Mar. 29, 1997
Cal Rugby Shuts Down British Columbia 23-10
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Cal's rugby team found top form Saturday and the timing was perfect. The Bears beat the University of British Columbia 23-10 in Vancouver, their first win against a Canadian team in six years.
For Cal, the win erased memories of last month's match-up against the Thunderbirds in Berkeley where they saw a 19 point half-time lead vanish in the second period.
This time, the Bears held a 13-5 lead at the break, with two penalty kicks by Cal captain and scrum half Kevin Dalzell, and a try by inside center Matt Gorham that Dalzell converted. The Cal players kept their composure in the second period too, adding tries by fly half Dave Stroble and winger Todd Conneely. UBC answered with one late try of its own, but couldn't launch a sustained rally because of a stifling Cal defense.
Dalzell had only one word to describe the Bears' defensive effort: "awesome." He felt so confident in his teammates' play that he said little to them even as British Columbia tried to comeback late in the game: "I didn't need to say much, because I could see the desire to win in everyone's eyes. It wasn't about which was the most physical or most skilled team, it was about who wanted to win the most.
"We were consistently beating them to the ball after a tackle. We had players on the scene before they did which let us set-up our attacks."
The match was slowed by heavy rain in the first half and a muddy field which made ball handling difficult, but Cal repeatedly threatened the Thunderbirds' goal line and were only stopped from scoring more points by a couple of untimely penalties.
After the February loss to UBC, Cal coach Jack Clark challenged his players to lift their game, telling them he admired their talent as individuals, but felt they were under-achieving as a team. On Saturday it was a different story; he told his squad they outperformed the Thunderbirds in every facet of the game. "We can keep playing this way," he added. "We can bottle it.
The Bears will want another vintage match on Monday when they play the University of Victoria, a perennial North American collegiate rugby powerhouse and the only other team to beat the Bears this season.
Scoring: First Half -Kevin Dalzell Penalty Kick (3) 10:14; UBC Try (5) 18.06; Kevin Dalzell Penalty Kick (3) 28:55; Matt Gorham Try (5) 31:20. Second Half-Dave Stroble Try (5) 24:03; Todd Conneely Try (5) 28:08; UBC Try (5) 34:23.
Cal Record: 11-2