Cal rugby can’t tame Lindenwood Lions in College 7s National Championships

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Phillip Downey/File

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Lions are typically known as the kings of the jungle, but this weekend they also showed that they are the kings of the rugby field. Cal rugby met a Lindenwood Lions team for the second time in the span of a month, this time dropping a national 7s title.

After a successful weekend of play, Cal lost the USA Rugby College 7s National Championships final to Lindenwood, the second time the Bears dropped a national championship in three weeks — the first coming in the 15s postseason.

The competition in Colorado started with a pyrrhic victory for the Bears, as Cal defeated Indiana, 31-14, but lost fifth-year No. 8 Thomas Robles to injury. Robles ended his blue and gold years with a try in the second minute of the game before closing the weekend early because of the injury.

The Bears swept pool play with wins over Fordham and Notre Dame College, 50-5 and 34-12, respectively, to advance to the championship round on Saturday.

Cal faced Arkansas in the quarterfinal and the Bears easily handled the Razorbacks 38-7.

The Bears went on to the semifinals to face Kutztown. Kutztown, which beat Arizona in its quarterfinal, 29-7, prevented a possible rematch of the PAC 7s championship game from the fall, in which the Wildcats bested the Bears. Cal’s offensive performance ultimately helped it run passed Kutztown 31-15 to reach the final on Saturday night.

The final matchup did not pan out as the Bears may have hoped because they could not muster up the start they needed to. The first half ended with a 14-0 lead in favor of the Lions. The Bears halved the lead a few minutes later, with senior wing Zachary Tavenner’s try converted by junior fullback Troy Lockyear.

Lindenwood did not allow a comeback though, and alternated scoring with the Bears. The final score ended up at 26-12 in favor of the Lions.

Cal fell short once again despite a strong performance, but now it’s time for the Bears to take some time off to rest and regroup in the fall — possibly to defeat the Lions next season.

Can Sariöz covers rugby. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @can_sarioz

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