Bears Desert-Bound for Devils and ’Cats
BERKELEY – No. 2 California travels to Arizona State and Arizona this weekend to continue its PAC Rugby Conference schedule, facing the No. 11 Sun Devils Friday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. MT, and the No. 17 Wildcats Sunday, March 2, at noon MT.
Cal (10-0, 2-0 PAC) sits in second place in the conference, one game behind No. 7 Utah (4-0, 3-0 PAC). The Golden Bears will travel a full squad on their road trip, with reserve-grade contests following the Starting XV matches on Friday and Sunday.
The Bears and Devils (2-3, 0-2 PAC) will meet Friday night on ASU’s Polytechnic Campus in Mesa under partly cloudy skies as temperatures are expected to fall from a daytime high of 77 back toward the 50s (venue map: http://goo.gl/utK2Y0). Coached by Gary Lane, Arizona State beat Cal Poly, 24-5, Feb. 15 but dropped its two conference tests so far this spring, losing at UCLA Feb. 1 and at Utah Feb. 8. The Sun Devils earned a bonus point for scoring four tries in their 46-23 losing effort against the Utes. Arizona State’s first loss came Jan. 19 at the hands of now-No. 1 Saint Mary’s, 56-19.
Arizona (1-2, 0-1 PAC) held it closer against Utah in their only PAC match to date, falling 17-7 on Jan. 24, and beat then-No. 16 Air Force, 25-19, at home on Feb. 14. The Wildcats, helmed by first-year head coach Sean Duffy following the passing of legendary coach David Sitton, have also taken on Saint Mary’s (a 76-10 loss) so far in their schedule. Sunday’s noontime match against the ’Cats at the Rincon Vista Sports Complex (venue map: http://goo.gl/maps/EMkij) is forecasted for a high of 66 degrees with 20-mph winds and a 50 percent chance of rain.
The other PAC match over the weekend takes place Saturday, March 1, in Los Angeles, where No. 8 UCLA hosts Oregon State.
The Bears finish their regular season with six of their last eight regular-season matches on the road. After returning home at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5, vs. Santa Rosa JC in a match scheduled for the frosh-sophs, Cal gets back on the road to face No. 12 Cal Poly Sunday, March 9, at 2 p.m. in San Luis Obispo, followed by what could be the PAC conference decider at Utah on Saturday, March 15.
Following those matches, the Rugby Bears will be back in Strawberry Canyon for Monday Night Rugby on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, against perennial Ivy champion Dartmouth College at 6:30 p.m. Their last regular-season home match is followed by the “World Cup” decider at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 23, against the British Columbia Thunderbirds in Vancouver, Canada, and the final match of the regular season Saturday, April 5, in Moraga against the top-ranked Gaels at 1 p.m.