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There was a time when California hosted many well-attended rugby tournaments throughout the year. The Monterey Rugby Tournament, the 1959 creation of the late Paul Andrew, and played annually at Pebble Beach, was considered the premier event, and served as the unofficial national championship.
But other tournaments – the San Diego Invitational and the Santa Barbara event - also attracted colleges and clubs, mainly from California. For many, the rugger “season” began in San Diego, the first week of each January, the tournament ably organized by the Old Mission Beach AC. (OMBAC)
In 1980, the ninth year in San Diego, the surprise result in the Open Division of 32 teams witnessed the Los Angeles RFC defeat OMBAC for the title. This marked the first time in seven years that Santa Monica did not win the San Diego event. (The first year in 1971, the title went to the Peninsula Ramblers.)
OMBAC defeated Santa Monica 10-4 in the semis, eliminating the past year’s champion. In the final, Los Angeles, with three Eagles (Steve Gray, Bill Brown, and Boyd Morrison), edged OMBAC 9-6, three penalties against two unconverted tries.
In the college division comprising eight schools, UCLA shutout Cal State Long Beach 30-0. San Diego State finished third.