The Bay Area held it down over the weekend as two of the bigger national rugby games were played. In the Super League final, San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club held on for a 20-15 victory over Life University in Marietta, Georgia. SFGG led 17-9 at half and held on for the victory despite only scoring 3 points in the second half. Center Mike Pilu was named MVP of the match for his hard running and tackling. SFGG Head Coach Paul Keele agreed with the decision, but pointed to his front row leader, hooker Chris Biller as man of the match…
“His experience with Cal in playing in big games really helped us…He kept everyone calm and focused. I think it’s easy to overlook what a great game he had.”
The Super League title is SFGG’s second in the three years. In 2009, SFGG defeated Life 23-13.
The newly-created College Premier Division (CPD) held its first national championship game on Saturday, in which the Cal Bears defeated the BYU Cougars 21-14 to lift their 26th national rugby title. Cal pulled out the close victory in front of 11,000 fans in Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The majority of the crowd was in favor of the Cougars, but the Bears had the last laugh as they hoisted the championship trophy. It was the sixth year in a row where the two teams met for the title. In 2009, BYU pulled out the victory, but Cal has won 5 of the last 6 titles and 19 out of the last 21 matches.
The match started out slowly with a lot of nerves being shown through penalties all over the field. A lot of the early possession fell in over to BYU, but the Bears withstood the pressure and after 24 minutes, flanker Derek Asbun dove in for the first score of the game. The try followed a long, grueling attack from the Bears as they pushed the ball forward using their forward pack. Flyhalf James Bailes hit the conversion and followed with a penalty kick for a 10-0 lead. BYU would respond with a try before another Bailes penalty and the two teams went into half with the score 13-7 in favor of Cal.
Cal started the second half off well and added another penalty from Bailes and led 16-7 for the first 20 minutes of the second half. They then withstood some BYU pressure before adding another try. It all started from a darting run from scrumhalf Connor Ring, who faked the pass and shot the gap for a twisting 50 meter run that would eventually led to a try from center “Famous” Seamus Kelly to put the Bears up 21-7.
BYU would respond 7 minutes later with a try of their own to put the score at 21-14 with ten minutes remaining. The two teams battled back and forth, with BYU getting the better of possession for the last ten, but the Bears would hold on with some great tackling and forward running led by 8-man Danny Barrett. The Bears would seal the win with a huge scrum that stole the ball from BYU and led to a kick to touch to end the game.
A hard-fought match that was close down to the end was the perfect ending to a great first season for the CPD.