Cal Cup Round 2: Results, Team Notes, Quotes

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SAN DIEGO, CA – If there was to be an unofficial “rivalry week” in the California Cup, the second weekend of the Cal Cup competition would be it. San Francisco Golden Gate squared off against Bay Area rivals Olympic Club, Life West and the Old Aztecs added another brilliant chapter to their budding rivalry, and OMBAC traveled to Long Beach to face long-time Southern California rivals Belmont Shore.

SFGG 28 – 7 Olympic Club: The first kickoff of the day was between SFGG and Olympic Club at Treasure Island in San Francisco. These two clubs were on different ends of the spectrum last week, as SFGG came out of week one with a 42-19 win over the Old Aztecs, while O Club lost a tough one to OMBAC 58-10. Despite those results, Golden Gate was not overlooking their opponent, as this rivalry always provides hard-fought matches. The pitch at Treasure Island was wet and muddy, which had the potential to slow down the fast-paced play of SFGG’s back line. Coach Neil Foote credits standout performances in the conditions by forwards Neil Barrett, Brendan Daily, and Danny Laprovette who laid the platform for the exciting backs of San Francisco to score tries. He was, however, a little disappointed in another yellow card for a dangerous tackle for the second consecutive weekend, so he will look for the team to improve their discipline going into a tough match on the road next weekend. According to Coach Foote, “We are exactly where we need to be at this stage of the season, and we are extremely excited about the challenge awaiting us against OMBAC next weekend.”

Life West 27 – 25 Old Aztecs: The second match of the day saw the Life West Gladiators travel to sunny San Diego to take on the Old Aztecs at Robb Field in Ocean Beach. Life West were coming off a big 27-20 week one victory over Belmont Shore and the Old Aztecs, now fully aware of the level of play needed to be competitive, were looking to be much improved from their week one loss. In the early going it was Tim Howard for the Old Aztecs and Guillaume Casenave for Life West trading penalty kicks until the Gladiators Calvin Nell dotted one down for a 10-6 halftime lead. Early in the second half, Life West pulled out to a 17-6 lead, but only a few minutes later the Old Aztecs scored one of their own to trim the lead to 17-13. Life West struck back quickly, but a missed conversion by Casenave left the lead at 22-13 midway through the 2nd half. After a yellow card for a high tackle left the Old Aztecs with a man advantage, scrum-half Robert Stortz scored a highlight reel chip and chase try to bring the score to 22-20 with ten minutes left to play. The Old Aztecs continued to build momentum and took a 25-22 lead with five minutes to play on a 40 meter line break by fullback Boomer Roller (Johnathan Wicklow Barberie’s new favorite rugby name) It seemed the Old Aztecs were poised for the dramatic victory when Life West’s Junior Helu broke a tackle down the right wing and scored the game winning try with less than a minute left. Old Aztecs coach Jaco Breytenbach gives credit to the Gladiators, sayingThe result of this match just goes to show that you have to play for the full 80 minutes, which we did not do today.” Life West coach Adriaan Ferris said he was fully prepared to congratulate Breytenbach on a great victory, and that he’s proud of his team for playing down to the very end. The Old Aztecs will try to notch their first win next week at Robb Field against Belmont Shore, while Life West will aim to improve to 3-0 against Olympic Club before the two-week holiday break.

Belmont Shore 31 – 16 OMBAC: The third and final matchup of the weekend saw one of the oldest rivalries in American club rugby take place with OMBAC traveling to Long Beach to take on Belmont Shore. Peter Sio of Belmont Shore compares this rivalry to the Michigan/Ohio State conflict, saying: “No matter how good of a season we are having, this is the only game that matters.” Belmont Shore certainly came into the match with a chip on their shoulder, coming up short against Life West in week one despite a furious second-half comeback. OMBAC looked to be the strongest of all teams after their high-powered offense put up 58 points against Olympic Club last weekend. Belmont came into this match with a defensive mindset, and only trailed OMBAC 5-3 at the half. Of their preparation for the match, Sio said…coming into this game we knew were going against a great squad, and we focused heavily on defense in training during the week and it paid off big time.” Belmont was able to pressure OMBAC into mistakes, which resulted in 28 second-half points. “We didn’t do anything fancy offensively, all of our tries were created with turnoversSio said. Belmont tries came from winger Greg Daniels double, 8 man Pita Semeane, and first-year Belmont player Rob Newcomb. OMBAC will have to turn in a massive effort at home next weekend against Golden Gate to avoid falling to 1-2, and Belmont Shore will travel to play the Old Aztecs.

Two weekends into the competition and the Cal Cup is certainly providing the fans with exciting rugby. Be sure to keep following Rugby Wrap Up for weekly recaps.

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Matt Ryan is a rugby lifer from the shores of sunny San Diego. Need we say more? Call him lucky.

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