UBC Claims 5th Straight World News Cup with 49-25 Win: 85-64 on Aggregate
by Kenneth Pittman (UBC Communications)
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds beat the California Golden Bears 49-25 Sunday afternoon at Thunderbird Stadium to capture men's rugby's World Cup for the fifth consecutive year.
Sunday's contest was the second leg of the two-game annual series between the rugby powers. The T-Birds entered the day down three points on aggregate after the first leg. With today's win, UBC takes the series by a combined score of 85-64 over the two legs.
"It's always good to get a nice result at home," said UBC wing Theo Sauder. "We were down three points coming into this game so the boys were fired up. We wanted to get a good result in front of our friends and family."
The 'Birds came out flying in the first half when back row player Nick Allen recorded the first try of the game just two minutes in. The 'Birds added a second try in the 10th minute when Elias Ergas was able to muscle a ball into the try-zone giving the 'Birds a 10-0 advantage.
The visiting Bears were able to even up the scoring after a successful penalty goal by Matthew Coyle in the 13th minute, and a try by Cal centre Adam Roeske just five minutes after that.
Thanks to Sauder, who then scored 13 straight points by himself on a try, a convert and a pair of penalty goals, the 'Birds were sitting comfortably heading into halftime with a 23-10 advantage that the hosts would not relinquish.
The second half was much of the same for UBC. Cal opened the scoring in the second half with a penalty kick by Coyle. The 'Birds answered back with a try by Fraser Hurst, who dove into the in-goal area by the right sideline flag to extend the UBC lead to 15.
Seth Purdey's 57th minute try and convert by Matthew Coyle brought the Golden Bears to within eight points with UBC up 28-20. But the 'Birds replied with converted tries from John Jubenvill and Ergas, with his second of the day, to make the score 42-20.
The Bears tried to make a late push as a try by second-half substitute Desi Streater came in the 72nd minute but that was all Cal could muster as UBC's Owain Ruttan rounded out the scoring in the 76th minute to secure the victory.
"Whenever we play well, it's always our big boys up front bullying them, and dominating up front, and that makes it easier for us to go wide and put some points on the board. They don't really get all the credit but they do a lot of work up front," said Sauder, who finished the day with 19 points. He was 4-for-7 on conversions, and 2-of-3 on penalties.
UBC improves to 17-5 in all competitions this school year. The team's next game is in Victoria on March 17 against James Bay.
2nd minute – UBC TRY – Nick Allen (convert missed) – 5-0 UBC
10th minute – UBC TRY – Elias Ergas (convert missed – 10-0 UBC
13th minute – Cal PENALTY GOAL – Matthew Coyle – 10-3 UBC
18th minute – Cal TRY – Adam Roeske (convert by Matthew Coyle) – 10-10
23rd minute – UBC TRY – Theo Sauder (convert by Theo Sauder) – 17-10 UBC
31st minute – UBC PENALTY GOAL – Theo Sauder – 20-10 UBC
40th minute – UBC PENALTY GOAL – Theo Sauder – 23-10 UBC
43rd minute – Cal PENALTY GOAL – Matthew Coyle – 23-13 UBC
47th minute – UBC TRY – Fraser Hurst (convert missed) – 28-13 UBC
57th minute – Cal TRY – Seth Purdey (convert by Matthew Coyle) – 28-20 UBC
58th minute – UBC TRY – John Jubenvill (convert by Theo Sauder) – 35-20 UBC
69th minute – UBC TRY – Elias Ergas (convert by Theo Sauder) - 42-20 UBC
72nd minute – Cal TRY – Desi Streater (convert missed) – 42-25 UBC
76th minute – UBC TRY – Owain Ruttan (convert by Theo Sauder) – 49-25 UBC
Cal Bears Win First Match by +3 - Rematch This Sunday at Thunderbird Stadium
The match this Sunday should be interesting, I think UBC forwards coach Curry Hitchborn will have his players motivated. What caused some edge was the particularly whiny article from Cal Bears prior to the first match.
They were making all the excuses they could prematch, their coach Jack Clark is quoted, "The only change is that in recent years, the last few, UBC is not really a collegiate athletic team in the context of U.S. collegiate athletics. This is different than our historic rivalry. Previously, we importantly measured our team against them, but this is less relevant now. I'm sure they must feel the same way. We have well-known former players like Danny Barrett and Blaine Scully who are younger than some of their players, and Danny and Blaine wouldn't derive much satisfaction from playing against university-aged students."
It seems when Cal were winning for long periods of time everything was OK, now that they've lost 4 years in a row they're complaining UBC are "not really a collegiate athletic team".
Jack Clark does not like to lose, a quote from a 2013 article, "How to Win by Jack Clark",
had this to say, "He is a loved and loathed figure in American rugby — his detractors argue that he is a bit of an asshole, while his supporters laud his propensity for straight talk."
They ended up winning the first game by 3 points with a second half comeback. But UBC coach Curry Hitchborn wasn't too pleased with the pregame banter, his twitter message spells it out.
He followed it up it up a day later with a congratulations message that perhaps had a message written between the lines. I don't know Curry all that well but that quote, "speak softly and carry a big stick" comes to mind. I think there will be some strong underlying emotion in the rematch on Sunday. If you have the time, go out and watch this Canada v USA contest, West Coast rugby style. I have a feeling you won't be disappointed.Match report from Cal Bears
BERKELEY — The California Golden Bears outscored the UBC Thunderbirds by 12 points in the second half for a 39-26 win Saturday at Witter Rugby Field in the first leg of the World Cup.
Cal took a lead they would not relinquish on a try by sophomore Sam Cusano in the 50th minute. That was followed by a 40-metre penalty from near the right touchline at minute 70 by flyhalf Jamie Howells (4-for-5 conversions, 2-of-2 penalties) to seal the win on a blustery afternoon in Strawberry Canyon.
Fullback Aidan Flynn opened scoring in the second minute when he finished the first offensive sequence for Cal after a penetrating run by sophomore centre Christian Dyer.
Following a try by Thunderbirds prop Clint Lemkus that was converted by Theo Saunder (3-for-6) to tie the score, Nic Mirhashem retook the lead for the Bears after the Cal flanker chased down the ensuing kickoff and powered his way into the try zone.
The match was tied again five minutes later on an unconverted try by UBC hooker Connor Sampson, but Howells slotted his first penalty to give the Bears a 15-12 lead at minute 18.
Sophomore scrumhalf Keanu Andrade scored a try to answer the one notched by his opposite number for UBC, Cole Keffer, but two more T-Birds tries put the Bears into a 31-22 hole at halftime.
Cal came out strong in the second half as sophomore tighthead prop Damon Wiley's effort to score was held up in goal before loosehead prop Kevin Sullivan's try and Howells' conversion brought the Bears to within two at 31-29.
Maintaining their composure, the Bears retook the lead for good on Cusano's try and added the insurance of Howells' penalty kick before UBC scrumhalf Cole Keffer's second try as time expired, trimming the final tally to a three-point outcome.
The T-Birds will look for some home cooking when they host Cal on Sunday, March 4 at Thunderbird Stadium for the second leg of the World Cup.
The Scoring Timeline vs. British Columbia
02:00 Aidan Flynn 5, Jamie Howells 2
06:00 UBC (Clint Lemkus) 5, (Theo Sauder) 2
07:00 Nic Mirhashem 5
13:00 UBC Connor Sampson 5
18:00 Jamie Howells 3
19:00 UBC (Cole Keffer) 5, (Theo Sauder) 2
23:00 Keanue Andrade 5, Jamie Howells 2
27:00 UBC (Elias Ergas) 5, (Theo Sauder) 2
32:00 UBC (Jake Lan) 5
Halftime Score: British Columbia 31, California 22
43:00 Kevin Sullivan 5,Jamie Howells 2
50:00 Sam Cusano 5, Jamie Howells 2
70:00 Jamie Howells 3
80:00 UBC (Cole Keffer) 5
Final Score: California 39, British Columbia 36
The Team vs. British Columbia
15. Flynn, 14. Cusano, 13. Dyer (Purdey @ 10:00, Dyer @ 20:00), 12. Saunders (Purdey @ 57:00), 11. Tavenner (Goena 69:00), 10. Howells, 9. Andrade (Kurihara @ 68:00), 1. Sullivan. 2. Ogburn (Iscaro @ 74:00), 3. Wiley (Baylor @ 76:00), 4. Salter, 5. Bader, 6. Spradling, 7. Mirhashem (Heaney @ 08:00, Mirhashem @ 18:00), 8. Robles
First Match of Two Game Series in California on Saturday: UBC Looking for 5th Series Win in a Row
There used to be more publicity around this two game series sometimes referred to as the "World Cup" but actually the World News Cup if you dig into the history of the competition. It seems quieter this year, perhaps because the Cal Bears are on a four year losing streak in the series and they are the more prolific of the teams in terms of publicity.
You would think UBC would be shouting this from the roof tops with the Cup in their possession since 2014 after a drought going back to 2006 but if you look at the UBC Thunderbird FB page it's basketball, volleyball and hockey. They've even squeezed in stories about sports that aren't played in the Canadian winter, baseball and football but nothing about their championship rugby team. I think a word to their sports editors is in order.
UBC are heading down to Witter Rugby Field in Strawberry Canyon this Saturday to play the first round. UBC hadn't won there for over a decade when they broke the streak in 2015. They subsequently won the first round in 2016 and 2017 as well. UBC will be looking to make it 5 years running for the World News Cup title.
A brief history of the "World (News) Cup". The cup was presented in 1921 by the publisher of the Vancouver Daily World newspaper - the newspaper was bought by the Vancouver Sun in 1924.
We'll add more details such as rosters when they're made available.