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Saturday's PAC Rugby match in Berkeley, Calif. between Cal and UCLA will be carried live one the Pac-12 Networks at 3pm PST. The groundbreaking broadcast will be re-aired several times on the network.
This kind of exposure is something organizers of PAC Rugby hoped for and hinted about as a possibility when the conference was being formed back in 2012. Other rugby conferences are also formed along the competitive lines of the SEC, Big Ten and Ivy League, but none of those rugby competitions has gotten direct exposure from the NCAA conferences they were modeled after. PAC Rugby already had, with features and articles included on the Pac-12's official website. But Saturday's broadcast is another big step toward legitimacy, as it marks the first time any conference-affiliated network has carried a rugby game (scroll down to see the Pac-12 Network's video promo of the contest).
It's also the first time a regular season college rugby game has been broadcasted this widely since ESPNU carried a series of games in 2009 sponsored by the National Guard.
“We are thrilled to have Pac-12 Networks broadcast this match,” said Cal head coach Jack Clark. “That said, if you’re within range of Witter Rugby Field on Saturday, we could use your support in person against the Bruins. They’re a talented team.”
UCLA is 1-0 in conference play having beaten Arizona State 42-0 Feb. 1, and Cal is also 1-0 having beaten Oregon State 134-0 Feb. 1. The Bruins and Golden Bears tussled at the Dennis Storer Classic at UCLA in January. In a shortened match, the Golden Bears won 18-3. Last year Cal won the same contest 29-7, indicating the two teams might be a little closer this season.
Following this televised matchup, the Bears and Bruins could meet again in
Varsity Cup play, where Cal, with its first-round bye, will play the winner
of UCLA vs. Oklahoma in the second-round quarterfinals April 19. If the
Bears win that match, Witter Rugby Field would host the Varsity Cup
Semifinal on April 26 in Berkeley.
Given Saturday's game is Cal Rugby's homecoming, proper pageantry, including the Straw Hat Band, yell leaders and Spirit Group, will be on hand.