Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Four-Try Day Special for Cal Prop Sullivan

College Men

Four-Try Day Special for Cal Prop Sullivan

Tough to stop - Kevin Sullivan works his way through some Arizona attention ABFlyer photo courtesy Cal Rugby.

It’s not often you see a prop score four tries in a major college game, but it happened on Saturday.

Cal’s Kevin Sullivan notched four five-pointers against Arizona, and it wasn’t as if this was a big blowout - the Bears defeated the Wildcats 39-12 (Cal, UCLA Win in PAC), a fairly normal score as scores go. Cal scored seven tries, and four of them from Sullivan.

“One of my buddies were making fun of me a little bit,” Sullivan told Goff Rugby Report after the game. “Saying I should move to the centers with him.”

This was Cal’s first 80-minute game of the season, and a conference game to boot. 

“We were pretty excited about the first home game and wanted to come out and set the tone for the season,” Sullivan explained. “We really wanted to try to improve on what we did at the tournament down in LA. It was an improvement, but not where we want to be yet.”

Sullivan said Arizona was very competitive.

“They know the game and it was obvious they have a game plan; they were really organized and good guys, too, good to talk to after the game,” said Sullivan. 

Among the Wildcats who gave Cal some trouble were scrumhalf Matt Rogers and wing Dante Weeks, who, Sullivan said, are- “a couple of the fastest guys I’ve seen in a while. Their forwards were big and it was a physical game.”

All good fun for a prop, but Sullivan also managed to get on the scoresheet, and pretty much every try followed the same script - a Cal back would make a break, get caught down inside the 22, and the clearout was quick, allowing for Sullivan to stand off and accelerate onto a pass and crash over. Maybe it was straightforward, but Sullivan had to be in the right position, show good hands, and some good field awareness to get the job done, which he did.

“I don’t think any of them were from farther than ten meters out,” said Sullivan. “All of them came from our guys hurting them from pretty deep. We got the ball back quickly so that there were plenty of holes for me to run through. One of the issues we had on the day, at times, was getting to the ball quickly enough after some of the breaks, but at least on these occasions we were good about hustling there and getting guys over the ball.”

Was this a record for a Cal prop? You’d think that maybe all-everything prop Mike MacDonald, who was a try-scoring machine for the Bears in 2000-2003, would have topped four in a game. But thanks to Cal’s crack research staff, we know now he never got the quad. It’s possible Sullivan stands alone with that honor.

For Sullivan, this was just a good day on the path to better days. 

“It was awesome,” he said. “My parents and my sister came to watch the game so it was great to have them here for that.”

Family has been a big part of Sullivan’s rugby life. His father, Barry, played, and Kevin began playing rugby in 5th grade - first playing touch rugby on the fields at Stanford University, and then going into the youth tackle programs at San Francisco Golden Gate.

He also played football, and was an All-City defensive lineman in 2011 and 2012 at St. Ignatius Prep in San Francisco, and was MVP of the SFGG U19s in 2013.

Sullivan credits his dad, Barry, SFGG youth coach Gary Williams, and SFGG HS coach Tony Wells for developing him as a young player.

“Gary knew the game really well and he was really good at teaching me discipline and how to play within a team, and Tony Wells knows his stuff really well also,” said Sullivan. “This game has been my favorite since I was really young so I will want to play as long as I can and whatever level I am able to play I would be happy to do that.” 

But, more short term, there’s work to be done. 

“Obviously, the first and most important thing is to perform well this season.”

And this was a pretty good start.