BERKELEY – Only 48 hours after securing their second straight PAC Rugby Conference 15s championship, the No. 1 Golden Bears come home for a special St. Patrick’s Day edition of Monday Night Rugby on March 17, when perennial Ivy champion Dartmouth College visits Witter Rugby Field at 6:30 p.m.
Festivities to celebrate St. Paddy’s will abound as the Blue and Gold host No. 22 Big Green, which rolls into Strawberry Canyon on a four-match spring break tour that will also see Dartmouth take on Cal Poly March 19 in San Luis Obispo. The visitors from Hanover, N.H., last played Cal at Witter Rugby Field on March 19, 2000, when the Bears dispatched Big Green in the final of that year’s California Invitational.
On Monday night, both teams will vie to represent their conferences without their respective captains. Dartmouth’s Madison Hughes is on leave with the U.S. National 7s Team for its trip to Tokyo on the IRB Sevens World Series tour, where Cal alumnus Danny Barrett is also on the roster. Cal will be missing 2013 College Player of the Year Seamus Kelly, who has joined the assembly of the U.S. National 15s Team in preparations for its Rugby World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay later this month.
In addition to their more recent history in 7s at the Collegiate Rugby Championship, Cal and Dartmouth have met twice before in the national collegiate championships for 15s, in 1986 and 1988, with the Bears taking home the titles on both occasions.
Two more serious challenges await Cal before this year’s postseason begins: first, the Bears travel to Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver, Canada, for the “World Cup” finale at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 23, against the British Columbia Thunderbirds; after that, Cal concludes its regular season Saturday, April 5, in Moraga against Saint Mary’s at 1 p.m.
After those mega-matches close the regular season, the postseason gets underway 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 that 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.