Cal Rugby vs. Navy Varsity Cup Semifinal Open Thread

LEastCoastBears

The Bears are just two wins away from National Championship #27. The last home match of the season is today against Navy. GO BEARS!

NEW: Watch replay of this match here (FREE)!

The Varsity Cup Final (vs. BYU) will be played on Saturday, May 4th at 2 PM PT. There will be a free stream of the match via YouTube. Check back here for the Gamethread.

GO BEARS!

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Cal Rugby (20-0) vs. Navy (9-1) in Varsity Cup Semifinal

When: 2 PM PT

Where: Witter Rugby Field

Online: Pac-12 Digital (FREE, no subscription required)

In case you missed it, Cal crushed Notre Dame 77-0 in Annapolis last weekend.

Check out my photo-essay from that match for some highlights in picture form. Part I is here. Part II is here.

The 20-0 Bears return to Berkeley to host Navy in the semifinal round of the brand new Varsity Cup (the latest version of the collegiate rugby national championship after the Bears boycotted the one last season). I think this round is also called the "Eastern Super Regional Final", even though it is taking place in Berkeley (East for East Bay?).

Navy pulled off an upset over Dartmouth last weekend while playing at home. No home advantage for the midshipmen this week. The final is scheduled for May 4th in Provo Utah. See the full bracket below:

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Looking for more rugby information? The Daily Cal recently published this nice feature on Cal Coach Jack Clark (so had I actually try to interview him last weekend, it would have been redundant anyhow).

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Here are some excerpts:

With his team trailing the Gaels at halftime, Clark was at his calmest. The players didn’t need their coach to get their face; they knew exactly what to do.

"He knows how to put things into perspective," says Gary Hein, who played rugby at Cal from 1984-88. "With regard to any given game, moment in time and season."

But it wasn’t until Clark came to Cal that he first played the sport. After his football season in the fall, he and a dozen of his teammates joined the rugby team in the spring.

"It was just kind of a natural migration," Clark says. "I think somebody just tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Let’s go — you’re going to play rugby.’"

It turned out to be the perfect sport for the big and athletic Clark. But it wasn’t until he was cut trying out for the Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League in 1978 that he became devoted solely to rugby.

He was selected to join the U.S. National Team, and in October 1980, he was the only American starter for the World XV team at Cardiff Arms Park in Wales.

And then there is this almost unbelievable story:

But one month later, on Nov. 10, 1980, the course of Clark’s life — and playing career — changed.

At an after-party of a restaurant opening in San Francisco, a woman came into the party, saying she had been accosted. When the assailants tried to follow her in, they were forced to leave by the other people in attendance.

Observing what was happening, Clark was not eager to get involved. He felt that other people in attendance — San Francisco 49er players and other rugby players — could take care of the situation.

But as he tried to go outside to help clear the men out of the street, he was hit in the back of the head by one of the assailants.

Clark chased the man across the street when suddenly, he faced a man with a gun, a 9 mm Magnum. He had "no way to go and no way out."

He was hit four times.: twice in his left leg, once in his right knee and once in his hand.

Clark was rushed to the hospital and underwent multiple surgeries. After two months in the hospital, losing 40 pounds and suffering "debilitating" pain, he faced possible amputation.

"It was important for me to fight through that," Clark said. "You can always give up your leg, but there is only a period of time you can fight for it. And I wasn’t done fighting."

Even though he recovered well enough to start training, and he felt like he could play rugby again, Clark decided against it.

If it hadn’t been for that shooting, Clark thinks now, he may never have got into coaching rugby and would have lived a completely different life.

Not to make light of the situation, but it reads almost like the origin of Batman/Daredevil/INSERT SUPERHERO.

GO BEARS!


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