Cal returns from LA with two dominant PAC wins

D1A Rugby: Cal returns from LA with two dominant PAC wins
Photo Credit: ABFlyer

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Cal got back to its winning ways after dropping its annual ‘World Cup’ series against the University of British Columbia earning not one – but two PAC Rugby Conference victories over the weekend. The Bears went down to Los Angeles and had their way with both UCLA and USC by a combined 179-14.

Sending out its No. 1 unit against UCLA, minus a resting Patrick Barrientes, Cal ran off 49 first-half points, including 15 recorded by Jake Goena thanks to the junior full back’s hat trick 30 minutes into the game.

All eight Cal reserves were on the pitch by the time the second half whistle sounded, but the tries kept pouring in for the Bears. Substitutes Karl Thornton, William Fuller, Jamie Howells, Louis Le Merle and Wade Ogburn would each get their name on the stat sheet on Cal’s way to totaling 88 points. UCLA’s Yoh Nakayama converted his own try in the 63rd minute, but the scoring opportunity proved to be one of UCLA’s lone highlights on the afternoon.

Fifteen unused Bears took the field against USC for part two of the PAC double-header and produced just as dominant an effort. Wing Evan Coleman had himself a hat trick just 17 minutes into the contest, and four other Bears dotted down in the first half to build a 41-7 lead at intermission. The Trojans’ try came in the 28th minute when lock Rohan Martin scored his first of the season and Adam Bushell added the conversion.

Cal outdid its first half performance by adding 50 second-half points to the 41 it tallied over the first 40 minutes. Five Bears scored their first tries of the day in the second period, included a pair by scrum half Ken Kurihara. Christian Dyer matched his first half score with a try in the 52nd minute, while Fuller – who found the endzone twice against UCLA – dotted down once more versus the Trojans.

“We were really good in patches of play,” Cal Head Coach Jack Clark told “But our best rugby is still inside us.”

The pair of victories also puts a stamp on another undefeated PAC season for a Cal program that hasn’t dropped a conference game since the PAC formed in 2013.

The Golden Bears will continue to utilize their deep and talented pool of players Wednesday, March 15, when they take on longtime rivals Stanford for the Scrum Axe. The midweek fixture will be followed by another contest against a Bay Area rival – Saint Mary’s. The Gaels, who are coming off a narrow defeat to BYU, travel to Berkeley to contend with the Bears Saturday, March 25. The match pitting two teams ranked in the top three of Canterbury’s Top 20 will kick off at 5 p.m. PT and air live on Pac-12 Networks.