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Back to Pac: Bears seek fourth straight PAC Sevens Championship

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JONATHAN HALE | SENIOR STAFF

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NOVEMBER 11, 2022

Bears can win Triple Crowns too. This weekend, the blue and gold once again have a chance to capture what most racehorses will never do: win a third and final title in one season. The end of this fall’s Rugby Sevens season will take place across the bay in Palo Alto, where Stanford is playing host to the annual PAC Rugby Sevens Championship tournament.

Cal will be vying to continue its dominance from the Cal Poly and Treasure Island tournaments in October, where the Bears fielded two teams and finished with an impressive 15-1, capturing first-place hardware in both outings.

In addition to this season’s accolades, this weekend will prove a chance to notch yet another victory in the overall history of this tournament. The Bears can cap off its nigh-perfect fall session along with its ninth PAC Championship in ten years.

For Cal head coach Jack Clark’s Bears, there is plenty of reason to think this weekend will be no different than the previous tournaments throughout the past decade. Just a couple of weeks ago, at Treasure Island in between East Bay and San Francisco, Cal was able to quickly pull away from all of its opponents.

Clark and Cal Rugby faithful may have been pleasantly surprised by the semifinal matchup between Cal I and Cal, the two teams that made up the blue and gold’s contingency that weekend. This friendly between two squads all too familiar with each other was representative of just how far above their competition the Bears were, just a few weeks into the fall sevens season.

But despite these differences on display at the end of October, the fact remains that a newly recombined Cal team will have its hands full at Stanford. Just last fall season at the PAC Rugby Sevens tournament, eventual champion Cal was in an airtight position against its downstate neighbors from UCLA. Though the Bears were able to hold on for a 10-0 victory against the Bruins, it remains to be seen if Cal can so easily repeat that performance.

Without a doubt, the opposing teams the Bears will face Saturday at Stanford in pool play have struggled against competition like Cal. In fact, pool opponent Utah has already seen the Bears’ teeth, falling to the blue and gold 50-0 at Treasure Island just a few weeks ago. So, for the Utes along with host Stanford and Oregon, Saturday’s matchup will likely be an uphill battle.

But as the hours on Saturday wind down and give way to the knockout rounds of Sunday, the Bears may have finally returned to an appropriate weight class. The rest of the tournament field that includes UCLA, Arizona, USC and Oregon State may prove a challenge. The aforementioned Bruins played Cal close (29-14) at Treasure Island. Arizona was also able to keep pace with the Bears early on in the Treasure Island Final, but ultimately failed to keep pace and fell to the Bears 33-14. Needless to say, as the sun rises on Sunday, chaos may well be primed to unravel the number one seed’s bid for another championship.

Of course, for the Bears, the keys to victory are much the same as in previous outings this fall. But now that the program has given dozens of its players across both teams vast experience in both previous tournaments, the Bears will need to bring the best of both squads together this weekend — the triple crown depends on it.

Catch Cal at Stanford this weekend or on Pac-12 Networks across the West Coast.

Contact Ryan Sheehan at 

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NOVEMBER 11, 2022