BERKELEY – National No. 4 California faces No. 8 Central Washington Saturday, April 26, at 1:30 p.m. PT on Witter Rugby Field in the Varsity Cup National Championships semifinals. To the winner of the match, streamed live at Pac-12.com, goes a slot in the May 3 final against the winner of the Navy vs. BYU semifinal also held Saturday in Provo, Utah.
Saturday’s semifinal in Strawberry Canyon between the Wildcats (14-0, 8-0 NCRC) and Golden Bears (17-2, 5-0 PAC) kicks off following the Cal Spring Football Game, giving fans an exciting chance to enjoy gridiron across the street before sitting down to the final home match of the year for the Blue and Gold. To offer fans better access and expanded parking options, a continuous free shuttle service between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will run to and from the corner of Rim Way and Centennial Avenue from Underhill Lot on Channing Street between College Avenue and Bowditch Street.
This weekend will mark the first visit to Witter Rugby Field ever for Central Washington, which edged Utah, 25-24, in the April 19 Super Regional Round in Los Angeles to advance to the semifinals (see full bracket here).
“Central Washington has a strong side as evidenced by their undefeated record,” said head coach jack Clark. “We’re not undefeated, we have flaws, but we believe if we get it right on the day, we can beat them.”
In their last meeting, on March 26, 2011, Cal won on the road in Ellensburg, Wash., beating the Wildcats by the score of 44-14 with a try from scrumhalf Paul Bosco and two apiece by then-freshman Jake Anderson and Jared Braun. Injuries as well as time have turned over the Bears’ roster since that match – Braun is out for the season with an injury, joining a list of lost starters that includes backs Josh Tucker, Jesse Milne and Lucas Dunne, and forward Michael Bush. A separate list of Bears continuing to battle back from injury to full-go includes backs Andrew Battaglia, Patrick Barrientes and Eakalafi Okusi, and forward Patrick Coleman.
Cal advanced to this Saturday’s semi with a 41-0 win over UCLA at the Super Regionals and will need another high-effort performance against CWU in its last match of the year on Witter Rugby Field. Whether it’s their final home event of the year or their collegiate careers, the Rugby Bears will be tasked to earn a victory against Central Washington with a slot in the Varsity Cup National Championship final at stake.
The semifinal winners advance to the final held May 3 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City and broadcast on NBC Sports Network. For tickets and other information, visit VarsityCup.us.
After 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.