Cal Begins Four-Game Road Swing Next Week
BERKELEY – California rugby dropped a home contest to Brigham Young on Saturday afternoon at Witter Rugby Field. The Golden Bears scored four tries by four different players, but fell to the Cougars 53-26 in the end.
Cal struck first in the contest with co-captain Will Shankland carrying in a ball beneath the posts in the third minute to kick things off. Kealan O’Connell converted to make it 7-0 in favor of the Bears.
Cal was playing a man down due to a yellow card infraction, and BYU capitalized and put an unconverted try on the board at minute nine. The two teams traded possession for the next eight minutes until the Cougars intercepted a pass by Caleb Tomasin at Cal’s 22 meter line and ran it in for a score, which they converted, to take the lead.
The Bears answered quickly, though, putting the ball in Tomasin’s hands, who outran BYU’s defenders right into the tryzone where he touched down for a score. O’Connell added the extras to give Cal a 14-12 edge.
Cal earned some good possessions inside BYU’s 22 on many occasions, but quite often turned over the ball without collecting points. BYU took control of the scoreline for the remainder of the half, putting up two back-to-back converted tries to take the advantage. The Bears were shown another yellow card and BYU opted to take points off their fullback’s boot with a penalty kick to take a 29-14 lead into the intermission.
The Cougars scored a pair of tries – one converted, one unconverted – to open up the second half while the Bears served the time from the yellow card and played a man down. Cal worked back into BYU’s territory and sent the forward pack to grind out a few attacking phases. Prop Emilio Shea muscled past four Cougar defenders and dotted down in the tryzone to collect Cal’s first try of the second period.
BYU scored once more before co-captain Alex Aguero pushed his way in past the goal-line for another Bear try. O’Connell added the extras off his boot. The Cougars touched down in the tryzone once more as the 80 minutes expired to hand the Bears their first loss of the season at the final whistle.
“BYU was really good today, certainly better than us,” Cal head coach Jack Clark said. “Specifically, their attack asked questions of us. We had plenty of our own offensive chances inside the BYU 22, but must have turned over half a dozen good opportunities. Credit BYU for some of that, but our own inaccuracy was a factor as well. We also struggled with the referee team which was somewhat expected, however we need to learn to compete without giving the officials marginal or even irrelevant reasons for penalties and cards. We just need to get better, we have more in us than we demonstrated today.”
Cal now embarks upon a four-game road swing, first traveling to Arizona to take on the Wildcats in Tucson on Feb. 17. The Bears…
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