Mar. 31, 1997
Cal Learns in Loss to Victoria
VICTORIA, B.C. - Playing the toughest college rugby team in North America was not challenge enough for Cal's squad Monday. The Bears' coaches decided to rest most of the starting line-up as well.
In a further plot twist, the team also viewed the 44-10 loss to the University of Victoria as productive. "Mission accomplished," assistant coach Dan Porter told the team after the game. "This was an important step toward our goal of winning the U.S. national championship."
With six consecutive national titles to their name, the University of California squad knows that it needs 30 players ready for top-level competition in order to win another collegiate championship. The road game against Canada's perennial rugby powerhouse was the perfect opportunity to give reserves valuable playing time.
Entering what the team calls its "April Drive," the Bears face a scenario where they will need to play two games in two days at the regional play-offs and the final four tournament. "With teams fielding their best players in an effort to get passed Cal, we can't rely on only the first XV at the nationals," Porter said.
While not entirely satisfied with the Bears' play, the coach saw pleasing patches of play in the loss and, he added, "it's not bad to carry around the mental scar of a defeat, to remind yourself that you've got work to do."
The Bears' make-shift line-up lacked defensive co-ordination which allowed the Vikes to jump out to a 20-0 lead in as many minutes. The Bears cut the deficit to 10 points with a try by captain Simon Terry-Lloyd before the half, and a penalty kick by winger Ryan Fried just after the break.
However, the University of Victoria never relinquished control of the game and scored four tries in the second half, for a total of seven in the match.
The Vikes did a lot of their damage with fast counter-attacks before the Bears' defense could regroup. The Canadian team also dominated the scrums, winning several tightheads.
Victoria 44, Cal 10
Cal 7 3 - 10 Victoria 20 24 - 44
Scoring: First Half -U. of Vic. Try (5) and Conversion (2) 5.23; U. of Vic. Try (5) 13.48; U. of Vic. Penalty Kick (3) 17.29; U. of Vic. Try (5) 22.35; Simon Terry-Lloyd Try (5) Ryan Fried Conversion (2) 32.57.
Cal Record: 11-3