BERKELEY – The No. 2 Golden Bears are back on the road to face No. 13 Cal Poly Sunday, March 9, at 2 p.m. at the Cal Poly Sports Complex on campus in San Luis Obispo.
California (13-0, 4-0 PAC) will send a lineup that includes three frosh-sophs in the tight five – sophomore prop George Vrame, sophomore lock James Kondrat and freshman lock Tomas Zerbino – to face a Mustangs team that most recently played top-ranked Saint Mary’s in Moraga, where Cal Poly fell to the Gaels, 36-5.
The Mustangs have also dropped a road match at Arizona State and a home contest vs. UCLA this spring in 15s but will enter the weekend with a 3-3 season record with wins over UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Cal Maritime also under their belts.
The Bears last saw Cal Poly on Feb. 9, 2013, at home on Witter Rugby Field, where Cal crushed the Mustangs, 112-7. In the Blue and Gold’s last visit for 15s to San Luis Obispo, however, a reserve-grade Cal lineup lost to the Mustangs, 22-20, on Feb. 25, 2012. While neither recent result dictates Cal’s mindset entering Sunday’s clash, the Bears will aspire to play efficient and effective rugby against the Mustangs in conditions forecasted to be warm and dry, if overcast.
After their Sunday match on the Central Coast, the Bears head for the Wasatch Mountain Range to play the Utah Utes on Saturday, March 15. That match between conference-leading Cal and second-place Utah could materialize as the PAC Rugby Conference decider. A visit by third-place UCLA to play the Utes this Saturday will clarify those stakes.
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.