Cal rugby shuts out SDSU, preparing for midweek trip to Cal Maritime

Man holding ball gets tackled by other man.
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With Super Bowl 53 going to New England for the franchise’s sixth championship, the argument for dynasties and super teams being boring has started again. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr himself joked about how it is boring to see the same team win year in and year out, implying his team’s dominance.

In the case of Cal rugby (5-0), the Bears put up extraordinary numbers against weak opposition, but lack of competition turns the games into offensive practices, which becomes somewhat predictable in an 80-minute match.

After a 136-0 shutout against UC Davis in the home-opener the week before, Cal shut out San Diego State (0-3) on Parents Weekend last Saturday. The Bears’ 20 tries put up another unbelievable number on the scoreboard at 120-0. It was again a good thing that the scoreboard at Witter Rugby Field can show only two digits, limiting it to display 20-0 at the end of the game.

“We looked dangerous with the ball on attack — we can score just about every time we get a possession,” said head coach Jack Clark. “It’s hard to really evaluate where we are with that level of competition, but I think there are some good signs, and there is some things we need to work on.”

Twenty tries came from 13 different Bears on Saturday, while junior wing Sam Cusano led the pack with four tries just in the first half, as he subbed out for sophomore wing Marcus Shankland, who scored two tries of his own. Fifth-year wing Zachary Tavenner, junior flanker Thomas Spradling and sophomore center Adam Roeske were the other Bears who scored a couple of tries.

Cal faithful saw two freshmen really step up with near perfect performances in scrumhalf Henry Poon and flyhalf Sam Walsh, feeding the offense with their accurate passing. Poon scored a try in the game, while Walsh had two conversions. Walsh also shared the duties of kicking the conversion points with senior flyhalf/fullback Elliot Webb, combining for 10 of 20 in the day.

The Bears’ reserve squad also defeated the Aztecs’ reserve side in a game that does not count for Cal’s official record.

The Bears will now travel to Vallejo to face Cal Maritime for their first midweek matchup Wednesday night.

Cal took Monday off to rest and will be using the limited time to get ready to play against the Keelhaulers, prepping an underclassmen squad to head out on the field at 7 p.m. The Bears hosted Cal Maritime in Strawberry Canyon last year on Feb. 10 — the last time the teams faced each other. Cal came out on top with a 65-10 victory.

After facing Cal Maritime, the Bears will host Arizona State for their first conference matchup Saturday.

Can Sariöz is an assistant sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @can_sarioz.