Cal Bears Rugby Beats UCLA & USC

March 12, 2017

Cal Bears Rugby Beats UCLA & USC 


Photo: AB Flyer

Cal Athletics: March 11, 2017

LOS ANGELES – Thirty Golden Bears got starting minutes in PAC Rugby Conference play and California swept its second doubleheader of the season Saturday on UCLA’s North Athletic Field, where Cal beat the Bruins, 88-7, then knocked off Southern California, 91-7.

“We were really good in patches of play,” said head coach Jack Clark, “but our best rugby is still inside us.”

The Bears (13-2, 5-0 PAC) got three of their 13 tries against the Bruins (4-4, 2-3 PAC) from Jake Goena, who secured his third score in the air off an angled chip from Russell Webb. The winger slotted in at fullback for the injured Troy Lockyear in an echo of the same switch he made last year, when Goena started the Varsity Cup final in the No. 15 jersey after Harry Adolphus was injured.

In the absence of Patrick Barrientes, Aidan Flynn paired with Webb and Anthony Salaber in the midfield vs. UCLA, giving Flynn a similar opportunity to the one he got as an in-game replacement for Barrientes in the first match of the recent “World Cup” series at No. 12.

Among the selections vs. UCLA in the forwards were two freshmen in the front row, Sid Holland and Damon Wiley, and two more at the flankers, where Patrick Hesse got the biggest start of his young career at No. 6.

“It’s amazing to play with some of the older guys and get some reps with them, especially in a game like today,” said Hesse. “We started off well and kept the pressure on.”

Cal played a very strong first half and regained full poise after an adjustment period following a wave of replacements that got players like Salaber off the field by halftime or sooner.

The Bruins got their lone try and conversion in the 63rd minute from fullback Yoh Nakamara. Cal later surrendered a lone try to USC in the 25th minute of the following match, yielding a grand total of two tries over 160 minutes.

The Blue and Gold now 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.

Halftime: California 49, UCLA 0

Final: California 88, UCLA 7

The Team vs UCLA

15. Goena (Thornton @ 40:00), 14. Cusano (Fuller @ 40:00), 13. Flynn, 12. Salaber (Coyle @ 20:00), 11. Dunn, 10. R. Webb (Howells @ 37:00), 9. Andrade, 1. Sullivan (Iscaro @ 40:00), 2. Holland (Ogburn @ 40:00), 3. Wiley (Baylor @ 40:00), 4. Sweet, 5. Paylor, 6. Hesse, 7. Spradling, 8. Gaffney (L. Le Merle @ 40:00)

Halftime: California 41, USC 7

Final: California 91, USC 7

The Team vs USC

15. d’ Auriol, 14. Honens (Fuller @ 43:00), 13. Dyer, 12. Goodwin, 11. Coleman, 10. E. Webb, 9. Kurihara, 1. Sekona, 2. Joyce, 3. Douglas (Duvall @ 40:00), 4. Bixby (Kosinski @ 52:00), 5. Bader, 6. John Warnock (Heaney @ 53:00), 7. Casey, 8. Salter

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant