Team News

#1 Cal Aims for PAC Crown vs #8 Utah at Homecoming

#1 Cal Aims for PAC Crown vs #8 Utah at Homecoming

BERKELEY – In a Saturday of firsts, No. 1 California aims to clinch the first championship in the inaugural PAC Rugby Conference while alumni, fans and families celebrate Homecoming on Witter Rugby Field for the first time since 2010 as the Golden Bears host No. 8 Utah on March 30 at 1 p.m.

The last time they met, the Bears squeaked by the Utes, 23-22, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City on a penalty kick from 40 meters with no time remaining by fullback Jake Anderson. On Saturday, both teams have PAC title aspirations on the line.

Cal is in the PAC conference driver’s seat with a 4-0 record (17-0 overall). Although the Utes have one conference blemish, a 50-32 loss suffered March 9 at UCLA, Utah can also secure the PAC title with a big win over the Bears this weekend followed by another over Oregon State on April 13.

Even if Utah (7-3, 2-1 PAC) upsets the Bears, Cal can still clinch the conference on Saturday with a four-try effort and/or a final score seven points or less in favor of the Utes (see rankings and points system below).

A Utah win on Saturday could also open the door for the Bruins to be crowned PAC champions, a scenario that would require Cal to come away from Homecoming with nothing gained in points standings and UCLA to win its last two matches with bonus points at Arizona and Arizona State (schedule below).

In control of their conference destiny on a day that celebrates Cal’s 131-year history back on its home field, the Bears can easily be assumed to be primed for a perfect performance against Utah. But coming on the heels of an always-emotional trip to British Columbia and a little time off for spring break, Cal will once again be challenged to step up its game against a formidable foe.

For fans, Saturday marks one of the last opportunities to enjoy a home match in the spring 2013 season. The Bears will host Saint Mary’s in the resumption of that local rivalry to end the regular season on Saturday, April 13, at 1 p.m.

The Bears’ postseason is already set with the Varsity Cup, in which Cal faces Notre Dame in an April 20 super-regional showdown at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. The higher-seeded winner between that outcome and that of the Navy-Dartmouth super-regional will host a semifinal April 27, giving Cal and its fans one more possible home game in the postseason followed by the championship on May 4 in Provo, Utah.

After the Varsity Cup, Cal will compete in the Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s June 1-2 in Philadelphia.

PAC Rugby Conference Standings

Team W-L-T Points
California 4-0-0 20
UCLA 2-1-0 11
Utah 2-1-0 11
Oregon State 0-2-0 0
Arizona 0-2-0 0
Arizona State 0-2-0 0

(Points System: Win = 4 pts, Tie = 2 pts, Loss = 0 pts, Score 4+ Tries = 1 pt, Lose by 7 or less = 1 pt)

Cal Rugby Beats UBC 38-6 for 7th Straight ‘World Cup’

Cal Rugby Beats UBC 38-6 for 7th Straight ‘World Cup’

VANCOUVER, Canada – The top-ranked Golden Bears defeated the University of British Columbia, 38-6, Sunday at Thunderbird Stadium, overcoming a stingy UBC defense with 29 unanswered points in the second half.

“It was a very spirited effort from an old foe,” said head coach Jack Clark. “UBC was very committed today, but we stood toe to toe with them in the early stages and it established a platform to win the match.”

Captain Seamus Kelly scored two tries and fullback Jake Anderson recorded 18 points on four penalties (4-for-4) and three conversions (3-for-4) as California won its seventh straight “World Cup” series.

“They’re a really good defensive team and you can’t rely on strength alone against the Thunderbirds,” said Kelly. “Historically this is a measuring stick for our team and we passed the test today.”

The final installment of the 2013 edition of the “Cup,” a rivalry that dates back to 1921 with a trophy from the Vancouver World newspaper, was a war of attrition in the first half, with Cal up 9-6 going into the intermission.

Solid defensive lines replete with hard hitting had both teams clawing for points as Cal sought to protect the 10-point series lead it brought into the match.

It was a scoreless contest in the 17th minute when Bears freshman flyhalf Russell Webb tried to get his team on the board with his second attempted drop goal of the season, but his kick was short and wide. Seven minutes later, UBC outside center Brock Staller connected on a 38-meter penalty kick (2-for-4) to give the home team a 3-0 lead.

Anderson responded for Cal with his first penalty, from 22 meters, followed two minutes later with his second from almost same spot, giving Cal a 6-3 advantage. Staller missed his next attempt before he tied it up at 6-6 late in the first stanza from 30 meters, but Anderson’s third penalty kick sent the Bears to the locker room with a three-point lead.

The Bears clearly came out of the halftime break with an adjusted plan and got their first two tries of the match from Kelly and flanker Jack O’Beirne, with Anderson converting the former. The Thunderbirds took it back into Cal territory to create another scoring opportunity but Staller’s next penalty attempt from 28 meters went wide left.

Cal dug in on defense and held the Birds at bay from corner to corner, then added a fourth penalty kick from Anderson followed by Jared Braun’s try and Kelly’s second score to end the afternoon.

“The halftime adjustments were well executed on the field, which is the sign of a switched-on team,” coach Clark said.

Added Anderson, “Getting the ball out of the breakdown quicker and more cleanly was the difference.”

The Bears, who won the “Cup” on Sunday with only four graduating players – Danny Barrett, Brendan Daly, Grant Hyjer and J.P. Hurrell – in the starting lineup and a fifth, Lyall Davenport, among the replacements on the travel roster, improve to 17-0 overall (4-0 PAC Rugby Conference) while British Columbia falls to 12-3-2.

“I’m mostly pleased for the five graduating players on the trip,” Clark said. “Over the course of their careers they’ve accomplished much in this contest.”

The Rugby Bears get a brief hiatus for spring break before their midweek reassembly to prepare for Homecoming next Saturday, March 30, at 1 p.m. against Utah on Witter Rugby Field, where Cal will attempt to clinch first place in the inaugural season of the PAC Rugby Conference with a win over the Utes.

Two weeks after the match with the Utes marks the end of Cal’s PAC conference slate, the Bears host Saint Mary’s in the resumption of that local rivalry to end the regular season.

The Bears’ postseason is already set with the Varsity Cup, in which Cal faces Notre Dame in an April 20 super-regional showdown at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. The winner of that match will host the winner of Navy vs. Dartmouth April 27, followed by the championship May 4 in Provo, Utah.

After the Varsity Cup, Cal will compete in the Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s June 1-2 in Philadelphia.

The Scoring Timeline vs. British Columbia:

24:00 UBC (Brock Staller) 3
25:00 Jake Anderson 3
28:00 Jake Anderson 3
39:00 UBC (Brock Staller) 3
42:00 Jake Anderson 3
Halftime Score: California 9, British Columbia 6
46:00 Seamus Kelly 5, Jake Anderson 2
52:00 Jack O’Beirne 5
74:00 Jake Anderson 3
76:00 Jared Braun 5
80:00 Seamus Kelly 5, Jake Anderson 2
Final Score: California 38, British Columbia 6

The Team vs. British Columbia:

15. Anderson, 14. Tucker, 13. Kelly ©, 12. Braun, 11. Battaglia, 10. Webb, 9. Boyer, 1. Mohr (Walsh @ 20:00), 2. Hyjer, 3. Hurrell (Davenport @ 67:00), 4. Barrett, 5. Daly (Coleman @ 75:00), 6. O’Beirne, 7. Gletzer, 8. De Nysschen (Bush @ 45:00, De Nysschen @ 55:00)

Cougars Shovel Their Way to Victory Over SUU

Cougars Shovel Their Way to Victory Over SUU

Provo, UT–After helping clear three inches of snow off of South Field, the BYU Rugby team suited up and beat the Southern Utah University by the score of 98-3.

An overnight snow storm left South Field Stadium covered in the white stuff, but a determined BYU grounds crew with the help of the BYU players helped clear the field of snow so today’s match could be played.

After the field was cleared the delayed kick-off began a game that was played amid a constant flurry of snow and in wet and cold conditions.

The conditions factored in early and often as both teams dropped and knocked-on balls along with passes going amiss on a number of occasions.

Despite the conditions BYU would garner enough possession and field position to create 16 try-scoring opportunities.

Of the 16 tries scored 13 different BYU players saw the end goal area to cap off BYU’s highest scoring output on the season.

BYU would score 53 first-half points to SUU’s lone penalty kick in the 15th minute with a second half tally of 35 points amid worsening weather conditions.

“Today was a tough one,” said BYU asst. coach Kimball Kjar, “Credit to our guys. It’s not every day that you have to clear your own field before your game, but we had some good learning moments come out of this one I think. Regardless, this will be one the guys don’t forget anytime soon.”

The BYU Cougars next ready for a Saturday double-header as they host Dixie State College and Utah Valley University March 30th on South Field.

Kick-off is set for 1pm and 2.30pm respectively with the gates opening at 12pm. Admission for the double-bill of matches is $8 for adults, $5 for students and $2 for children under the age of 12 with kids 5 and under free.

For more news and information on the Cougars please follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

MATCH SUMMARY: BYU vs. SUU–March 23, 2013

BYU 1st XV

  1. Dave Collins
  2. Ray Forrester
  3. Brayden Bair
  4. TJ Allred
  5. Kyle Lontine
  6. Kody Thompson
  7. Dan Hubert
  8. Ryan Roundy (c)
  9. Luke Mocke
  10. Inoke Funaki
  11. Jordan Lowry
  12. Seki Kofe
  13. Lelann Latu
  14. Chris Wernli
  15. Will Taylor


BYU: 98
TRIES: Kofe 6′, 20′; Mocke 9′, 17′; Roundy 22′, 31′; Thompson 25′; Latu 35′; Wernli 39′; Collins 47′; Blaser 50′; Lowry 52′; Ott 60′; Hubert 62′; Jones 74′; Carver 89′
CONVERSIONS: Funaki 9/15; Jones 0/1

SUU: 3

‘World Cup’ Finishes Sunday for No. 1 Cal Top-Ranked Bears Venture to Vancouver

Brendan Daly and the Bears are up 10 points going into their rematch with the Thunderbirds.

Brendan Daly and the Bears are up 10 points going into their rematch with the Thunderbirds.

BERKELEY – No. 1 California visits British Columbia Sunday, March 24, as the Golden Bears seek to win their seventh straight “World Cup” in the series finale kicking off at 1 p.m. in Thunderbird stadium.

An annual two-match tradition between Cal and UBC that began in 1921 with a trophy from the Vancouver World newspaper to the team that emerges tops in total points, the 2013 “World Cup” started Feb. 16 with a 28-18 Bears win that gives Cal a 10-point advantage going into Sunday’s rematch.

That margin happens also to be the points scored in the first match by Cal’s Paul Bosco and Anthony Lombardo, two top-line backs who have since been lost for the season to injury. Those setbacks have opened up opportunities for talented but less-experienced Bears to join the fray.

Cal (16-0/4-0 PAC) has continued through its schedule since the “World Cup” opener with six wins, including three in the PAC Rugby Conference, while British Columbia (12-2-2) has been busy as well, winning twice and battling to its second tie of the season while also advancing to the semifinals of Canada’s National Invitational 7s held in the beginning of March.

Assessing their keys to victory, both teams will likely aim to limit their error count and control possession while remaining ready to parry tactical kick exchanges for territory. UBC head coach Spence McTavish added the Thunderbirds will host their half of the 2013 “Cup” with a healthier lineup than those of the recent past. “I think we’ll be much stronger at home than we were the last couple of years,” he said.

A key matchup as Cal and UBC battle in the backline could be at outside center. Captain Seamus Kelly scored a try in the Berkeley opener and will wear the No. 13 jersey again opposite UBC’s Brock Staller, who scored 13 points on a try, conversion and two penalties in that contest.

Among the forwards, Cal hasn’t had J.P. Hurrell back at tighthead prop since he took an injury the following week at UCLA, creating playing time for Lyall Davenport and sophomore Chris Fry. Whoever starts at position will go up against Alex Kam, the UBC captain and a 2012 British Columbia provincial U-23 selection.

Sunday will mark the start of an exciting stretch for the Rugby Bears, with the “World Cup” capper followed by a Homecoming celebration to welcome students and alumni back to Witter Rugby Field on Saturday, March 30, against Utah. Two weeks after the match with the Utes marks the end of Cal’s PAC conference slate, the Bears host Saint Mary’s in the resumption of that local rivalry to end the regular season.

The Bears’ postseason is already set with the Varsity Cup quarterfinal, in which Cal faces Notre Dame April 20 at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. The winner of that match will host the winner of Navy vs.
Dartmouth April 27, with the championship May 4 in Provo, Utah. Following the Varsity Cup, Cal will compete in the Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s June 1-2 in Philadelphia.

Despite all that rugby on the horizon, the first mission for Cal this weekend is to bring the “World Cup” back to Berkeley.

Dartmouth Looks Ahead to Ireland Tour & Return Home: Gavin Hickie

Dartmouth Looks Ahead to Ireland Tour & Return Home: Gavin Hickie

By Dartmouth Head Coach Gavin Hickie-

In less then a week, Dartmouth Men’s Rugby will travel to Dublin and commence our tour of Ireland. Needless to say that I am ecstatic to be bringing the Big Green to my homeland. We are in the process of putting the final pieces together for what promise to be a fantastic tour that will be used to prepare us for the fast-approaching and hectic spring season.

The men of Dartmouth depart from Boston on Friday 15th March. We will be in Ireland until the 24th and we have games scheduled against Trinity College and Galwegians Rugby Football Club. We will be playing an A and a B-side against our opponents and all players going on tour will play a lot of rugby while in Ireland.

As written recently in RugbyMag, there is a very strong connection between Trinity College and USA Rugby. Trinity Director of Rugby, Tony Smeeth is the backs coach for the USA Eagles, while Derek “Babs” Dowling in the Eagles scrum coach. I have known both of these guys since I was a child playing rugby in Dublin and it is a great privilege to be able to bring Dartmouth over to play against Trinity. This fixture goes back in history and I am very grateful to Tony Smeeth for renewing the old Dartmouth v Trinity rivalry. This will be the 7th match between the two, dating back to 1962. The games kick off in Trinity Park at 11:30am and 1pm on Monday 18th March.

Amongst Trinity’s player roster is USA U20s hooker, Cameron Falcon who was recently at the USA U20s camp in Las Vegas. Cam’s rugby is improving a lot at Trinity College and the experience will prove invaluable to him and to USA U20s this year in the Junior World Championship. Another USA U20s player from last year, Pierce Dargan is excelling at Trinity, as is USA Eagles prop, Shawn Pittman. Playing against American players in Ireland will be a lot of fun for our Dartmouth guys. It’s a small world!

Other highlights of our tour to Ireland include marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin on March 17th. I have seen this parade many times as child in Dublin. Little did I know that I would be partaking in it one day! This is an honour for me personally and for all at Dartmouth Rugby Football Club.

We will also be attending the match between Lansdowne and St. Mary’s. The boys will undoubtedly enjoy this game as it one of the biggest rivalries in club rugby in Dublin. St. Mary’s is my club and I am very much looking forward to seeing some familiar faces in Dublin.

We will also watch the final round of the 6 Nations. I am excited to see the DRFC players experience rugby in Ireland. Although the 6 Nations has not gone Ireland’s way this year, the Irish supporters are among the most passionate in the world and its very easy to get caught up in the great atmosphere generated by the 6 Nations. For parts of the year in Ireland, rugby becomes all-consuming and a lot of US players have never experienced this. There is a lot to look forward to.

Our itinerary also includes a tour of the Aviva Stadium, a visit to the Cliffs of Moher, as well as taking in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup Final.

The annual tour for Dartmouth is a very important part of our season. From early November until early April, our pitches here in New Hampshire are unplayable due to the snow and cold weather. The tour against steely and weathered opponents prepares us nicely for the rest of our season. Upon our return, we face Princeton in the Ivy League Playoffs on April 6th in Hanover. All going well, we will be playing in the Ivy League final a week later. Should we win the Ivy League Playoffs, we will automatically be given a place in the D1-AA Championship. On top of that, Dartmouth is participating in the inaugural Varsity Cup this year against Navy. Of course, we are also very much looking forward to the USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship. Dartmouth is once again going into the CRC tournament as defending Champions.

There is lots of rugby to be played this season, and DRFC are very excited about the next few months. We are very grateful to the college, alumni and supporters of DRFC who make the tour possible. We would also like to thank George Hook of Irish Rugby Tours for his help in organizing our visit to Ireland.

The main point of the tour to Ireland is to prepare us for the rest of the season. The tour will play a pivotal role in how we perform this season. However, the experience for the DRFC players going on tour will undoubtedly stand to them for the rest of their lives.

As for me…..I am looking forward to going home.

Late BYU Rally Not Enough to Beat Mens Champs NYAC

Late BYU Rally Not Enough to Beat Mens Champs NYAC

Provo, UT–The BYU Cougars scored two late tries in the waning minutes of the match but fell short of upsetting the reining USA men’s division champs New York Athletic Club (NYAC) losing on South Field by the score of 22-16 in a hotly contested match.

BYU’s first scoring opportunity came in the 5th minute as a jarring tackle from center Paul Lasike caused the NYAC flanker Paul Denise to knock the ball loose and into the hands of the BYU wing Chris Wernli who paced 80 meters for what was a supposed try.

But a curious call from referee Mark Ormsby brought the play back to the original knock-on from the Lasike tackle.

BYU would continue their efforts of managing the field position which eventually offered the Cougars their opening points from the boot of Lasike in the 7th minute following a NYAC high tackle.

NYAC would counter however and own the majority of possession and field position for the remainder of the 1st half.

With NYAC knocking on the Cougars’ goal in the 10th minute after a series of repeated lineouts, mauls and goal line phases the BYU defense would cause the turn over and hold NYAC out of the endzone.

But the continued pressure of losing the field position battle and playing close to their goal line eventually led to the Cougars succumbing to the NYAC attack as Eagle scrum half Mike Petri took a quick tap from 5 meters out for the game’s opening try.

The Toby L’Estrange conversion hit the goal post and NYAC would lead 5-3 in the 25th minute.

NYAC would continue to pressurize the Cougars deep in the BYU half and eventually a 10 meter lineout and maul led to another NYAC try.

Again the L’Estrange conversion was missed and NYAC would lead 12-3 at the half.

In the second half a Lasike penalty would start the scoring in the 49th minute, but improved BYU attack didn’t add up to BYU points. On three separate occasions the BYU pressure led to Cougar lineout inside the NYAC 22 meter line, but missed throws or lost possessions left BYU scoreless.

Two BYU turn-overs would also lead to solo walk-in tries from NYAC defenders in the form of No. 8 Alan McFarland ripping the ball from BYU’s captain Ryan Roundy and fullback Justin Hundley intercepting a wide Lasike pass would take the lead out to 22-6 by the 66th minute.

But the Cougars weren’t going to go down with out a fight as prop Kody Thompson would score from close range in the 75th minute and center Seki Kofe would score moments later in the 79th minute. Both conversions were hastily missed by Lasike and BYU’s would-be comeback fell just short.

NYAC head coach Bruce McLane was grateful for his team’s win and the game with the Cougars in Provo.

“We really appreciate the treatment we got from BYU,” said McLane,”Not only does BYU have a class team on the field, they are gentlemen off it. There is a terrific fan base, we really enjoyed our experience, the crowd really threw us for a loop with their enthusiasm. We can’t thank the BYU team enough for the quality of game and quality of the hospitality South field is an awesome venue. We hope to be back.”

BYU head coach David Smyth echoed McLanes sentiments on today’s fixture with NYAC.

“We battled a great team today,” Smyth said, “NYAC is the best men’s club team in America for a reason. They have great players who represent at the international level and they showed their class in taking their moments when they came. That said, I’m proud of our guys for not throwing in the towel and battling the entire game. We’ll learn from this and be better for it.”

BYU next steps on the pitch in a 2nd XV fixture against Utah Rugby next Saturday, March 16th at 1pm.

MATCH SUMMARY: BYU vs. NYAC–March 9th, 2013

BYU 1st XV

  1. David Williams (Ishmael Tilialo @ 40′)
  2. Ray Forrester
  3. Kody Thompson
  4. TJ Allred
  5. Kyle Lontine
  6. Dan Hubert (Jon Layne @ 60′)
  7. Kyle Sumsion (Braden Bair @ 60′)
  8. Ryan Roundy (c)
  9. Luke Mocke
  10. Jonny Linehan (Inoke Funaki @ 5′; Lelann Latue 74′)
  11. Jordan Lowry
  12. Seki Kofe
  13. Paul Lasike
  14. Chris Wernli
  15. Will Taylor

NYAC XV & Reserves

  1. Nick Discala
  2. Conor Coyne
  3. Pat Fiffe
  4. Seth Cohen
  5. Brian Doyle
  6. James Denise
  7. Neil McMillan
  8. Al McFarland
  9. Mike Petri
  10. Toby L’Estrange
  11. Sean Verma
  12. Phil Bailey
  13. Chris Chapman
  14. Kyle Granby
  15. Justin Hundley
  16. Kirk Hamilton
  17. Manny Cipriani
  18. Marvin Jean Baptiste
  19. Phil Rowe
  20. Danny Grace
  21. Ryan Diehl
  22. Gideon Balloch
  23. Rob Johnson

BYU: 16

TRIES: Thompson 75′; Kofe 77′
PENALTIES: Lasike 2/2 (7′; 49′)

NYAC: 22
TRIES: Petri 25′; Doyle 30′; McFarland 56′; Hundley 66′
CONVERSIONS: L’Estrange 1/4 (66′)