January 17, 2017
Cal Bears Beat UCLA To Win Dennis Storer Rugby Classic
Cal Bears Athletics Press Releases: Anton Malko, Jan. 16-17, 2016
LOS ANGELES – The Golden Bears beat UCLA, 38-0, Sunday for their fourth win of the weekend to end the Dennis Storer Classic on North Athletic Field at UCLA.
Center Jesse Milne had a hat trick, fullback Harry Adolphus scored a try and kicked two conversions (2-for-3) and three penalties (3-of-3), and flyhalf Russell Webb kicked a penalty as California exited the two-day event with a grand total of 29 tries and none allowed as 48 players notched time on the pitch.
“Very pleased with the team’s performance today against a good opponent,” said head coach Jack Clark. “It was our best performance of the tournament and something to build upon.”
Cal showed good tempo and discipline on the pitch against the Bruins, dictating much of the run of play and staying clean at the breakdown, while UCLA found itself scrambling and subsequently penalized on several occasions.
“We were happy to come together and put in a good performance to wind up the weekend,” said prop George Vrame, whose front-row play alongside hooker Michael Bush and prop Kevin Sullivan was cohesive. “Today, we had a pretty good pattern out there. Obviously we have a lot to improve on but we put ourselves in pretty good position to go forward this season.”
UCLA had one of its best scoring chances, a 30-meter penalty kick by flyhalf Cian Barry, go wide left in the 14th minute. Despite ceding the final match of the event to the Blue and Gold, the Bruins could take solace in having hosted another successful Classic with a high standard among the participants.
“We were impressed with the quality and organization of the UC teams,” coach Clark said. “I thought all the teams improved from a season ago and was impressed with the improvement of UC Davis, in particular.”
Even with 202 points scored and none allowed, and an impressive pace set by the forwards and backs, there were setbacks for the weekend in the form of injuries to frontline players including Patrick Barrientes on Saturday and Lucas Dunne Sunday.
“We’re always looking to build,” said Webb. “Guys that played today and yesterday put forward a good effort. There were a couple of injuries which were unfortunate but this is a good bunch of boys and I believe we have some depth. This Cal side, we haven’t proved anything yet, but we want to.”
Next up for the Bears on campus is the beginning of their academic semester and the resumption of training on Tuesday following the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On the rugby pitch, the season continues Saturday, Jan. 30, at Cal Poly, where the Starting XV faces the Mustangs at 1 p.m. followed by a reserve-grade match.
The home opener for Cal is Saturday, Feb. 6, at 11 a.m. with none other than the first leg of the “World Cup” series, the start of the annual two-match rivalry against the University of British Columbia and a must-see event on Witter Rugby Field.
Saturday, Day One
LOS ANGELES – California kicked of its spring season with three wins Saturday in the Dennis Storer Classic on North Athletic Field at UCLA, scoring 25 tries and yielding none as 46 Golden Bears notched playing time.
“It was important for the squad to get some live action,” said head coach Jack Clark. “We are trying to figure out what we have to work with and getting competition minutes for so many players is helpful to that end.”
Cal began its campaign with a nine-try shutout of UC San Diego as No. 8 Drew Gaffney and fullback Jake Goena both scored two tries while Jamie Howells went 8-for-9 on conversions in the 61-0 win.
Next up was a 66-0 victory over UC Santa Cruz, with two more tries for Goena, another pair by Hugo d’Auriol and 8-of-9 conversion kicking by Matthew Coyle.
Against UC Davis to end the afternoon, five different Bears found the try zone in addition to a team try on a penalty, with 3-of-6 conversion kicking by Harry Adolphus in a 36-0 win.
“We were good at times and not so great at other times,” coach Clark said. “It looked like early days of the season, because it is.” Nine starting opportunities went to freshman and seven starts were made by sophomores across the three matches.
Tasked to face the host Bruins Sunday at 1 p.m., the Bears boarded the bus back to their hotel looking to optimize the interval before their next contest and knowing full well that their 164 points scored and zero allowed do not dismiss multiple areas of improvement the team wants to see in the short runway it has before massive tests on its schedule.
“The Bruins will of course provide us the biggest test tomorrow and we’re grateful challenge.” Clark said.
Sunday’s match against UCLA will wrap up the Dennis Storer Classic, named for the Bruins’ former head coach and the first coach of the U.S. National Team. Then comes a Jan. 30 match at 1 p.m. at Cal Poly before the first leg of the annual two-match “World Cup” series against the University of British Columbia, with the home chapter kicking off at 11 a.m. on February 6 on Witter Rugby Field.