Cal's #1-ranked ruggers bid farewell to Witter Rugby Field before a sell-out Homecoming crowd with a near-shutout over #3 St. Mary's College. With the victory, the Bears win a local play-off bye and earn the #2 seed in the upcoming national championships. Cal will meet either Cal Poly SLO or UCLA in Round of 16 play in Marietta, Ga.on April 17.
Keeping the Gaels scoreless for 78 minutes, six Bears touched down for eight tries with senior flanker Derek Asbun and freshman center Seamus Kelly each earning two. Senior Keegan Englebrecht contributed 16 points to Cal's tally with two penalty kicks and five conversions.
Today's win closes out the Bears' local season with a perfect 5-0 record and a 388-point scoring advantage over Stanford, Sacramento State, UC-Davis, Chico State and St. Mary's. Two of Cal's league matches were won by shut-outs, including a 99-0 drubbing of the Stanford Cardinal in the annual Scrum Axe game on January 30.
Overall, Cal's earned a 20-0 record this season, outscoring its opponents by a 15-to-1 margin and improving on last year's late-season pace.
Today's match was the swan song for Witter Rugby Field as the home pitch for Cal's ruggers. Witter will be converted to a practice field through 2013 as Memorial Stadium is renovated and the new Student Athlete High Performance Center is constructed. Cal will play its home games at high schools in the interim.
The Bears won't be idle before the national championships. With three days rest, Cal travels to Vancouver to challenge the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the second stanza of the World Cup. The Bears have a 32-point advantage in the best-score-in-two contest.
While in Vancouver, Cal's Second XV will square off against Pacific Northwest up-and-comer Central Washington University.
Cal's schedule has room for another match on April 3 if an opponent and a pitch can be procured, though pickings will be slim. With a loss today, St. Mary's is now obliged to host a NorCal-Pacific Northwest play-off that weekend to determine if it can earn a #11 seeding in the national championships.