By Ronan Nelson

ARROYO GRANDE, CA - The UCLA Men’s Rugby 7′s continued their run of good form in the 2016-17 season with a third-place finish at the Central Coast edition of the West Coast 7′s. The Bruins won decisively against UCSB and SDSU in the group stage before falling in the Cup semi-final to eventual runners-up St. Mary’s. UCLA then met Arizona State in the third place final, a repeat matchup from the UCLA 7′s Tournament a week prior, and battled their way to a 19-10 victory to claim third place.

 

The Bruins got the day started off in comforting fashion, romping to a 40-5 victory over UCSB. Rory Howells (2), Yoh NakayamaJacob RadeskiJordan Robertson, and Daniel Thomas all put over tries in the opening victory while Nakayama (3) and Thomas (2) both added fthe extras. UCLA then moved on and finished their final group match vs. SDSU in a similar fashion, winning by a decisive 26-5 margin thanks to tries from Niall BarryChristian BernardJax Carter, and Cian Barry.

 

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Senior Niall Barry captained the Bruins at the West Coast 7′s for the second year in a row

With two solid victories under their belt, the Bruins earned a berth in the Cup semi-finals, a knockout stage match that would pit them against an unfamiliar foe in #2 ranked St. Mary’s. This one was a chess match with Ryan Bradfield andCian Barryscoring the only try and conversion, respectively, for the Bruins in a 10-7 loss to relegate them to the third-Place final. 

 

Despite the loss, the Bruins ended up finishing the day on a high in the 3rd-place final against Arizona State with both Jordan Robertson and Ryan Bradfield scoring their second tries of the day followed by freshman debutantHogan Irwin scoring his first try as a Bruin. 

 

“We ran out all of our available players and while we still have work to do, we have the potential to be very good for such a young team,” said UCLA Head Coach Scott Stewart noting the positives of his side’s showing during the day.

 

Even with the team’s relative success, Stewart already has his sights set on the next two weeks of training in the run-up to the SFGG Treasure Island 7′s, explaining that “The plan is to increase the training volume in the next phase, collectively build our chemsistry and learn to work on finishing the opportunities that were created. We left points out on the field that must be converted if we are to be successful in the next two events.”

 

Following their 3-1 day at the office, the team was graciously hosted by former Bruin Rugger and Football great Gordon Bosserman UCLA ’69 at his SLO residence, a barbecue attended by several parents of current players as well as former Bruin Rugger and USA Eagle, David Stephenson UCLA ’70.

 

“We are grateful to Gordon, Jennifer, daughter Julie and to David for the amazing opportunity to connect our current team with two Hall of Fame players from perhaps the greatest era of rugby at UCLA,” remarked Stewart.”

Bosserman had been a particularly instrumental figure in the development of the new era of UCLA Rugby acting as Chairman of the Alumni Board from 2003-2010 and Stephenson as a dedicated historian and photograper of all types of rugby events since his playing days, particularly of the Dennis Storer era.

 

With two successful tournaments down and two weeks to prepare for their next outing, the Bruins look more ready than ever to break out against the nation’s best 7′s programs and continue the UCLA Rugby’s tradition of success.