California – Collegiate Rugby Championship

California

  The Golden Bears, the oldest intercollegiate varsity sport team at the University of California, seek their fourth consecutive national title and 30th overall national championship in program history at the 2016 Collegiate Rugby Championship. The Bears began playing rugby in 1882 and had a total of 10 players on the gold-medal-winning USA teams at the last two Olympics to include rugby, 1920 and ‰’24. The 2016 Summer Olympics could feature the latest Cal rugby alumni on the USA Olympic team that will pursue a medal in Rio de Janeiro. Over its 134-year existence, Cal has developed many of the finest players the sport has to offer, including 131 All-Americans, 47 players who have made 689 combined appearances on the United States National 15s Team, and five players who have earned their ‰ÛÏBlues‰Û at Oxford University in addition to the program‰’s 10 Olympic gold medalists. The Bears‰’ success on the pitch is matched only by the success of Cal‰’s players as graduates in their professional and personal lives, providing the greatest source of pride for this non-scholarship program. Cal is staffed by head coach Jack Clark, at the helm since 1984, and associate head coach Tom Billups, who is completing his 17th year with the Blue and Gold. Clark and Billups are both former head coaches of the U.S. National Team and both are members of the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame. A participant in the CRC since its inception in 2010, when the Bears advanced to the championship final in Columbus, Ohio, Cal has compiled a 31-3 (.911) overall record at the event, with their 2013, ‰’14 and ‰’15 national titles preceded by a runner-up finish in 2010, a quarterfinal showing in 2011 and a bronze medal in 2012. With an all-time 7s record of 105-14 (.882), Cal enters the 2016 CRC following a perfect 7s campaign in the autumn of 2015, a 17-0 campaign that was capped by the Bears‰’ fourth straight PAC 7s crown in November. Cal‰’s entry into the 2016 CRC is preceded by a spring 15s schedule that ends with the national postseason at the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championship.

CALIFORNIA
Head Coach: Jack Clark
Associate Head Coach: Tom Billups

Players to Watch
Anthony Salaber is the biggest and most recognizable Golden Bear, standing 6’5”. That size, coupled with top-shelf athleticism, skills and IQ, has him as the toughest matchup in the tournament. He is deceptively evasive, has great ability to execute offloads and is good in the air. He’s a two-time All-American and will draw lots of attention. Russell Webb is the playmaker who can create for his teammates. He’s started on three CRC title teams and is the top active scorer for Cal 7s. Sam Cusano is a freshman wing whose already show a penchant for racking up tries.

The Scoop
Cal is the unchallenged favorite to win it all, having won four-straight titles in a row. However, this field of teams is the most competitive in the seven-year history of the CRC. That said, anything short of making it to the semifinals will be considered a failure for Cal. The Bears have the depth, size, speed and overall ability to beat anyone, and to expect to beat most. But 7s is a fickle game, as 14 minutes isn’t always enough time for the cream to rise to the top.

No matches