California ended their 3-0 day with a 29-5 victory over Army during the USA 7s Collegiate Rugby Championship. The Golden Bears finished on an excellent note, spread the field with long, crisp passes, then sending hard-striking runners off the ballcarrier to run in five tries.
The quintessential example of their attack occurred during the first score of the game. The first three minutes were spent gradually making ground out wide, as Army’s defense absorbed the attack and gave up 10 meters on either sideline. Once inside the 22 meter, Seamus Kelly put his head down and dragged a couple of defenders toward the tryline while looking for support. Conor Ring hit the under line and short pass for the try. Alex Aronson slotted the extras for the 7-0 lead.
Three minutes later, Bradley Harrington dotted down, but not after getting a nifty pass from Ahmed Chehade, who managed to squeeze a pass out between two Army defenders bear-hugging him. Chehade took care of the next points, scoring off the subsequent kickoff after corralling in the 10-meter kick and running the 40 meters uncontested, 17-0 into the break.
Army got their lone points of the match three minutes into the second half. It wasn’t as pretty as Cal – some frantic passes out of contact, too much contact – but two penalties against Cal for not releasing allowed the Black Knights to keep knocking on the door. Cal stifled several rushes toward the line, but Matt Higgins had too much momentum from two meters out to be denied the try, 17-7.
Paul Bosco added a Cal try two minutes later, when he somehow emerged on the right side of a ruck and scampered 50 meters for a try. Andrew Battaglia ended the game when Army misplayed a kickoff receipt, sending an errant, long pass in front of their try zone, allowing Cal to tip and recover the ball. The on-point defense was in the right position to capitalize on the mental mistake, 29-5 the final.
Cal advances to the quarterfinals as the top seed and will see Pool C #2 Texas tomorrow. Navy also advances to the championship quarterfinals as Pool D’s #2 team, and takes on Pool C #1 Arizona. Stay tuned for player feedback.
Pool D Standings