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Anchors aweigh: Cal travels to No. 1 Navy

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MARCH 10, 2023

In the pursuit of a national championship, there is little time to celebrate, even though a celebration might be due. After an impressive win over Army, 2022 national champion, Cal rugby hits the road to finish the season. This three-game road trip will first bring the Bears to Annapolis, Maryland to face the Midshipmen of Navy.


The military academies have always been impressive. Army proved a challenge for Cal, though the Bears managed to pull through in the second half to secure a 31-14 win.


But Navy is a different beast.


Though the Mids were not at the top of college rugby last season, they have been projected as the No. 1 team in the nation to open their season. In its first outing of the spring season, Navy also tallied its first win, disciplining Western Ontario 39-0.


The fifth-ranked Bears will have their hands full with the Midshipmen this weekend. And though Cal has been nothing short of dominant throughout the season, this game is a different beast. For once this season, the big bad Bears are going into a matchup that doesn’t favor them, at least on paper.


But where there is a challenge for the blue and gold, there is also tremendous opportunity. Fans and analysts alike agree that a win against the Mids this weekend could bump the Bears up to the No. 1 spot. This chance to vault to the top of ranking boards certainly won’t go unnoticed by Cal, which once again finds itself in the spotlight of a matchup with national implications.


“The team’s very much looking forward to the opportunity. I don’t think coaches need to do anything from a motivation or attitude standpoint,” said head coach Jack Clark. “It’s going to be a difficult game, a long way from home. I think those challenges are things to look forward to.”


This game is certainly going to be a challenge.


Navy seems to be a distinct step up from prior competition — a whole six spots ahead of now seventh-ranked Army. Where the Bears possess a distinct advantage over the Midshipmen is in-game experience. Navy’s spring season is only five games long, with only one game played so far.


While the Mids will kick off their second fixture of the season this Saturday, it will be the eighth full-time game for the Bears this spring. Much like when the Bears seemed more poised as the game wore on in their win against Army, the same could happen in Annapolis.


There is a lot to play for this weekend, but the blue and gold remain focused on getting better. As it has been the entire season, though, the Bears’ goal is beyond any one matchup.


“It’s a long list of things we need to do to reach our potential and that has nothing to do with who we are playing, whether that be first, second, third, fourth or the postseason,” Clark said. “We’re a long way away from being at our best and that’s really what we’re chasing.”

In the world of college rugby, all eyes will be on the Bears and Midshipmen at Prusmack Rugby Center in Annapolis. Cal and Navy kickoff Saturday at 9:30 a.m. PST.

Contact Ryan Sheehan at 


MARCH 10, 2023