Mar. 10, 1997
Cal (8-2) Jockeys for Post-Season Position
THIS WEEK: Sunday March 16 - Arizona - at Witter Field 1 p.m.
BEARS RECLAIM AXE: The Bears beat a tenacious Stanford team 41-24 Sunday, bringing the Scrum Axe back to Berkeley, securing the Pacific Coast Championship and improving their seeding for the national championship playoffs in May. Cal jumped out to an early lead with three tries in the first 20 minutes of the match and led 24-5 at the break. But Stanford came back in the second half, at one stage narrowing the Cal lead to five points. The Bears regained control late in the game, posting three late tries.
ANOTHER BIG GAME LOOMS: The Bears face an equally strong challenge Sunday when they host the University of Arizona at 1.00pm. They beat the Wildcats 26-3 in Tucson last month, but like the Stanford game, the two teams were evenly matched until late in the game. Cal coach Jack Clark rates the Wildcats as the best team in the southern division and expects another hard match. "It is likely we will have to go through Arizona in the playoffs," Clark says, "so we would like to assert some authority over them now and gain a psychological edge for the post-season."
CAL INVITATIONAL CANCELLED: A four-team tournament was originally planned for this weekend, but Clark says "the invitational has been cancelled for 1997. Unfortunately both Brown and Harvard had to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts." Their absences means there will be no rugby Saturday and no early game Sunday as originally advertised. "Naturally we are disappointed at the withdrawal of two of the teams, but the most competitive of the visiting teams was always Arizona," says Clark. "They are a very good team this year and this will be an exciting match."
HEAD COACH JACK CLARK: Now in his 14th season as Cal's head coach, Jack Clark has a 243-52-4 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.