October 12, 2015
Cal Rugby Wins West Coast 7s
Photo: ABFlyer Photo; Cal Athletics Press Release
Press Release Cal Athletics:
“SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Reigning national 7s champion California started its fall 7s preseason by winning the West Coast 7s Saturday at the Cal Poly Sports Complex, where the Golden Bears went 4-0 on the day and capped their effort with a 53-0 victory over Arizona State in the cup final.
The Bears defeated UC Davis, 29-14, in the cup semifinals before their shutout of the Sun Devils and exited the event with a +118 scoring differential and 24 tries scored, both best in the 12-team tournament.
Starting with mostly inexperienced selections who gained early-season playing time in a 28-7 win over Grand Canyon University and a 31-7 decision over Santa Barbara City College, Cal improved its play as the day progressed, and newer players got in sync with more seasoned campaigners.
“Every half, we improved, and the team’s focus was good,” said senior All-America Anthony Salaber, who scored two of his team-high fives tries in the final vs. ASU. “We held our own physically, we kept our composure and stuck to our systems, and we played with good chemistry.”
Among the four student-athletes making their 7s debut for the Blue and Gold at the West Coast 7s was William Fuller, who played in all four matches and finished with four tries, including a hat trick against ASU.
“We wanted to build on each performance and I think we did that well today, getting better and better with each game,” said the sophomore winger. “By the fourth game it was really clicking. ASU is a good team but we came out and set the tone early.”
In the final, Fuller got his first try in the opening minute of the match after Salaber fielded the kickoff and Russell Webb moved the ball to Thomas Robles, who put Fuller into space; his second try opened the second-half scoring to finish a short sequence and his third closed the contest, as seven Bears got into the scoring line against the Sun Devils.
“It’s always good to keep building over the course of a competition,” said head coach Jack Clark. “In those last two games we played some attractive 7s. We were straightforward, accurate and made the other teams work hard.”
Saturday began a three-event fall slate of seven-a-side rugby for the Blue and Gold. Next up is the Cal-hosted Autumn 7s on Oct. 24 before the semester culminates with the PAC Rugby 7s Championship November 7-8 at Witter Rugby Field.
The Bears’ 4-0 start to 2015-16 improves their all-time 7s record of 90-14 (.865). With a fall schedule that allows the team to build toward its goal of a fourth straight conference 7s crown, the Bears will look to improve at every stop along the way as they play fall 7s into spring 15s, competing in the Varsity Cup National Championships prior to the Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s before next summer’s Olympic Games mark the return of rugby as medal sport for the first time since 1924.”