One of the biggest stories in American rugby this weekend was not who won (although those were stories too), but who lost.
Specifically, when Cal lost to Utah in the quarterfinals of the USA 7s Collegiate Rugby Championship, everyone started talking. How would Cal take it? (Hard, who wouldn’t?). Did you see how it happened? (You can still, on Hulu.com). Utah, despite having won this college 7s tournament in 2010, were underdogs in the match, but unleashed some outstanding attacking play and defended well also to win 21-5.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Cal, which occasionally loses championships games (rarely, but it happens), but almost never misses the championship match entirely.
RUGBYMag.com caught up with Cal Head Coach Jack Clark after the game, to see how he felt. He wasn’t thrilled, to be sure, but also wasn’t gnawing chunks out of his visor.
“We came into this day thinking there are three or four good rugby teams and we are among them,” said Clark. “[But] We got beat by the better team [that showed] some pretty good patience and got some matchups against us.”
And then we asked the question many people asked us throughout the day:
“Will it be tough to watch rest of tournament?”
“Of course,” said Clark. “We’re highly competitive guys and we wanted to win. But one of the things is, if you’re really a true competitor, you also appreciate losing sometimes. You appreciate that the other team deserved to win.
“We didn’t play awfully well, but we couldn’t put any more into this season than we put into it. It’s not like we’re sitting around with a bunch of regrets. It just didn’t go our way today.”
And certainly the national 15s victory in front of over 10,000 at Rio Tinto Stadium two weeks before hasn’t gone away, and neither has Cal’s participation in a CRC tournament that took an enormous leap forward this weekend.
“I am still looking forward to the rest of today,” he said Sunday morning. “I thought this was a fantastic setting and I am looking forward to seeing what the crowds are. I am kind of a lifer for this game and it’s so great to roll out of Rio Tinto, where we got such a strong crowd, and come into here where we get such a strong crowd. I am just so happy to see college rugby have this type of platform.”