Bears Topple Red Wolves; Advance to National Championship

Cal takes on BYU tonight at 7 p.m. at Stanford's Steuber Rugby Stadium

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Colin Hawley broke two tackles, stiff-armed another Arkansas State defender, and 60 yards later, touched down for his third try of the game, and trotted off the field for a substitution.

The game was out of reach, but the flashy Sacramento back gave the Cal rugby faithful another reason to cheer.

And now he has to do it again tonight.

With most of its normal starting lineup, the Cal rugby team ran past a scrappy Arkansas State 83-37 in a high-flying national semifinal. On the other side of the bracket, BYU defeated Army 63-28 to set up the fifth consecutive national championship between the two squads.

Despite surrendering an early Arkansas State penalty kick, the Cal rugby team played a fine half, piling on tries in the early and often to take a commanding 45-18 lead at half.

Hawley led the Bears with three tries while Anthony Lombardo and Tom Rooke added two apiece.

His long try made the game 69-25, but Hawley's shiftiness and strength even impressed Clark.

"That was pretty athletic wasn't it?" Clark said. "And with his determination, I don't know if two teams could have gotten him."

The Bears' victory ends a standout season for the Red Wolves, and coach Matt Huckaby is proud of the strides his team made.

"You can be a very, very good program, but until you play Cal, you haven't really earned your stripes," Huckaby said. "We're pleased with the experience and we got the proverbial monkey off of our back. Against Cal, you've got to suck it up and put on your big boy pants."

For Cal, the focus shifts to tonight. And while Jack Clark says he's "genetically unable" to feel confident, even he admits this may be the best BYU team he's ever seen.

"BYU was unstoppable today," Clark said. "That's the best rugby that I have ever seen that team play It'll take everything we have to make a game of the championship match."


Contact Gabriel Baumgaertner at [email protected]

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