April 4, 2016
Cal Versus Texas Varsity Cup Preview, Plus Santa Clara
Photo: ABFlyer Photo
Cal Athletics Press Release: April 4, 2016
BERKELEY –The No. 2 Golden Bears host Texas in Round 1 of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championships Saturday, April 9, at 12 p.m. on Witter Rugby Field, where California is poised to begin a national postseason run to culminate the spring 15s season.
Following the California vs. Texas match, a frosh-soph set of Bears will host Santa Clara University at 2 p.m. in a non-postseason match.
Admission to the Varsity Cup on Witter Rugby Field is free for all University of California students and children under the age of 12. Tickets for adults are $10; youth 12-17, seniors and active military with ID are $5. Purchases can be made online in advance at CalBears.com or at the gate (cash only) on game day beginning at 11 a.m.
Cal enters the national postseason with a record of 14-2, including six wins against top-20 opponents and a fourth straight PAC Rugby Conference championship.
The Longhorns come into Round 1 of the Varsity Cup having persevered through a challenging slate of 15s, most recently dropping a 20-12 decision against Oklahoma on March 26 in Austin. Texas endured some spring travails after a successful fall 7s season that saw UT finish as runner-up in the Red River Rugby 7s Championship in November.
Last spring, Texas hosted the Bears in the 2015 Varsity Cup Quarterfinals in Austin, where Cal dispatched the Longhorns with 16 tries scored on a wet afternoon. Carrying a 51.2 scoring average on offense and yielding 9.9 ppg on defense into the 2016 Varsity Cup, the Blue and Gold will aim to preserve its roster depth as much as possible in the hopes that another home fixture awaits players and fans before this postseason is complete.
“The lineup plan is to field an underclassmen team against Santa Clara and a mixed team versus the Longhorns,” said head coach Jack Clark. “This is going to be a challenging month of competition and we are going to need to manage the wear and tear on our players.”
If Cal beats Texas to advance to the Varsity Cup quarterfinals, the Bears will travel on April 16 to the winner of Round 1’s Oklahoma at Army. Cal can host an April 23 national semifinal on Witter Rugby Field by advancing past a quarterfinal clash with the Sooners or Black Knights, after which the May 7 Varsity Cup national championship final awaits the winner.
Following the Varsity Cup, Cal will turn back to the Olympic style of the game at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship June 4-5, when the Bears will play for their fourth straight national title in 7s ahead of the return of rugby to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.