February 28, 2016
Cal Bears Beat UCLA To Share PAC Lead
Photo: ABFlyer Photo
Cal Bears Press Release: Feb. 27, 2016
“BERKELEY – A depleted Cal lineup continued to play valiantly, if not flawlessly, Saturday on Witter Rugby Field, beating UCLA, 37-3, to claim a share of the top spot in the PAC Rugby Conference.
The Golden Bears (10-1, 3-0 PAC) got six tries from four players, two apiece by scrumhalf Nicklas Boyer and wing William Fuller, and added two conversions from Boyer (2-for-6) along with a penalty kick by his replacement, Fawzi Kawash (1-for-1).
Bruins scrumhalf Yoh Nakayama put the visitors on the board in the 14th minute with a 30-meter penalty but missed two more attempts before halftime that would have put UCLA (7-2, 3-1 PAC) in better striking distance going into halftime.
The Bears buckled down and scored four unanswered tries in the second stanza, playing a total of 20 minutes shorthanded across both halves thanks to yellow cards issued by referee Phil Akroyd as Cal struggled to get on the right side of his whistle. The added adversity was in some way welcome as the Blue and Gold continue to develop their appetite for hard work and difficult challenges, along with the privilege of playing on Pac-12 Networks in front of a full set of bleachers accented by the pageantry of the University’s Straw Hat Band.
“The stands full of people, the band, the student-athletes from the other teams all supporting us – I try not to break my concentration on the field but it’s so awesome, you notice it,” said freshman Nic Mirhashem. “It’s another reminder of how much it means to be standing on Witter Rugby Field.”
“UCLA was tenacious, especially at the breakdown, but as we started playing faster, the game opened up a bit,” added Fuller, a sophomore.
“Strength is their strength,” said UCLA head coach Scott Stewart of the Bears. “They punish mistakes and they don’t make very many of them. I think we’ll take what happened here, against a difficult opponent, and try to use it to our advantage going forward.” The Bears and Bruins see each other again in the Varsity Cup, the Collegiate Rugby Championship, or both.
In other conference play on Saturday, Arizona State traveled to Tucson, where it fell to Arizona, 29-17, in the rugby version of the Territorial Cup. By remaining idle, Utah kept a share of the PAC lead at 3-0 with Cal, while the Bruins’ conference loss drops them into sole possession of second place.
Next up, Cal travels to Moraga, Calif., to face Saint Mary’s Saturday, March 5, at 11 a.m. The Bears return home after that to play Santa Clara at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, when the younger echelons of the roster figure to represent their University. Conference play resumes March 12 at home vs. Oregon State at 1 p.m.
The decisive Canadian chapter of the “World Cup” series is Sunday, March 20, at 1 p.m. in Thunderbird Stadium, after which the Bears travel March 26 to Utah, where the Utes could be the final test standing between Cal and its fourth straight PAC Rugby Conference 15s championship.
The regular season, which ends Wednesday, March 30, in Steuber Rugby Stadium at Stanford, where frosh-soph Bears are expected to be selected for match for the Scrum Axe against the Cardinal at 6 p.m. Then the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championship national postseason begins with first-round action April 9 at home vs. Texas. If the Bears advance past a quarterfinal on the road, they would also host a national semifinal on Saturday, April 23. The Varsity Cup culminates May 7 with the championship final, after which Cal will turn back to the Olympic style of the game at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship June 4-5 ahead of the return of rugby to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
The Scoring Timeline vs. UCLA
04:00 Nicklas Boyer 5, 2
12:00 UCLA (Yoh Nakayama) 3
14:00 William Fuller 5
Halftime Score: Caifornia 12, UCLA 3
42:00 Nicklas Boyer 5, 2
48:00 William Fuller 5
52:00 Evan Coleman 5
56:00 Anthony Salaber 5
80:00 Fawzi Kawash 3
Final Score: California 37, UCLA 3
The Team vs. UCLA
15. Coleman, 14. Fuller, 13. A. Salaber (Maggs @ 62:00), 12. Ternan, 11. Honens, 10. Howells (R. Webb @ 28:00, Coyle @ 62:00) , 9. Boyer (Kawash @ 62:00), 1. Ogburn, 2. Haynes (Joyce @ 40:00), 3. Vrame (Baylor @ 62:00), 4. Kondrat (Paylor @ 62:00), 5. Sweet, 6. N. Salaber, 7. Mirhashem, 8. Robles