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BERKELEY – The Golden Bears racked up 16 tries Saturday in a 100-17 win over Arizona State on Witter Rugby Field. Sione Sina and Harry Adolphus both had hat tricks as California (8-1, 2-0 PAC) took sole possession of first place in the PAC Rugby Conference.
Miles Honens was the other multi-try scorer for Cal, which had four different conversion kickers – Jake Anderson (7-of-11), Adolphus (1-of-1), Nicklas Boyer (1-of-2) and Jamie Howells (1-of-2) – and 11 Rugby Bears in total finding the try zone against ASU (2-3, 0-1 PAC).
The Sun Devils lost their conference opener despite getting tries from flanker Keenan Mayfield (1-for-3 conversions , 0-for-1 penalties), wing Alex Sandstrom and scrumhalf David Todd.
The Bears appeared composed against an adventurous ASU backline, which charged hard at Cal on defense only to find the Blue and Gold ready to step around or under a would-be first tackler, or pop the ball high behind the first line of defense.
“I thought we played well and looked the part of an improving team, which is what’s driving us,” said head coach Jack Clark. “We want to get better. Full credit to the Sun Devils – we turned over a few balls and they turned them into lightning-quick tries.”
Eakalafi Okusi continued a trend of all-out effort, going the full 80 minutes at inside center after starting Wednesday night at scrumhalf against Stanford. He scored a try in the 62nd minute after taking a pass from the inserted Andrew Battaglia coming off the short-side wing; then, five minutes later, Okusi took a tricky offload from Sina and moved the ball to Honens for his second try.
“I knew he was going to be there so I popped it up, then Ea was a playmaker and did the rest,” said Sina of that sequence. “I was happy to be able support the ball today, which put me in position after hard work by other players.”
Okusi credited cohesive execution that allowed the Bears to deal with Devils on a warm, sunny afternoon in front of fans who watched the last contest in a five-match Cal homestand. “Physically, it was tiring,” Okusi said, “but there was good communication from the inside out and a good effort all around.”
The Cal reserve-grade side also played very well in its shutout of the Sun Devils following the Starting XV.
The Bears moved into first place in the PAC with their win on Saturday as Utah, which was tied with Cal, sits idle until its visit to Witter Rugby Field for Homecoming on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 1 p.m. Before that, Cal continues its PAC conference schedule at UCLA on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m., then returns to Strawberry Canyon to host California Maritime at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 25, before welcoming the Utes for Homecoming.