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Cal Rugby National Championship Open Thread: vs. BYU

Time: 6 PM PT/9 PM ET
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Online stream: ESPN3
TV: ESPNU, but tape-delayed until 7 AM PT/10 AM ET tomorrow
Opposition Blog: Vanquish The Foe
Live scoring: Cal Rugby Scoring Twitter

Cal Rugby: 2010 National Championship - Highlights (via calathletics)

Here we go again. And for one day at least, the Bears are the underdogs in this scrum. Check out the notes after the jump.

Cal has defeated the Cougars in four of their past five national championship meetings and the Bears carry a 7-1 all-time record against BYU into Saturday's final. But despite historical success against BYU, Cal enters the 2011 national collegiate championship as the acknowledged underdog. The Bears have been ranked No. 2 behind the top-ranked Cougars for most of the season and BYU is bringing serious firepower into Saturday's clash.


"Everyone I've spoken with close to the BYU program acknowledges this as their best team ever," said Bears head coach Jack Clark. "I really don't see any holes in their team. They have a good mix of raw power, athleticism and rugby skill. You can't help but be very impressed."

Cal has had a very successful season and enters the final with talent of its own, stating with the all-senior front row of Jeremy Deterding, Neill Barrett and James Besser. Despite what it may lack in prototypical locks, the Bears' back five features interchangeable options among players rising to 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4, a group that includes Danny Barrett, Brendan Daly, Drew Hyjer, Jason Law, Ryan Hodson and Tom Rooke. Powerful Derek Asbun rounds out an impressive back row.

Connor Ring and freshman Paul Bosco have been handling scrumhalf duties and James Bailes has been outstanding at flyhalf with a midfield of Sean Gallinger and sophomore Seamus Kelly. The team looks to have settled on the deep-three combination of Blaine Scully at fullback with Dustin Muhn and James McTurk on the wings.