California is back in action Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Stanford 7s Invitational at Steuber Rugby Stadium, where the Golden Bears enter Pool A against UC Davis at 9 a.m., Cal Poly at 11 a.m. and Sacramento State at 12:40 p.m. PT.
The top-two teams from Cal's pool will vie against the top-two from Pool B, which includes Stanford, UCLA and Saint Mary's, in semifinals at 3 and 3:20 p.m. for a slot in the 5 p.m. tournament final.
Among some familiar names, the Bears (12-2) will again change up their travel squad at Stanford from the one that won the Buckeye 7s and came third at the West Coast Rugby 7s.
The team will be led by captain Seamus Kelly, who last summer joined the U.S. National Team travel roster and skippered the All-America team on its tour of Ireland before returning this fall to Berkeley, where he is the Bears' all-time leader in 7s appearances (22) and tries (19).
Freshman Russell Webb has fast jelled into a starter, with five already in 2012. Webb has contributed 31 points on a try and 13 conversions.
Senior Josh Tucker is coming off the best performance of his Cal career last Saturday at the West Coast 7s, where he scored a team-high three tries. The senior now stands tied for third all-time in Cal 7s with nine tries scored.
The Bears' selections for Saturday continue with Anthony Lombardo, Paul Bosco, Jake Anderson, and sophomores Eakalafi Okusi and Andrew Battaglia, all of whom bring experience to the table.
Cal's freshman class continues to position itself for playing time, with Anthony Salaber, Patrick Barrientes, Cameron Todd and Charles Guiraud selected for the travel squad. They will be joined by second-year players Nicklas Boyer, Michael Bush and James Poindexter.
In total, the Bears will arrive on The Farm for the Stanford 7s with five seniors, three juniors, five sophomores and five freshmen on the team.
While balanced by class year, the group selected for Saturday is also notable for its absences.
"Some changes are forced on us with injury while others are elected," said head coach Jack Clark. "We want to provide opportunities to players displaying potential."
Among some superior players on the mend is Brendan Daly, a big, fast, 2012 All-American, hoping to come off the injury list later in the fall season having missed all 7s action so far. Ahmed Chehade, who made a sensational 7s debut at the 2012 Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s, and senior backline specialist Alex Aronson are both coming off of knee surgeries that are expected to keep them sidelined until the spring. In Columbus, the Bears also lost 7s All-American Brad Harrington for this year's entire 7s and XVs seasons with a knee injury. The team confirmed that All-America forward Danny Barrett has been suspended indefinitely for an athletic department code of conduct violation.
The Bears head into the Stanford 7s with a mix of familiarity and mystery around their opponents. Cal II defeated UC Davis' first side, 19-10, but the Bears did not face Cal Poly at last weekend's West Coast 7s hosted by the Mustangs. Cal will be playing Sacramento State in seven-a-side rugby for the first time at this event.
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