April 5, 1997
California Cruises Past Santa Clara
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Cal's rugby team took a look into the future Saturday and liked what it saw. Fielding a team of predominantly second string players, the Bears beat Santa Clara 32-6 to close out the regular season. Cal went even deeper on the depth chart in the second game where a third string team won 67-0.
Acting Cal captain and flanker John Taylor was happy that more team members than usual got playing time in Saturday's games. "It was good to see players from throughout the squad competing at a high level," he said, "we need that depth."
The Bears will want nearly two full teams ready for intense competition later this month when they host regional playoffs for the national championship. The Bears must play games on both April 19 and 20th and will need to utilize their depth chart to secure a seventh consecutive national title.
The Bears can keep improving in the meantime. "We should work on keeping possession and capitalizing on our fast breaks," John Taylor said after the game. While Cal struggled in line-outs, the Bears won the ball against the feed in the very first scrum of the match and the forward pack continued to give the Broncos trouble throughout the game.
Cal made a slow start as the team sought its coordination and timing. The first try of the match did come until halfway through the first period when fullback Katsu Takei marked his return from injury with a try. No. 8 Brian Meux scored tries both before and after the half-time break, giving the Bears a solid lead that Santa Clara was never able to seriously challenge. The Bronco's only points came from penalty kicks and they never threatened Cal's goal line.
In the second match, several Cal players saw their first playing time of the season. But, lead by the tactical kicking game of captain and scrum half Charlie Masters, the makeshift team dominated every facet of play. The playing depth bodes well not only for Cal's national championship drive, but also for next season's team.
Cal 32, Santa Clara 6
Scoring: First Half - Katsu Takei Try (5) Nic Sliffe Conversion (2) 23:46; Brian Meux Try (5) Nic Sliffe Conversion (2) 29:06. Second Half - Brian Meux Try (5) Nic Sliffe Conversion (2) 1.02; Santa Clara Penalty Kick (3) 10:48; Santa Clara Penalty Kick (3) 14:20; Nic Sliffe Penalty Kick (3) 25:25; Nic Sliffe Penalty Kick (3) 34:15; Brian Libicki Try (5) 39:31.
Cal Record: 12-3