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Cal 76-3 Over Cal Poly

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Cal 76-3 Over Cal Poly

David Barpal photo.

Cal Athletics Game Report: Berkeley, Calif. – The sun sparkled, the gates opened and the Golden Bears scored 12 tries to win their spring 15s home opener, 76-3, against visiting Cal Poly Saturday afternoon on Witter Rugby Field.

Harry Adolphus scored four times, Alec Gletzer and Jesse Milne scored twice, and Jake Anderson kicked eight conversions as California (5-0, 0-0  PAC) limited the Mustangs (1-1) to one penalty kick off the foot of Cal Poly flyhalf Alex Wormer.

“It was a mostly solid performance and a comprehensive victory over a good opponent,” said head coach Jack Clark. “As is the case with January rugby, we have a million things to work on and improve. It is fun for us to be competing and building our team. The process is very important, especially early in the season.”

The Blue and Gold did not open the match as accurately as planned before Adolphus, wearing No. 10, scored his first try in the fifth minute as the Bears manufactured a 24-0 lead after 30 minutes of play.

“We made too many errors, our own mistakes,” Adolphus admitted. “We’re a good handling team but we didn’t always show that today. We always want to play well for these great fans on a beautiful day.”

Cal kept the Mustangs out of the try zone for the full 80 minutes, including the final 10 minutes of the first stanza, when Cal Poly attempted to muscle past the Bears defense out of multiple scrum opportunities. To the Bears’ credit, they neither bent nor broke.

“We were pinned up to our own line before halftime and were able to prevent points, but against some other opponents it’s going to have to be much better,” said Anderson. “We let ourselves down at times in our ball handling and added a few too many penalties. The result is still good on the scoreboard but internally, we know we have a lot of work to do.”

The Mustangs got onto the board in the 47th minute, when Wormer capitalized with a 25-meter penalty from the center after a Bears penalty. Their three points were the fewest Cal Poly has scored against Cal in the past three seasons: in 2013, the Mustangs advanced to the semifinal of what is referred to as the D1A postseason after losing 112-7 in a February clash; last spring, the Mustangs were seeded No. 6 in the D1A postseason after getting routed by the Bears, 95-14.

First-year Cal Poly head coach James Tesoriero was nevertheless optimistic about his team. “I thought we were well-organized for the first half and stayed competitive in the beginning of the second half, but in the last 20 minutes our fitness began to fall away,” he said. “Defensive systems fell apart and Cal found a lot of gaps to score a lot of points. If we can turn that 60-minute into an 80-minute effort, we’ll be competitive. It’s a credit to Cal’s defense that we couldn’t cross the try line today. They have a combination of physicality and talent.”

Cal will aim to hone those skills and power over the next week of practice to prepare a better performance to match justifiably high expectations. “There were some positives to take away,” said Gletzer. “The effort was there, and playing on Witter Rugby Field, there’s no other venue like it in the United States. We’ll be hungry to show improvement next weekend.”

Cal sent out a largely frosh-soph team against the Mustangs’ second team and pitched a shutout while scoring 17 tries.

The Bears’ PAC Rugby Conference schedule starts next Saturday when Arizona comes to Strawberry Canyon on Jan. 31 for a 1 p.m. match between the Starting XVs followed by a reserve-grade contest. It will be the Wildcats’ second straight trip to the Bay Area, with their season opener at Santa Clara University on January 24. In their last meeting playing 15-a-side rugby, on March 2, 2014, then-No. 2 Cal left Tucson with a 78-7 win over the No. 17 Wildcats after making a dozen trips into the try zone.

One other match in the PAC Rugby Conference on Jan. 31 features UCLA at Oregon State. The PAC teams in nonconference action next weekend are ASU, which will host San Diego State, and Utah, which travels to the Red Rock Tournament.

After the Jan. 31 visit from Arizona, Pac-12 Networks comes to Witter Rugby Field on Saturday, Feb. 7, to televise the 2 p.m. kickoff against British Columbia as the Bears and Thunderbirds honor the 94th year of the “World Cup” series.

Following the ‘World Cup’ opener is an even older tradition in the 2015 edition of the match for the Scrum Axe vs. Stanford, with a 6 p.m. kickoff at home against the Cardinal on Wednesday, Feb. 11.  The last match of the five-match homestand that began Saturday against Cal Poly takes place on Saturday, Feb. 14, at 1 p.m. when Arizona State visits Cal in PAC conference play, with a reserve-grade contest following the Starting XV.

The Scoring Timeline vs. Cal Poly

05:00 Harry Adolphus 5, Jake Anderson 2

14:00 Jesse Milne 5

17:00 Harry Adolphus 5, Jake Anderson 2

27:00 Alec Gletzer 5

Halftime Score: California 24, Cal Poly 0

43:00 Harry Adolphus 5, Jake Anderson 2

47:00 Cal Poly (Alex Wormer) 3

48:00 Connor Sweet 5, Jake Anderson 2

57:00 Billy Maggs 5, Jake Anderson 2

67:00 Jesse Milne 5, Jake Anderson 2

69:00 Alec Gletzer 5

71:00 Edward Tandy 5, Jake Anderson 2

78:00 Miles Honens 5

80:00 Harry Adolphus 5, Jake Anderson 2

Final Score: California 76, Cal Poly 3