March 5, 2011
SAN DIEGO - California came away with a 95-0 win at San Diego State Saturday afternoon under sunny skies. Co-captain Derek Asbun scored four of the Golden Bears' 15 tries.
Cal jumped out of the gate on both sides of the ball, repelling two goal-line opportunities by the Aztecs in the first 25 minutes while dotting down five times en route to a nine-try first half.
"Those were all team tries," said Asbun of his four scores over 80 minutes. "I'm proud of the boys for taking another step in the right direction."
Recent starter Brendan Daly was left out of the forwards rotation by head coach Jack Clark, who used the vacancy to effectively add a fourth back-rower to the pack in Ryan Hodson. Hodson combined with Tom Rooke and Danny Barrett - who shared one of the lock positions - and Asbun to expand the Bears' mobility and range up front.
"The lineup was perfect, kind of just what we needed. It helped us cover the field well," said Barrett, who ripped away the ball from the Aztecs in a lineout at the 13th minute and raced 60 meters for a try. "We kept our work rate high for two solid halves."
Also getting the day off was co-captain Blaine Scully, who yielded his spot on the left wing to James McTurk. The Bears' backline mixed up their patterns to attack the numerous gaps left open as San Diego State sent more players into rucks to deal with Cal's ferocity at the point of attack.
"We got a good platform from the forwards and that's the most important part," said sophomore outside center Seamus Kelly, who notched two tries. "That really opened things up for the backs."
In-game substitutions made an impact, too. Freshman Paul Bosco continued his rapid development when he came in for Connor Ring at scrumhalf. Junior flyhalf Alex Aronson built on his great outing against Air Force, transfer junior Ahmed Chehade was a tough man to tackle when he replaced Kelly and freshman Jake Anderson entered the second half at fullback, which moved Anthony Lombardo to right wing and allowed Dustin Muhn to get off the field early.
The 80-minute fast-track formula against SDSU separated the team further from the bad first half the Bears had in their last match, when Cal fell behind 13-7 before coming back to win over British Columbia.
Aztecs head coach Craig Hartley said lost opportunities early in the match "could have been game-changing moments" for SDSU.
"Sniffing at the door and not getting in - that'll have to be ironed out," coach Hartley said. "By the look in the guys' eyes after the game, they'll be ready to go back at it next week. But we didn't tackle and they had support."
Cal (16-0, 1-0) next faces UC Davis at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif., where the Bears will play in their second fundraiser of the season to benefit high-school rugby.
The Scoring Timeline vs. San Diego State:
04:00 James Bailes 5
10:00 Sean Gallinger 5
36:00 Dustin Muhn 5
38:00 Connor Ring 5
Halftime: California 55, San Diego State 0
64:00 Derek Asbun 5
Final Score: California 95, San Diego State 0
The Team vs. San Diego State:
15. Lombardo (Anderson @ 52:00), 14. Muhn (Lombardo @ 52:00), 13. Kelly (Gallinger @ 57:00), 12. Gallinger (Chehade @ 57:00), 11. McTurk, 10. Bailes (Aronson @ 57:00), 9. Ring (Bosco @ 52:00), 1. Deterding (Klaas @ 75:00), 2. N. Barrett, 3. Besser (Davenport @ 63:00), 4. D. Hyjer, 5. D. Barrett (Daly @ 45:00), 6. R. Hodson, 7. Rooke (Colin @ 65:00), 8. Asbun ©