If it weren’t for senior flyhalf James Bailes’ penalty kicks, the California Golden Bears and the BYU Cougars might still be locked in combat for the College Premier Division rugby championship this evening.
Bailes booted 3-for-4 on penalties and 1-for-2 on conversions, making him the match’s top scorer with 11 points. For his efforts, Bailes was named Man of the Match.
The game’s start wasn’t particularly auspicious for the defending national champion Bears. A
The Cougars came out playing the aggressors in the game’s first quarter, keeping the Bears on the back foot and well away from their tryline. A break came
Seven minutes later,
The score was a
There’s no room for slack when playing against BYU as the Cougars took just three minutes to answer with a converted try driven in by flanker Apenisa Malani. The touchdown culminated a mauling, roiling assault on the
The Bears’ took offensive control in the second frame, but it was once again a penalty kick that put
Ten minutes of open play ensued, finally resulting in a Seamus Kelly try for
BYU fought back with another try in the 69th minute, arousing the 11,000 partisan fans in the crowd. A conversion by flyhalf Shaun Davies made it a one-score match at 21-14.
There, however, is where the scoreline stayed as the Bears ground down the Cougar attacking game ‘til the fulltime whistle.
With the victory, the Bears wrap up the season undefeated in 27 official matches and extends the team’s win streak to 53 games. Over the 2011 season,
The 2011 championship is the 22nd of the Jack Clark era and brings the head coach’s overall record to 523-86-5 for a win ratio of 87.8%.