Cal Rugby Video: Bears Must Beat Saint Mary's to Reach National Title Game

Cal's Sam Cusano (above) talks about facing Saint Mary's in Moraga in a national semifinal match on Saturday

Cal is one step from playing in the national collegiate rugby championship game, but the Bears must get past a formidable opponent on the opponent’s home field to get there.

The Bears (17-1) will face Saint Mary's (18-1) in the national semifinal at noon on Saturday at Saint Mary's Stadium in Moraga. The match will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

The Bears are ranked No. 1 in the final D1A College Rugby rankings, but Cal was No. 3 before it defeated the Gaels 29-19 in Berkeley on March 30. Saint Mary’s was No. 1 at that time.

Cal did not take the lead for good in that game until 10 remained in the match. However, Saint Mary’s coach Tim O’Brien maintained that Cal controlled that contest and he downplayed his team’s chances against Cal in the rematch, even on the Gaels’ home field.

Both teams easily won their quarterfinal matches last Saturday at Cal’s Witter Rugby Field, the Bears beating Arizona 61-16 and Saint Mary’s crushing BYU 71-12.

(Click here for a brief pick at Saint's Mary's during its win over BYU.)

Cal is expected to make six or more lineup changes for Saturday's semifinal from the squad that started the quarterfinal against the Wildcats. Cal coach Jack Clark was not entirely pleased with his team’s showing against Arizona immediately after the game.

The winner of Saturday's West Region national semifinal advances to the May 4 national collegiate championship final at Stevens Stadium in Santa Clara to face the winner of Saturday's second semifinal from the East Region between Lindenwood and Life University, kicking off from Marietta, Ga., at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time.

Tickets to Saturday's West Region national semifinal at Saint Mary's Stadium, available in advance online, are $20 for adults, $15 for groups 10 or more, $5 for youth 12 and over, and free for children under 12.

(Click here for a D1A preview of the game).