Cal Secures 5th Straight College Rugby Championship in 7s Play

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By Cal Athletics
Posted Jun 4, 2017
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2017 CRC 7s champs -Photo by ABFlyer
PHILADELPHIA – California earned its fifth straight national 7s championship and 33rd overall national collegiate championship in program history with a six-win sweep that culminated Sunday in a 19-0 victory over Life University in the cup final at Talen Energy Stadium.
The Golden Bears carried the weight of their concern for injured teammate Robert Paylor through a difficult day two of knockout competition at the CRC, eliminating Kutztown, 19-10, in the quarterfinal and Indiana, 29-14, in the semifinals before shutting out the Running Eagles on national television to win dual titles in both 15s and 7sfor the second straight year.

Freshman Sam Cusano, who scored twice against Life and finished the weekend with five tries, was named tournament MVP. Captain Russell Webb led the team over its six-match weekend with 60 points scored on four tries and 20 made conversions (20-for-27, .740).

"We had a job to do, even if we didn't have our hearts and spirit in it," said Webb after raising the Pete Dawkins trophy, named for the pioneering rugby player and Heisman Trophy winner from West Point. "We wanted to represent all those who came before us as well as keep Robert foremost in our thoughts. He is an inspiration."

Cusano, one of eight Bears making their first trip the CRC, called the tournament "a two-day journey that doesn't mean anything compared to the journey that Rob is on. We're learning from him as he fights to recover every day."

"This year was different in that we've been dealing with the fact that our Robert Paylor had a catastrophic injury, and since our spirits are with him, we've been here in body only," said head coach Jack Clark, who now has helmed the Bears for 29 combined national titles. "We leaked a couple of tries during the tournament that we normally wouldn't leak, but today was our best defensive effort. More than that, I was proud of our players' overall effort. They fronted. We said we would take care of our responsibilities and that's what they did."

The Scoring Timeline vs. Kutztown

03:00 Zachary Tavenner 5

05:00 Aidan Flynn 5, Russell Webb 2

07:00 Kutztown 5

Halftime Score: California 12, Kutztown 5

11:00 Kutztown 5

12:00 Zachary Tavenner 5, Russell Webb 2

Final Score: California 19, Kutztown 10

The Team vs. Kutztown

1. Salaber, 2. Barrientes, 3. Sweet, 4. R. Webb, 5. Flynn, 6. Tavenner, 7. Cusano

Replacements: Gaffney, Andrade

The Scoring Timeline vs. Indiana

02:00 Drew Gaffney 5, Russell Webb 2

05:00 Indiana 5, 2

07:00 Patrick Barrientes 5

Halftime Score: California 12, Indiana 7

09:00 Russell Webb 5

10:00 Sam Cusano 5, Russell Webb 2

13:00 William Fuller 5

14:00 Indiana5, 2

Final Score: California 29, Indiana 14

The Team vs. Indiana

1. Salaber, 2. Barrientes 3. Gaffney, 4. R Webb, 5. Flynn, 6. Tavenner, 7. Cusano

Replacements: Andrade, Fuller, Dyer, Sweet, Mirhashem

The Soring Timeline vs. Life

07:00 Connor Sweet, Russell Webb 2

Halftime Score: California 7, Life 0

09:00 Sam Cusano 5

11:00 Sam Cusano 5, Russell Webb 2

Final Score: California 19, Life 0

The Team vs. Life

1. Salaber, 2. Barrientes, 3. Sweet, 4. Webb, 5. Flynn, 6. Tavenner, 7. Cusano

Replacements: Gaffney, Andrade
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