With Speed and Intensity, Cal Flattens Perennial Rival UBC

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The Cal rugby team was supposed to get a serious challenge to its 23-game winning streak from the University of British Columbia Saturday.

Instead, the Bears (8-0) got a fight, as a 47-13 Cal win turned chippy with scuffles, altercations and unusually dirty play.

"They couldn't hang with us physically," Bears fullback Dave Guest said. "So they decided to turn it into a brawl. It made the game very intense. There were a lot of (clean) hits that got everyone fired up."

Despite getting a surprisingly lopsided result against a Thunderbirds squad that handed Cal its last loss, 27-25, at home last year, the team was not happy with its level of play.

"I don't think we played well today," head coach Jack Clark said. "I'm grateful to get a win against BC, but we left our best rugby out on the touchline today. Our mission is to improve with every game, and I'm not sure we did that today."

Improved or not, the Bears were too much for British Columbia all day, opening the scoring with a Matt Sherman try in the fourth minute and never looking back.

A 20-6 halftime lead mushroomed into a blowout on the strength of two second-half tries from No. 8 Kort Schubert and the kicking of Guest, who converted two-point kicks after each of Cal's five tries and was perfect on four penalty kicks.

"I had an unreal day kicking today," Guest said. "It was like practice."

The kicking was the only phase of the game that resembled practice, since everything involving contact was played at breakneck speed and smashmouth intensity, understandable considering that this is the rugby team's biggest rivalry.

"Beating UBC is very important to us, they're our oldest traditional opponent," Clark said. "Especially with Stanford doing whatever they're up to over there, this is the only thing left."

The Cardinal were a running joke even before refusing to play last year's match citing fear of injury, thus ending the schools' longest-running rivalry in any sport, but now, with the series suspended, the Bears are officially left with just one consistent rival.

"They're our stiffest competition, so it's natural that we measure ourselves against them," junior prop Mike McDonald said. "We could have played better and handled the (dirty play) better, but we're very happy with the result."

Adding to the intensity of the game was the looming rematch in Vancouver on March 30.

Ironically, the Bears have a better record on the road in the series, since the game at Witter Field is always played early in Cal's season, when the Canadians have an advantage due to their heavy fall schedule. Despite this, Clark refused to label the current Thunderbirds weak.

"I'm certainly not going to say anything that would get them fired up," Clark said. "They'll be very tough at home."


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