UCLA beat Cal 24-19 in the final of the West Coast 7s tournament Sunday in San Luis Obispo, Calif. UCLA reached the final by knocking off host Cal Poly in one semifinal, and Cal got there by downing St. Mary’s 17-10 in the other.
The first half of the final was all UCLA, as they carried a 17-0 lead into intermission.
UCLA’s first foray into Cal’s end was helped by the Bears committing a couple of penalties, and after giving the ball up with a knock-on, the Bruins pressured on defense and forced a Cal turnover that resulted in a try.
The Bruins extended their lead just a couple of minutes later. They took the ball from sideline to sideline off a lineout, getting inside Cal’s 22 and drawing all but one Bear to near the breakdown. UCLA spun it wide and found green space to touch the ball down in, making it 12-0. The conversion was missed.
The Bruins weren’t afraid to take kick for touch and go up in the lineouts, exuding confidence in their set pieces. Their next score involved two Cal penalties, one of which the Bruins kicked to touch to gain territory, and the other they tapped through and ran in for a try in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed, making it 17-0 UCLA, which is how the half would end.
Cal and UCLA traded knock-ons to open the second half, with UCLA’s coming second. The Bears won the scrum in their own end, simply went through hands to the wing, who used a strong fend before racing in for Cal’s first try of the game, bringing the score to 19-7 following a successful conversion kick.
UCLA had a couple of chances to score off the ensuing kickoff. They got a break up the touch line but didn’t convert after chip-kicking the ball into the endzone. Cal was called for a penalty at the breakdown shortly thereafter, and the Bruins took territory via a kick to touch, but after winning the lineout again opted to kick into Cal’s try zone and attempt to run onto it. The Bears again recovered the ball.
Cal cleared the 22-meter dropout well into UCLA’s end before being called for yet another penalty at the breakdown. The Bruins went again to touch and won the lineout. This time the Bruin center found space in Cal’s backline, penetrated and kicked past Cal’s sweeper. He gathered the ball just short of the try line and dotted down, extending the lead to 24-7 following a conversion.
Cal answered with back-to-back tries in quick succession, one off the ensuing kickoff and one a couple of phases after a Bruin penalty. The first try was converted, and the run left Cal down five with a restart to go. The crucial kickoff at full time didn’t go 10 meters, giving UCLA a free kick. The Bruins toed through the ball and cleared to touch to win the game.