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Cal Moves On To Rugby Semifinals, Downing Life 43-10

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When is a home field your rival's turf? In College Premier Division rugby.

The California Golden Bears hosted Life University in a CPD quarterfinal championship match at St Mary's Pat Vincent Field Saturday, defeating the Running Eagles 43-10.

The Bears' pitch, Witter Rugby Field, hasn't been available during the Memorial Stadium retrofit and expansion, leaving the Bears to search for a "home" venue. St Mary's rented their pitch to Cal while the Gaels busied themselves in Arkansas in their own quarterfinal tussle (more on that later).

Senior hooker Neil Barrett primed the Bears' scoring machine with a try in the ninth minute.

 

Life's first frame score came from fullback Joe Cowley's penalty in the 22nd minute, offsetting a penalty kick scored by Cal's senior flyhalf James Bailes four minutes earlier.

 

Bailes would go on to rack up 13 points on the day with near-perfect booting of conversions (5-for-6) and penalties.

 

Cal's senior flanker, Tom Rooke, notched the first two tries of an eventual hat trick back-to-back to round out the first half. 

 

At the interval, Cal led 24-3.

 

In the second stanza, sophomore center Seamus Kelly got out of the chute early to dot one down within two minutes. Rooke then stepped up to add his third try 11 minutes later.

Life's lone try was touched down by Jonathan Marshall in the 64th minute on a scrambling cross-pitch phase following a long scamper up the right touchline. Sophomore center Jared Braun answered back to top off Cal's scoring in injury time, making the fulltime tally 43-10.

 

Saturday's win entitles Cal to square off with the winner of the Army-Utah quarterfinal match which will be played Sunday at West Point.

 

As for the landlord Gaels, they were taken down by Arkansas State 30-17. The Red Wolves move on to the semifinals to face BYU next week. BYU ended the Navy's season with a 64-12 trouncing in Utah.