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California Golden Bears in 2016 Collegiate Rugby Championships - pool play open thread

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The quest to four-peat begins with pool play today. The Golden Bears are in the same pool as Tennessee, Maryland, and Arkansas State.

Golden Bears are going for the double of winning both the Varsity Cup (rugby 15s) and CRC (rugby 7s) in the same year.
Golden Bears are going for the double of winning both the Varsity Cup (rugby 15s) and CRC (rugby 7s) in the same year.
Cal Varsity Rugby Facebook Page

UPDATE 3: Golden Bears remain perfect in CRC pool play but had to sweat out a 24-12 win over Arkansas State that was a bit closer than the final margin. Bears jumped out to a 17-0 lead before the half, but a late defensive lapse in stoppage time saw a Red Wolves try and an easy conversion. Bears had a 17-10 lead at the half. The second half saw a much more urgent Arkansas State side looking to pull closer. On a loose ball that bounced slightly in favor of Arkansas State, the Red Wolves capitalized to make it an one score game. Bears had to stop a goal line stand and only sealed this win when Patrick Barrientes scooped the loose ball and returned it for a clinching try (and conversion).

Bears will now await the conclusion of the other games to figure out the championship bracket on Sunday.

UPDATE 2: Resting some of the starters like Salaber and Milne for the match, the Golden Bears still rolled over Maryland Terrapins for a 31-0 [a 1st half conversion was not counted on the scoreboard initially but the score is now fixed] victory inside the Talen Energy Stadium. It took about 3 minutes for the Bears to score the first try, but Maryland barely threatened all match long. With the win, the Bears setup a match of two undefeated teams in our upcoming third game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at 1:49 PM PT on NBC.

UPDATE 1: Bears easily dispatched the Tennessee Volunteers 41-0 to open Group A play. Playing in the outside field (only match away from the friendly confines of Talen Energy Stadium), Bears dominated possession early and never really gave the Volunteers a chance. Head coach Jack Clark went with his regular lineup for the bulk of the game.

Bears took a 24-0 lead at the half.

And quickly put the match away in the 2nd half. Tennessee came close to break through at the end of the match, but it ended on a knock-on by the Vols.


In the 6 years of Collegiate Rugby Championships, the California Golden Bears have gone undefeated 18-0 in pool play. The Bears will put that record on the line when they begin pool play in the 2016 Collegiate Rugby Championships today. Expect head coach Jack Clark and associate head coach Tom Billups to give some playing time to the younger players.

There are 6 groups of 4 schools/teams each. Each team plays 3 games on Saturday leading to a total of 36 games on the day. By the end of all 36 games, the top 8, including the group winners and two "Wild Cards" will form an 8-team bracket to play for the championship on Sunday. Other finishers will be playing for other hardwares such as the Plate, the Bowl, etc.

For more information, check out my Cal Rugby 7s preview and recaps of past championship performances HERE.

California Golden Bears Saturday Schedule:

vs. Tennessee Volunteers - 7 AM PT

vs. Maryland Terrapins - 9:20 AM PT

vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves - 1:49 PM PT (will be shown live on NBC)

In CRC play, Bears defeated Maryland 40-5 in pool play in 2014. Bears defeated Tennessee 36-0 in 2010, the very first year of the CRC and the only year when it took place in Columbus, Ohio before moving to Philadelphia (more accurately Chester, PA). Arkansas State won its pool, going a perfect 3-0 at the CRC in 2015.

Today's TV Schedule:

Sat., June 4 Rugby Rising 1 p.m. NBCSN
Pool Play 2-4 p.m. NBCSN, Live Extra
Pool Play 4-6 p.m. NBC, Live Extra

Rugby 7's quick guide:

The format of rugby that will be on display in its return to the Olympics later this year (due to the ease to have a tournament in two weekends), rugby sevens is just like regular rugby (rugby unions) but played with just 7 players a side. The size of the field remains the same but with less than half of the people; this means that mistakes are amplified in this version of rugby. Instead of 20 minutes, each half of the sevens is only 7 minutes long (with the exception of the championship final which was 9 minutes per half in 2015) with 1 minute of half time.

Rugby 7's is fast, exciting, and matches can turn quickly. The scrum is also smaller in 7s with just 3 men per side instead of 8 men in rugby union. The scoring of 5 points per try and 2 point for the conversion is all the same as rugby unions.