|The Player of the Week Award is brought to you by Rhino Rugby, makers of high-quality, made-in-America rugby balls, rucking pads, tackle bags, and scrum machines.
Cal went 4-0 in the Dennis Storer Classic at UCLA over the weekend, but the guy we’re recognizing as the Rhino Rugby Player of the Week played in just one of those matches – Seamus Kelly.
He was rested on day one of the tournament, but made a big impact in the weekend’s marquee game, No. 3 Cal’s 29-7 win over No. 13 UCLA.
Kelly is a three-time All American in his fourth year at Cal. He was guarded in answering whether or not he’ll be back at Cal for a fifth season in 2013/2014 and admitted that this season could be his last in Golden Bear uniform. If it is, it was started impressively, as he scored two tries and set up a third in the 20-minute first half.
The first try came shortly after a set piece, where Kelly bowled over one would-be tackler and stiff-armed another. The second was a deft pick-and-go finishing off a long line break from teammate Jake Anderson.
“We want to play a quick type of rugby, and once we break the line there’s no need to slow it down there,” said Kelly. “If it’s on, it’s on, and within our systems we have the opportunity to play that style of game. I noticed the corner, there and I’m never going to pass up the opportunity for a try.”
Unlike last year, Cal’s 15s team has a couple of championships to play for this spring. The Bears have their sights set on winning the first PAC and Varsity Cup championships ever. The PAC is a rugby league formed along the same lines of the NCAA’s Pac-12 Conference, and the Varsity Cup is a vanguard postseason competition. If the Bears are going to bring those trophies home, Kelly will likely have to play an integral role in the effort.
“We’re really looking to forward to the Varsity Cup. I think it will be a great event. We have a long ways to go, I think, until we’ll be able to effectively compete in that, but yeah it’s definitely something I’m really looking forward to,” said Kelly.
“I think [the PAC Conference] is great for recognition, for not only us on our campus, but for all the PAC campuses for rugby. I think it gives the sport legitimacy out here, and it builds those rivalries, and we start getting credit from the [PAC-12] Conference – we were on the website for 7s, and we build on that. I think it’s a really good relationship to have.”