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Ruggers Controversial Loss Costs Them Title Shot in 7s

June 1, 2019

PHILADELPHIA – A controversial two-point loss in pool play proved costly for California Saturday at the Collegiate Rugby 7s Championship, where the Golden Bears shut out Indiana and defeated Colorado but lost to Life, 19-17, in a match that placed Cal outside the top-eight teams going into Sunday's knockout rounds at Talen Energy Stadium.
The Bears (19-1 in 7s) face Wisconsin at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT to start Sunday's schedule. Arizona, Dartmouth, Army, Virginia Tech, Clemson and St. Joseph's are also competing in the plate bracket. Winners advance to play up to three matches on the final day of CRC, with the plate final scheduled for 4:10 p.m. ET/1:10 p.m. PT on ESPNEWS, prior to the championship cup final.
Cal began its CRC Saturday with a 47-0 win over the Hoosiers, then beat the Buffaloes, 41-14, to set up its Pool C decider with the Running Eagles. The Bears then led Life, 12-5, at halftime of their final pool match of the day on tries from Marcus Shankland and Troy Lockyear, and went up 17-5 after a try by Christian Dyer early in the second stanza.
With two minutes remaining against Life, cameras caught the Running Eagles running into touch, but as play continued and the Bears reeled to recover, a try by Life's George Phelan trimmed Cal's lead to 17-12. As time expired, a try by Harley Wheeler for the Running Eagles tied the match. The subsequent conversion left the Bears unsuccessful in their efforts to earn a top-eight quarterfinal slot in the 24-team field.
"I thought we mostly played well, with maybe a couple lapses," said head coach Jack Clark. "It isn't easy mentally to keep playing these matches without the carrot of a championship, but that's what we intend to do, just keep competing. We must also put our energy into controlling what we can control and not dwell on the officiating."
If the Bears defeat the Badgers to open play on Sunday, they will likely face the winner of Virginia Tech vs. St. Joe's in the plate semifinals at 1:18 p.m. ET on ESPN+ for a slot in the plate final.
Television coverage Sunday at the CRC is from 7-9 a.m. PT on ESPN2 and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. PT on ESPNEWS.

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