Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
The University of California Golden Bears moved to 9-0 on the season with a 95-5 victory over Chico State Saturday on Treasure Island, with 15 California tries from 13 different players.
Match-day captain Derek Asbun and junior Charles Smith were two-try scorers for the Bears, while Wildcats hooker Tony Joyce got Chico State (1-1) on the board with his try late in the second half.
Wildcats flyhalf Mike Keane was wide left on the conversion attempt and also veered to the port side on two 40-meter penalty kicks in the first half.
James Bailes (6-for-10) and Alex Aronson (4-for-5) hit two-thirds of their conversions for Cal on an uncharacteristically still afternoon in the middle of San Francisco Bay.
While Joyce’s try for Chico would be followed by the only kickoff of the day by Cal, the Bears had 15 opportunities to practice their receptions on kickoffs and sophomore lock Brendan Daly got up in the air to secure many of them.
“We worked hard on the restarts and it’s been important to us,” said Daly. “We’re continuing to build the team culture and pride, trying to mesh.”
Daly was among many who noted the bittersweet feeling of playing under sunny skies in front of a few hundred spectators.
“It was great to play in front of our fans, despite not having a home field. Nothing is the same as a sunny day in Strawberry Canyon,” he said.
The crowd ringing the sideline saw two freshmen start for the Bears, with Jake Anderson donning the No. 15 jersey, giving Anthony Lombardo a day off, and flanker Jason Fry getting his premiere in the First XV in place of Danny Barrett.
“It’s great to get the opportunity,” said Anderson of his start. “Tough to get the breakfast down this morning but I got more comfortable as the day went on.”
“Be persistent and take advantage of your opportunities,” said Zack Klaas, a senior who also got the call to start, at prop, giving Jeremy Deterding a rest. “You have to have the most out of every practice, every game.”
Chico State Mitch Jagoe agreed. “Playing Cal is just a great experience for us. We can take this and continue to focus on that standard, the way they do things, how fast they’re hitting the gaps. They earned a lot of their tries.”
In the reserve-grade match following the First XV, Cal defeated Chico State, 52-5.
Cal travels to The Farm next Saturday, Jan. 29, to face Stanford for the Scrum Axe at 1 p.m.
Cal 95 Chico State 5
Cal Scoring (95)
Chico State Scoring (5)