BERKELEY – Scoring 11 tries but yielding the final three scores of the night to the opposition, a mostly frosh-soph California team defeated Santa Rosa Junior College, 65-19, Wednesday night on Witter Rugby Field. Nine different Golden Bears scored tries, with two apiece by wingers Charles Guiraud and Matthew Chipman as Cal improved to 13-0 (4-0 PAC).
The Bears got off to a great start as a gentle rain fell in Strawberry Canyon, touching down eight times to lead 43-0 at the break. But as Cal made wholesale changes to its lineup, the visitors from Santa Rosa kept playing hard and were rewarded with three second-half tries by fullback Tyrone Laron, outside center Nate Vasilieff and lock Thomas Robles. Inside center Jake Murphy converted 2-of-3 conversions and missed one penalty kicks in each half, from 37 and 45 meters, respectively (0-for-2).
Freshman flyhalf Jamie Howells connected on 4-of-10 conversions for the home team, which will be reviewing film that shows SRJC finishing the match strong.
Immediately after Wednesday night’s match, 28 student-athletes, including 11 who competed Wednesday night, went to Haas Pavilion be honored at Scholar Athletes during halftime of the Cal-Utah men’s basketball game.
“I’m pretty proud of the guys for staying focused as we took a few knocks,” said Santa Rosa JC head coach Patrick Culley. “We’ve got some experience, such as at 12 and 13 as our go-to guys. As a team we’re trying to climb the ladder. But Cal is still Johnny-on-the-spot at the breakdown, a very clean product and something that I want our guys to be exposed to.”
The Bears Cubs are also coached by Cal rugby alumnus Dan Towers.
Cal next travels to No. 13 Cal Poly Sunday, March 9, at 2 p.m. in San Luis Obispo, followed by what could be the PAC conference decider at Utah on Saturday, March 15.
Following those matches, the Rugby Bears will be back in Strawberry Canyon for Monday Night Rugby on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, against perennial Ivy champion Dartmouth College at 6:30 p.m. Their last regular-season home match is followed by the “World Cup” decider at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 23, against the British Columbia Thunderbirds in Vancouver, Canada. Cal concludes its regular season Saturday, April 5, in Moraga against the top-ranked Gaels at 1 p.m.
The postseason will begin for the Bears in the Super Regional round of the Varsity Cup National Championships on Saturday, April 19, in Westwood, where Cal will face the winner of the previous weekend's first-round clash between UCLA and Oklahoma (see bracket here). Should the Rugby Bears advance, they will host an April 26 semifinal against Utah, Air Force or Central Washington on Witter Rugby Field.
The final of the Varsity Cup National Championships takes place Saturday, May 3, in Rio Tinto Stadium outside of Salt Lake City and will be televised live on NBC Sports Network. For tickets and other information, visit VarsityCup.us.
Following the finale of their 15s season, the Bears will return to Philadelphia May 31-June 1 for the Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s, also to be broadcast by NBC Sports Network and NBC.
For CRC tickets, please make all purchases via http://www.usasevenscrc.com/tickets/cal.
The Scoring Timeline vs. Santa Rosa JC
09:00 Matthew Chipman 5
11:00 Charles Guiraud 5
22:00 Matthew Chipman 5
40:00 Brandon Kraft 5
Halftime Score: California 48, Santa Rosa JC 0
42:00 Billy Maggs 5
48:00 Anthony Kosinski 5
65:00 Santa Rosa JC (Tyrone Laron) 5, (Jake Murphy) 2
69:09 Santa Rosa JC (Nate Vasilieff) 5
80:00 Santa Rosa JC (Thomas Robles) 5, (Jake Murphy) 2
Final Score: California 65, Santa Rosa JC 19
The Team vs. Santa Rosa JC
15. A. Salaber (Thornton @ 40:00), 14. Chipman, 13. Maggs (Drake @ 60:00), 12. Barrientes (Todd @ 40:00), 11. Guiraud (Honens @ 40:00), 10. Howells, 9. Kraft, 1. Walsh (Harmon @ 40:00), 2. Haynes, 3. Kosinski, 4. Purdy (Gaffney @ 51:00), 5. Bowman, 6. McDonnell, 7. Le Merle, 8. Sweet (Tandy @ 30:00)