Seven-man rugby, which will make its Olympic debut at the 2016 Games in Brazil, will be on display Saturday and Sunday when Cal is host to the PAC Rugby 7s Championship.
Ten schools from the Pac-12 Conference will participate in the event at Witter Rugby Field. The Bears, ranked second nationally, are chasing their third straight conference title. But the competition will be fierce — the event includes five teams ranked among the nation’s top 17.
Cal, collegiate rugby’s most successful program in the traditional 15-a-side game, is hosting a fall rugby 7s event for the first time. Teams will play two seven-minute halves with a one-minute halftime break in a wide-open, fast-paced game.
Pool play begins Saturday at 9 a.m. and runs through Sunday at 1:30 p.m., when the top two teams meet for the championship. The tournament features a total of 33 matches.
Rivals Cal and Stanford face off in the tournament’s first game in Pool A, which also includes Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State and USC. Pool B has Colorado, Oregon, UCLA, Utah and Washington State.
Teams will be re-seeded before Sunday’s action.
Cal brings a 9-1 season record into the tournament, its one defeat coming at the hands of third-ranked UCLA by a 14-12 score in the West Coast Sevens title game at San Luis Obispo last month. The Bruins are 8-2, Stanford 6-1.
Also included in this week’s national rankings are No. 5 Arizona State, No. 14 Arizona and No. 17 Utah.
The Bears are 74-14 all-time in rugby 7s, including a 22-0 win over UCLA in last season’s PAC 7s title game, and 26-12 over Utah the year before.
Gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday.
Daily admission is $10, $5 for kids 12-and-under and for seniors, and free for Cal students and children 2-and-under.