Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
The California Golden Bears pulled off a shutout to wind up their third match in 24 hours at the Las Vegas Invitational outside of Sam Boyd Stadium, meeting the physicality of a fit Air Force side on Saturday to win, 90-0.
The win completed a weekend where Cal also defeated Utah State and Wyoming by 90 or more points.
“We came back with a really physical game today. The forwards came together and the backs played well,” said lock Drew Hyjer, who notched two tries. “Good stuff for our team this weekend.”
Alex Aronson got the nod at flyhalf, giving James Bailes a rest, and distributed the ball well. Thirteen tries were scored by the Bears, and the junior from Concord, Calif., connected on 11 of the subsequent conversions and also added a 25-meter penalty kick to finish with 25 points scored.
Cal (14-0) is now a combined 33-1 against military service academies under head coach Jack Clark.
Zoomies head coach Joe Muehlbauer said, “playing against Cal is always a big deal, especially when you’re from the Air Force Academy.”
His staff on the sideline included members of the 2003 Air Force team that defeated Cal, 46-28, in the national semifinals on its way to the national championship. In the seven seasons since then, the Bears have lost only two other matches against domestic competition (Cal Poly 2004, BYU 2009).
“They seem the same men, very disciplined, maybe more disciplined than our guys,” coach Muehlbauer said of the Rugby Bears. “Very fit. Tough for us but we’ll take it.”
“We played at a pretty high energy level even though a lot of the guys saw minutes yesterday,” added Muhn. “For us, going into UBC next week, we want to be able to play a full 80 minutes of rugby and that’s the main concern right now.”
Cal and the University of British Columbia take the “World Cup” rugby series into its 90th year when the Thunderbirds travel to San Francisco to take on the Bears at Sheeran Field on Treasure Island at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19.
The match takes place at 725 California Avenue on Treasure Island, home of the San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club. SFGG will take on the Olympic Club at 1 p.m. with additional curtain-raiser preceding the match, with the entire event a fundraiser to benefit high-school and youth rugby.
Advance tickets, available for $10 plus service fee, are strongly recommended.
Click here for more information about Cal rugby on Treasure Island.
The Scoring Timeline for Cal vs. Air Force:
05:00 Seamus Kelly 5, Alex Aronson 2
08:00 Ryan Hodson 5, Alex Aronson 2
11:00 Alex Aronson 3
16:00 Drew Hyjer 5, Alex Aronson 2
26:00 Danny Barrett 5, Alex Aronson 2
35:00 Dustin Muhn 5, Alex Aronson 2
39:00 Drew Hyjer 5, Alex Aronson 2
Halftime: California 45, Air Force 0
47:00 Seamus Kelly 5, Alex Aronson 2
52:00 Danny Barrett 5, Alex Aronson 2
60:00 Anthony Lombardo 5
62:00 Anthony Lombardo 5, Alex Aronson 2
71:00 Jared Braun 5, Alex Aronson 2
74:00 Jake Wrobel 5, Alex Aronson 2
78:00 Jake Anderson 5
Final Score: California 90, Air Force 0
The Team vs. Air Force:
15. Lombardo (Anderson), 14. Muhn, 13. Kelly, 12. Braun, 11. McTurk, 10. Aronson, 9. Bosco, 1. Deterding, 2. N. Barrett (Wrobel), 3. Besser, 4. D. Hyjer, 5. Daly, 6. R. Hodson, 7. Rooke ©, 8. D. Barrett