on the 2009 BYU Rugby squad showed tremendous grit and rose to the challenge throughout the season, two players stood out in my mind as being most worthy of a 2009 BYU Rugby Forever Anchor Award: Flanker Apenisa Malani and Lock Kyle Sumsion. (Photos courtesy of Paul Meyers)
Now before anyone out there jumps up and says, "Hey, but Apenisa was just named an All-American, and Kyle was named an Honorable Mention! How is that going unnoticed???", allow me to explain...
Let's just say that I've had the idea for the Anchor Awards rolling around in the back of my head since season's end... and just because the Collegiate All-American selectors and coaches also happened to observe the consistency of these two players doesn't mean that I can't follow through with my own, premeditated means of recognition. (So just humor me a little, and we can all still be friends...)
That being said, the first BYU Rugby Forever Anchor Award goes to junior Apenisa Malani in acknowledgment of his unquestionable consistency all across the board. Without fail, Apenisa's offensive efforts set up eventual trys and instigated momentum-building drives that kept the Cougars focused on the end goal.
And true to the nature of his flanker position, Apenisa set a high standard of defense with solid, immobilizing tackles that more often than not left the opposition on their backs! The epitome of collegiate rugby energy and dependability, Apenisa Malani receives my congratulations for being a solid example of a true supporting player to the very end.
Our other Anchor Award winner, freshman Kyle Sumsion, truly made a statement this year with his solid, even surprisingly potent, offensive and defensive play. Who says that freshmen are necessarily more timid, weak, or lacking in skill??? Kyle definitively shattered all such notions with powerful runs and fluid line-outs on offense as well as unbending defensive efforts at the breakdown. Like no other BYU freshman forward before him, 'fearless' was his name...
Honestly, I doubt many spectators ever knew that he hadn't been playing with the team for years prior to this season! My congratulations to Kyle Sumsion for breaking the mold of freshman uncertainty to play an integral, supporting role from the very start.
Congratulations and thanks to both Apenisa and Kyle on an amazing 2009 season!
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