BERKELEY – California scored 55 unanswered second-half points to shut down Santa Clara, 74-13, Wednesday night on Witter Rugby Field. On a cold evening in Strawberry Canyon, ten Bears scored a total of 12 tries as Cal found its groove and ran away with the match.
Flanker Nick Salaber and center Alex Quimson were the two multi-try scorers for the Rugby Bears (9-0), while freshman flyhalf Jamie Howells connected on 6-of-10 conversion attempts and Brandon Kraft went 1-for-2.
Looking to strike a balance in lineups to meet challenges presented by the Broncos followed by UCLA on Saturday, head coach Jack Clark on Wednesday selected a frosh-soph-heavy side that struggled early against the Santa Clara (4-1).
The Broncos stayed with the Bears throughout much of the first 40 minutes, answering Nick Salaber’s converted try with an unconverted one by Santa Clara winger J.J. Holmgrem to make it 7-5, Cal, after 15 minutes. The Blue & Gold got two more tries before halftime from Anthony Salaber and Matthew Chipman, but a penalty boot by Broncos flyhalf Matt Fitzgerald and a try near the horn by flanker Luke Cashman made it only a six-point ballgame in Cal’s favor, 19-13, at the break.
The second half saw the Bears run in nine more tries as their defensive structure stiffened and attacking patterns panned out into scoring sequences, and Santa Clara could not find any answers for the continued quickening pace of the game.
“We were excited at halftime, but as the match kept going, they dictated the pace and we couldn’t keep up,” said Broncos head coach Paul Keeler. “It doesn’t matter if you’re facing all freshmen, Cal is always well prepared and very physical. They’re a quality team.”
“Santa Clara came out ready to play some rugby,” said sophomore match-day captain Patrick Barrientes. “In the second half we made some adjustments and executed better, put the ball through the hands, and when the reserves came on they played just as well as any of the starters.”
Next up, Cal hosts UCLA for Homecoming on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 3 p.m., with live television coverage by Pac-12 Networks as the Bears and Bruins both seek to write wins into the next chapter of their PAC Rugby Conference schedules.
The Scoring Timeline vs. Santa Clara
13:00 Santa Clara (J.J. Holmgrem) 5
32:00 Matthew Chipman 5
35:00 Santa Clara (Matt Fitzgerald) 3
40:00 Santa Clara (Luke Cashman) 5
Halftime: California 19, Santa Clara 13
54:00 Billy Maggs 5
59:00 Jamie Howells 5
65:00 Alex Quimson 5
73:00 Charles Guiraud 5
77:00 Brandon Kraft 5, 2
Final Score: California 74, Santa Clara 13
The Team vs. Santa Clara
15. A. Salaber (Thornton @ 57:00), 14. Chipman (Guiraud @ 57:00), 13. Barrientes (Quimson @ 63:00), 12. Maggs, 11. Hess, 10. Howells, 9. Boyer (Dunne @ 63:00), 1. Walsh, 2. Ogburn (Haynes @ 57:00), 3. Fry, 4. Hendrickson, 5. Purdy (Zerbino @ 57:00), 6. Beckerman, 7. N. Salaber, 8. Tandy (Simons @ 50:00),