Cal Tops BYU in Rugby Season Opener

Bears win in first home game in more than a year
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In its first game at Cal’s Witter Rugby Field in more than a year, the Golden Bears defeated BYU 37-28 on Saturday in Cal’s season opener.

Five Cal players scored in the game that was played without spectators. This was the first of three spring games the Bears have scheduled. Next Saturday, Cal will play at Saint Mary’s, and on Saturday, May 1, the Bears will play a home game against Arizona.

Cal faced the perennially strong BYU squad for the first time since meeting the Cougars in the 2016 Varsity Cup national championship.

"I'm just pleased we get to play," head coach Jack Clark said, according to the Cal athletics web site. "There was no certainty this would occur this spring and here we are, with the privilege of playing the game we love. We have so much gratitude towards our University for helping us get to this point. Not only do we get to play, we get to play BYU, who, per usual, is impressive. As undercooked as our boys are, they are excited for this opportunity."

It was the first game at Witter Rugby Field since Cal defeated Army 62-22 on March 7, 2020.

"I really didn't know what to expect today having not played in a year, but I didn't expect us to look like we hadn't played in three years," Clark said. "BYU deserves credit for what they put into that match."

BYU held a 28-27 lead after the break, but four minutes later, sophomore scrumhalf Max Clark, who was just inserted off the reserve bench, scored his first try of the season in the 62nd-minute. Then senior wing Marcus Shankland collected his third try of the game in the 78th-minute to close out the Bears' victory.

Scoring Timeline:

Cal 37, BYU 28

6:00 Jason Severance 5
10:00 Nick Bloom 5
14:00 BYU 5, BYU 2
21:00 Marcus Shankland 5, Sam Walsh 2
30:00 BYU 5, BYU 2
34:00 Shankland 5
38:00 Ken Kurihara 5
Halftime Score: Cal 27, BYU 14
48:00 BYU 5, BYU 2
58:00 BYU 5, BYU 2
62:00 Max Clark 5
78:00 Shankland 5

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Cover photo by Robert Edwards/KLC Fotos

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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