Cal wins 26th national title over BYU

Bailes scores 11 of Bears' 21 points

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The Cal rugby team outlasted BYU to claim its 26th national championship on Saturday with a 21-14 victory.

Both teams managed two tries in front of almost 11,000 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The difference came from the golden foot of senior scrumhalf James Bailes, who notched 11 of the Bears' 21 points.

Captain Derek Asbun scored the game's first points with a converted try in the 23rd minute. Bailes tacked on a penalty kick nine minutes later to give the Bears a 10-0 advantage.

The Cougars responded with a converted try of their own, sending the teams into the locker room with Cal up 13-7 after another penalty kick by Bailes.

While BYU came out strong in the first half, Cal dominated the beginning of the second half. The Bears capitalized on Cougar penalties, with Bailes nailing his third penalty kick in the 51st minute.

Sophomore outside center Seamus Kelly gave the Bears some breathing room as he exploited a seam and found his way into the try zone in the 61st minute. The Cougars wouldn't go away, though, responding with a try by flanker Hynie Leaaeotoa to pull within one converted try.

BYU continued to challenge Cal in the last five minutes of the match, but the Bears were able to fight off a final push to seize the win.

Full recap to follow.

Christina Jones covers rugby. Contact her at [email protected]

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