The California Golden Bears (8-0, 1-0 PAC) checked off another opponent Saturday, dominating the Cal Poly Mustangs (1-6, 0-2 California Conference) 138-5 in yet another one-sided affair. The Golden Bears have posted triple-digit scorelines in half of all 15-a-side contests this season.
California has scored an impressive 88 points on average after eight matches, including three shortened events to kick off their season. An opponent had not scored a try against the Golden Bears since May 5, 2018, when California competed in the 15s National Collegiate Championship finals in Santa Clara, Calif.
“We were able to launch our attack pretty well,” California sophomore center Adam Roeske said after the match in a prepared statement. “But we also allowed a couple of opportunities that we shouldn’t be giving the other team a chance to capitalize on,” Roeske quickly added. Roeske, one of seven first-years and sophomores in California’s Starting XV, scored a brace with tries in the 34th and 65th minutes.
Gameday as California hosts Cal Poly! Gates noon, Starting XV 1 p.m. followed by reserve-grade match — #GoBears! pic.twitter.com/wHhD1fK95W— Cal Varsity Rugby (@CalVarsityRugby) February 16, 2019
A try by sophomore Mikey Daley in the 75th minute allowed the Mustangs to escape Witter Rugby Field without being shut out entirely. Daley’s score is the Golden Bears’ first try conceded this season.
In total 12 Golden Bears contributed 22 tries. Senior flyhalf Elliot Webb led his side in scoring with 33 points from a hat-trick and nine out of 13 post-try conversions. Sophomore wing Marcus Shankland added four tries for California, the team’s best in tries on the afternoon.
A welcome addition to California’s lineup Saturday was the appearances of senior fullback Troy Lockyear and senior flanker Ben Casey. Casey posted a try in the 48th minute against the Mustangs. The seniors last represented the Golden Bears in the January home-opener against the UC Davis Aggies. Both Lockyear and Casey each scored a try early that match before being substituted out in the first half.
As expected, regular starter Zachary Tavenner did not make an appearance against the Mustangs. California replaced Tavenner in the 2nd minute of last week’s matchup against the Arizona State Sun Devils. The fifth-year wing is expected to be sidelined for several weeks as a result of an apparent ankle injury, a source close to the team told California Golden Blogs. The injury update has not been previously reported.
California Golden Blogs also learned Sam Cusano is not on the injury list, despite his substitution in the second half last week. The junior wing fell on his back on the sideline and was taken out by California Head Coach Jack Clark as a precaution. The Golden Bears led the Sun Devils by more than 40 points then.
California faces the British Columbia Thunderbirds on Feb. 23 in the first leg of the annual men’s rugby World Cup home-and-away series. The competition will kick off from Witter Rugby Field at 1 p.m. PT.
The Golden Bears will travel to Vancouver, Canada, the following week for a 1 p.m. matchup on Sunday, March 3. California has lost the last five World Cups to the Thunderbirds.