Saturday's Cal-UCLA rugby match was a tale of two halves. The first half of the match was enjoyable because it was a great example of tough, competitive rugby. The second half was a spectacle of complete domination led by the Bears' near-flawless execution. In part two of these photo highlights we will focus specifically on how much stronger and faster Cal was than the Bruins.
When we last left off, the Bears took a 33-17 lead into halftime. Cal made some mistakes that gave the pesky Bruins easy scoring opportunities. As a result, we had a surprisingly competitive first half. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Cal is a second-half team. (Cal is also a first-half team, but that's neither here nor there). Cal's superior strength and conditioning had a huge impact on the Bears' second-half performance. Cal absolutely dominated the second half. They spent nearly the entire match on the Bruins' side of the field--notice how many of the following pictures are on the North (right) side of the field.
After this line-out, UCLA managed to spend a minute on the Cal side of the field. Overall, I would estimate they spent fewer than 10 of the 40 minutes in the second half on Cal's side of the field.
Do you ever take a ton of pictures at an event, later go through them, and find one that makes absolutely no sense? This is one of those.
Alec Gletzer (right side) has a tenacious hold on this Bruin's leg. That more or less spelled the end of the Bruins' quick jaunt on the Cal side of the field.
Gletzer breaks free for a long run. Despite his awesome locks, he never whipped his hair around SydQuan-style.
Jake Anderson splits the uprights after Ekalafi Okusi's conversion, the first of six unanswered second-half tries for Cal. Bears take a 40-17 lead.
This was the official Beast Mode™ Run of the Day, courtesy of Danny Barrett.
He weaves through the Bruin backs.
Who begin to converge on him.
Of course, this isn't a problem for Barrett who breaks several arm-trackles while rumbling toward the end zone.
About 50 meters later the Bruins finally bring him down.
Bears' captain Seamus Kelly (13) locks onto this Bruin's leg for an excellent tackle. With Josh Tucker and Eakalafi Okusi converging on him, the UCLA player is about to be in a world of hurt.
Here's a fun example of the superiority of Cal's strength. Cal and UCLA are about to engage in a scrum. Take note of where they are on the field--use the buses, ramp, and UCLA players in the background as reference points. I held the camera at the same point for each of the following photos.
The scrum begins.
Gone. It was unbelievable how far Cal would move the scrum during the second half. UCLA was helpless against the Bears' superior strength.
Patrick Coleman gets ready to pass to one of the reserves, Josh Tucker (#21).
Despite being a sub, he had some nifty moves. He freezes the UCLA defender on the right and weaves through to the middle of the field to set up an easy conversion. This put the Bears up 61-17. After missing the first conversion of the day, Jake Anderson converted the next ten.
Five minutes later Tucker found the end zone again. This one was too easy. After the conversion Cal led 68-17.
Cal and UCLA battle for a contested scrum.
This Bruin is in trouble.
Solid tackling from the Bears.
Here's another great example of Cal dominating a scrum. This time you can use the markings on the field as a reference point. Once again, I held the camera on one spot to emphasize how far Cal pushed the pile.
Cal must have pushed the pile at least 6 meters.
Despite the push from Cal, UCLA managed to recover the ball. The Bears quickly homed in on the ball carrier.
At some point around the 70-minute mark, UCLA (finally) managed to cross midfield again. This was mainly because two Cal players had just gone down, leaving UCLA with a 15-13 advantage. One Bear was back on his feet within a few seconds.
Jack O'Beirne took a while longer to get up.
Fortunately it appeared to be a cramp, so he was able to walk off under his own power.
Cal sets up a conga line of pain.
Russell Webb slips past a defender...
...and he's gone. UCLA's players looked exhausted and offered little resistance whenever the Bears moved into open space.
We're off to the races again.
Jack Clark approves...I think.
In the waning minutes UCLA managed to break free in their most impressive drive of the half.
You know when a QB throws a screen pass to a WR who is about to be blown up by a DB? This was like that...
Not one second after #20 gets the ball he gets annihilated by the Bear backs. Soon after the Bears finally relented and boosted the Bruins' spirits by allowing UCLA to score a try in the 79th minute. Who says rugby isn't a gentleman's sport? Cal ended up winning 75-22 after scoring 42 consecutive points in the second half.
Jack Clark congratulates his men on a job well done.
As UCLA doesn't have a dedicated rugby field like Witter, there was no scoreboard for a final scoreboard photo. That was a rare blemish on an otherwise spectacular day for Cal rugby!