BERKELEY – In a meeting on Saint Patrick’s Day between conference champions, PAC title holder and national No. 1 California rang up 15 tries to beat Ivy champ and national No. 22 Dartmouth College, 99-7, Monday night on Witter Rugby Field.
Fullback Harry Adolphus recorded 44 points on four tries and 12 conversions (12-for-15) as the sophomore continued to buoy the Golden Bears( 16-0, 5-0 PAC) in absence of All-American Jake Anderson. The backline overcame a few handling errors to hold its own and minimize the effects of missing captain Seamus Kelly, the All-American College Player of the Year who is away with the U.S. National Team for its Rugby World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay.
A full grandstand admirably represented by many visiting fans urged on Dartmouth as it weathered a focused attack from Cal that spoke to the home team’s desire to play better rugby after putting in an uneven performance 48 hours earlier at Utah. Fans of both teams enjoyed the special opportunity to celebrate spirited college rugby as well as St. Paddy’s.
“We got some good ball, got it through the hands and got the penetration we were looking for on a few occasions, but there's still a lot to work on,” said Jesse Milne, who started the evening at inside center. “At the end of the day, especially after coming out of Utah, we always have something to prove.”
The Big Green (6-2, 6-0 Ivy) got its lone try of the night in the 38th minute, when flyhalf Dawit Workie fed outside center Kevin Clarke, who dotted down to set up a successful conversion by Tyler Moragne.
Eight different Bears had found the try zone for Cal by the end of 80 minutes. Starting scrumhalf Nicklas Boyer notched three and Matthew Chipman and George Vrame scored two apiece. Vrame, a sophomore, was one of seven underclassmen to start the match, which ended with three more frosh-sophs on the pitch.
“We got some good scrums in tonight and the breakdown work was pretty good, too, but there’s still a need for improvement,” said Vrame. “Our fan base together with such a big group out to support Dartmouth was really impressive.”
Dartmouth next turns its attention to Cal Poly, traveling to San Luis Obispo March 19 to continue its spring-break tour, but Big Green head coach Gavin Hickie paused to praise the setting in Strawberry Canyon and the standard of play on Witter Rugby Field before exiting for the evening. “To go up against Cal is always a big, big challenge. But we want that challenge,” Hickie said. “The scoreline wasn't pretty but for where we want to be later in the season, hopefully this challenge marks a turning point for us. To come out to this beautiful field with many of our fans is a dream for our guys. It's humbling.”
With Cal’s regular-season home finale in the books, two more serious challenges await the Bears before the 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.
The Scoring Timeline vs. Dartmouth
14:00 Harry Adolphus 5, 2
18:00 Nicklas Boyer 5
38:00 Dartmouth (Kevin Clark) 5, (Tyler Moragne) 2
Halftime Score: California 47, Dartmouth 7
43:00 George Vrame 5
47:00 Nicklas Boyer 5
50:00 Harry Adolphus 5, 2
64:00 Harry Adolphus 5, 2
80:00 Harry Adolphus 5, 2
Final Score: California 99, Dartmouth 7
The Team vs. Dartmouth
15. Adolphus, 14. Tucker, 13. A. Salaber, 12. Milne, 11. Tucker, 10. Webb (Harrington @ 50:00), 9. Boyer (Bosco @ 55:00), 1. Walsh, 2. O’Beirne (Mohr @ 48:00), 3. Vrame (Fry @ 60:00), 4. Kondrat, 5. Zerbino, 6. Spradling (O’Beirne @ 38:00), 7. Gletzer (Hendrickson @ 63:00), 8. De Nysschen (Tandy @ 55:00)