Golden Nuggets: Rugby wins its second-straight PAC Rugby Conference 15s Championship, defeating Utah 43–31

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The undefeated Golden Bears (15–0, 5–0 PAC) defeated Utah to win the PAC Rugby Conference 15s Championship for the second consecutive year!

Jack Clark continues his domination over the world of collegiate rugby as no. 1 Cal (15–0, 5–0 PAC) defeated no. 8 Utah (4–2, 3–2 PAC) to win the PAC Rugby Conference 15s Championship for the second year in a row!

Cal managed to achieve this without two of their best players and with some criticism that their play didn't live up to the program's high expectations.

"We play in a tough conference and we're happy to go home with a victory," said [Tiaan] De Nysschen. "Utah played well but we try to hold ourselves to constant performance improvement and I'm not sure that we accomplished that today."

...

Cal achieved the PAC crown Saturday with a lineup featuring first-choice players mixed with reserves who stepped into the fray. A significant youth streak included starting sophomores Russell Webb at flyhalf and [Harry] Adolphus at fullback; a second row comprised of starters James Kondrat, a sophomore, and Tomas Zerbio, a freshman; and a starting front row featuring hooker Michael Bush, a junior in his first season at No. 2, and sophomore George Vrame at tighthead prop. When senior center Jared Braun was forced to leave with an early injury, he was replaced by sophomore Anthony Salaber.

The Bears were able to succeed without captain Seamus Kelly, the reigning College Player of the Year who has taken a leave to assemble with the U.S. National Team in preparation for its two Rugby World Cup Qualifiers against Uruguay. All-America fullback Jake Anderson was also unavailable as he continues to mend an injury.

De Nysschen's disappointment is likely due to the Bears allowing Utah to have a second-half surge after Cal's dominant 26–10 lead at halftime.

The second half was not Cal coronation party, however, While Tucker scored in the early going, two tries from Utah - [Matt Ball's] second and Austin Taylor's first - made it 36-24. De Nysschen's second seemed to settle it with a couple of minutes to go, but again Utah came back with Taylor Thomas scoring to get Utah within two converted tries.

That was as close as they got, but it certainly made things interesting.

But there's no rest for the wicked Clark's troops, as the Golden Bears still have big match-ups against Dartmouth, the World Cup against British Columbia, the Varsity Cup National Championships, and the Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s. Coach Clark continues his quest dominate the rugby world!

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