Cal, UCLA Win in PAC Conference Openers
Cal, UCLA Win in PAC Conference Openers
Cal and UCLA won in the opening weekend of the PAC Rugby Conference.
The Cal Bears thrashed a good Arizona team 76-0, with Harry Adolphus touching down twice early, once in the middle, and three times late for an astounding six tries, and Jake Anderson logging 24 points with the boot and two tries.
Meanwhile, UCLA ran out to a 24-0 lead over Oregon State and held on 36-12. OSU Head Coach Anthony Lally said he was pleased with the effort of his players and the tone of the game.
“The speed and skill of the UCLA backs was too much,” said Lally. “But I think we got into the game better in the second half and were solid over the ball.”
Cal and UCLA move to 1-0. Below see the Cal Bears official game report.
PAC Rugby Conference Schedule
|4/10/2015||Oregon State||at||Arizona State|
The Golden Bears needed one fewer try (11) to equal last week’s point total (76), and held firm defensively to shut out Arizona in both teams’ PAC Rugby Conference opener Saturday on Witter Rugby Field.
Temperatures broke into the 70s under sunny skies as California improved to 6-0 overall (1-0 PAC) and the Wildcats (1-1, 0-1 PAC) dropped their first match of the spring. Five different Bears found the try zone, with two by flankerConnor Sweet. Jake Anderson was successful on 8-of-10 conversions and Harry Adolphus was 1-for-1 on his lone attempt, which followed the last of his six tries.
Adolphus, who has scored 10 tries over the past two matches, including Saturday’s six-pack from a new position of outside center, offered nothing when asked about his 32-point performance. In reference to the Feb. 7 visit by British Columbia to open the “World Cup” series, “Next week is the big one,” was all he said.
“They scored 76 points, all credit to them,” said Arizona head coach Sean Duffy. “Jack Clark, Tom Billups and Mike MacDonald do such a great job and it’s a deft group of players they put together.”
The Wildcats seemed ready for the challenge coming into Saturday’s contest following a 55-5 thrashing of Santa Clara on Jan. 24. In the fifth minute, just after Bears No. 8 Edward Tandy put the Blue and Gold on the board with his try, Arizona advanced to the 22-meter line and had Cal chasing a squib quick into its own try zone. The Bears were beaten to the ball by Arizona wing Dante Weeks, who dived onto the ball, but Weeks could not control it for downward pressure and a knock-on was called.
It was 43-0 when Arizona mounted its next-biggest threat at minute 60, admirably attempting to score a try rather than kick for points after the Wildcats earned a penalty centered inside the Cal 22. But in the ensuing sequence, after eschewing the penalty kick, UA attempted a drop kick that was blocked. Arizona regained possession with a chance to score but the Bears Patrick Barrientes, playing on the wing, stepped into a passing lane, intercepted the ball and raced 70 meters the other way, offloading to Carl Hendrickson for another Cal try.
That counterattack try was one of several launched after successful defensive stands by the Bears, with stout play in the forwards by players like prop Scott Walsh, lock Sione Sina and flanker John Spradling, the last of whom got a starting nod Saturday in absence of Alec Gletzer, who was unavailable during his commitment to a U.S. National Team camp.
“It was an up-and-down performance, for the most part. A lot of guys picked up their work rate in Alec’s absence, which was good,” said co-captain Jake Anderson. “Going into a big one next weekend we have plenty to work on. We are going to keep building and work to minimize our errors.”
“We all discussed that we all have to step up and have better games,” added Sweet, who started at the other flanker opposite Spradling and scored one of his tries on an offload from Miles Honens after the wing made four Wildcats miss on a 50-meter carry. “We still had some errors but everyone worked hard. That’s the mindset we want.”
Both teams struggled at times to stay on the right side of the referee, who appeared to have a tight interpretation at the tackle, ruck and scrums, although neither team stretched her patience to the point of a yellow card. In the end, Cal successfully managed to handle its opponent and the referee, earning a conference win and distributing playing time to players including flyhalf Russell Webb, who made his spring debut on Saturday coming back from injury, all elements that set a positive tone approaching the “World Cup” opener next Saturday.
In the reserve-grade contest following the Starting XV, the Bears earned a second shutout while ringing up better than a point per minute.
“A little lopsided but the Wildcats never let down,” said coach Clark about the Starting XV match. “They battled hard for the full 80 minutes.”
"We have a young group and we’re looking forward to continuing the rivalries that come with playing against these teams in the PAC Rugby Conference,” Duffy said. “I believe it’s the best conference in the nation.”