Having withdrawn from the Premier League (and no longer competing for the NCAA Championship), Jack Clark and Cal rugby are looking for new venues to exert their dominance. With increased popularity worldwide and in the US, rugby 7s will be a new direction for Cal.
The Bears withdrew from Division I-A because of dissatisfaction with how the 31-team league was structured and the cost of travel, coach Jack Clark said. Instead, Cal is beginning to emphasize the seven-man version of the game that will make its debut at the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Two former Cal players, Colin Hawley and Blaine Scully, are training with the U.S. national team 7's at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista (San Diego County) in the hopes of being Olympians in 2016. That draw will now be part of Clark's recruiting pitch to high school seniors.
"It's not lost to anyone on our team, I'll tell you," Clark said. "We see that as a real important part of the game. We never paid much attention to it before. We just threw a team together at the end of 15's season. It's going to take an approach that is more comprehensive."
Referring to the prospect of developing future Olympians, Clark said, "Those five rings give us that credibility we need."
Clark said Cal will now take a bifurcated approach to the sport and play in 7's tournaments in the fall and the traditional 15-man version in the spring. There is also a chance that under proactive commissioner Larry Scott that the Pac-12 Conference will soon begin a rugby schedule among member schools.
After the jump Shareef Abdur-Rahim earns his degree and softball earns the right to host an NCAA Regional.
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