BERKELEY – A lineup replete with first- and second-year players is set to take on Santa Rosa Junior College Wednesday night on Witter Rugby Field. The Golden Bears face the Bear Cubs at 6:30 p.m..
From the front row to the base of the scrum, to a backline comprised almost entirely of underclassmen, the Rugby Bears that take the field Wednesday night will be heavy on youth and light on experience. Cal (12-0, 4-0 PAC) comes in with gaudy statistics of 67 points scored per game and less than a converted try per game allowed (6.66), and has achieved those numbers with help from its frosh-sophs, who performed well earlier this season at Cal Maritime, yielding only five points in that victory.
Sana Rosa JC, which also held the Keelhaulers to only five points in its win over Cal Maritime, comes into Wednesday’s match 6-1 on the season, scoring over 47 points per game and yielding just over 11 per game to the opposition.
The Bear Cubs provided a reasonable test for the young Bears from Berkeley in recent history. In 2011 in Santa Rosa, Cal held off the Bear Cubs 31-21. Last season, it was a more emphatic 72-12 victory by the Blue and Gold.
After Wednesday, the Bears 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.