Mar. 4, 1997
Cal Rugby Wants the Axe Back
Warm-Up Win Over Chico St.: The Bears (7-2) beat Chico St. 74-3 last Saturday in a game where some players were rested and others tested. The blow out was a chance for injured starters, including No. 8 Scott Yungling and fullback Katsu Takei, to have a day off while various back line combinations were tested throughout the match. Cal captain Kevin Dalzell put in a strong kicking performance (8-11 conversions and 1-2 penalties) in windy conditions proving that he is hitting top form in time for the Stanford showdown.
Focus On Stanford: The Bears hadn't left the field after the Chico match before coach Jack Clark told them that the Scrum Axe was coming back to Cal on March 9. "Stanford's defeat of Davis proves that, although they were hurt by graduation this year, the Cardinal is one of the top teams in the country," said Clark. "Their pattern of play makes them extremely dangerous in attack. They are unpredictable. They are the most expansive rugby team we will play in our competition. They will at all cost keep the ball alive which creates some opportunities for us in defense, but at the same time, makes them a danger. Defensively they are very well organized and tough to break down."
Triple Incentive For Cal Bears: Stanford's victory over Cal last year not only gave them the Scrum Axe for the first time since 1979, it also snapped the Bears' 98 game winning streak against domestic competition. Not only do the Bears want revenge, but Sunday's match will also decide the Pacific Coast Championship since both teams are undefeated against league opponents. The PCC title will, in turn, have major post-season ramifications. The second placed PCC team will be forced to travel to West Point, New Jersey for regional competition in the national championship tournament. The winner travels only as far as Santa Cruz.
Head Coach Jack Clark: Now in his 14th season as Cal's head coach, Jack Clark has a 242-52-4 record, leading the Bears to ten national titles and seeking a seventh consecutive championship in 1997. Clark is a former standout football player at Cal who went on to play rugby for the national team and was a world team selection in 1980. He also serves as head coach for the USA national team, the Eagles.