March 5, 2017
Cal Rugby Loses to UBC
Photo: Cal Athletics
Cal Athletics Release, Anton Malko
VANCOUVER, Canada – California faced British Columbia Sunday at Thunderbird Stadium, where the Golden Bears boxed above their weight through the first half and into the second stanza before UBC ran away with a 50-6 win to end the 2017 “World Cup” series.
“I thought we did pretty damn well in the first half and continued that performance for 10 to 15 minutes of the second half, but thereafter we lost touch,” said Cal head coach Jack Clark. “It was a good battle for our boys.”
Flyhalf and matchday captain Jamie Howells kicked two penalties for the Bears (11-2, 3-0 PAC), who shrugged off temps in the mid-30s, the remnants of overnight snow on the field and variable conditions that ended in light rain to battle the powerful Thunderbirds (11-3, 3-1 Premier). The T-birds got two tries from flyhalf Theo Sauder and four conversions from inside center Adam McQueen (4-for-5) en route to their victory.
The Cal starting lineup was different from top to bottom compared to the XV that faced UBC in the Berkeley opener on February 18, whereas UBC sent 12 of the same 15 starters onto the pitch for the ‘Birds. Scrumhalf Fawzi Kawash was among the younger Bears who made a positive difference, finding a lane in the 38th minute to kick, chase and pressure the Thunderbirds into a penalty that Howells stroked for the Bears’ second score. “I just wanted to go out, take it by the neck and go at it,” the sophomore said. “A lot of players were in the biggest game of their lives today and got a taste of what it involves. We need to take this match, learn from it and work hard to improve.”
Among the upperclassmen on the squad, flanker Felix Le Merle played the full 80 minutes and left the pitch to positive reviews for his work rate. “Coach Clark told me to take it one minute at a time, which I did,” he said. “A loss like this is difficult but it’s on us to keep working to move up from here.” The desire to capitalize on lessons from Sunday was echoed by lock Olivier Damas, another Bear who competed for 80 minutes, and who said, “We wanted to go all in. We didn’t want to let them bully us.”
The Bears will remain in road mode to prepare for their next two matches, which take place in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 11, when Cal takes on UCLA at 1 p.m. and USC at 2:30 in a PAC Rugby Conference doubleheader on the Bruins’ North Athletic Field. The Blue and Gold then return home to honor the traditional match for the Scrum Axe on Wednesday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m. under the lights on Witter Rugby Field. Then, on Saturday, March 25, Pac-12 Network broadcasts its second match of the spring from Strawberry Canyon, where the Bears will celebrate Homecoming when the Saint Mary’s Gaels visit for a 5 p.m. kickoff.
The national postseason for 15s gets underway for the Bears in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championship quarterfinals on April 15, when Cal follows its first-round bye with a visit to either Dartmouth or Clemson in the single-elimination tournament. If Cal advances, the Bears will host a national semifinal on Saturday, April 22, on Witter Rugby Field. The Varsity Cup national championship final is set for May 6 at a time and location to be announced, followed June 3-4 by the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s in Philadelphia.
The Soring Timeline vs. British Columbia
06:00 UBC 5, (Adam McQueen) 2
12:00 UBC (Theo Sauder), (Adam McQueen) 2
17:00 Jamie Howells 3
34:00 UBC (Niko Clironomos) 5mie Howells
39:00 Jamie Howells 3
Halftime Score: British Columbia 19, California 6
54:00 UBC (Andrew Coe) 5, (Adam McQueen) 2
63:00 UBC (Jorden Sandover-Best) 5, (Adam McQueen) 2
72:00 UBC (Sean Duke)
75:00 UBC (Elias Ergas)
79:00 UBC (Theo Sauder) 5, 2
Final Score: British Columbia 50, California 6
The Team vs. British Columbia
15. Thornton, 14. Coleman (Fuller @ 40:00), 13. Dyer (Coyle @ 63:00), 12. Ternan (Maggs @ 40:00), 11. Honens (Dunn @ 75:00), 10. Howells, 9. Kawash, 1. Iscaro, 2. Ogburn (Joycce @ 56:00), 3. Zerbino, 4. Damas, 5. Kosinksi (Bader @ 68:00), 6. Salter, 7. F. Le Merle, 8. Becker