Sunday, August 27, 2006




The annual pre-season NCRRS referee conference and Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday, October 28.

Please set this day aside on your calendars. The meeting will be from 9 – 3, with lunch provided. Its location will be announced shortly.


We are proud t o announce the appointment of David Williamson as the first RDO for the NCRRS.

Last season, David auditioned for the role by performing it very well indeed: he arranged for two nationally-known sports psychologists to speak to us, coached referees week in and week out, and was responsible for the success of our June conference in San Jose.

One of his first duties will be organizing the program and selecting speakers for the October 28 meeting.

If you would like to speak to the society at this meeting, or at one of our monthly meetings, please get in touch with him.

The Society will also be sending David to the Elite Referee Invitational Camp in Chicago in early September. This assembly will include the RFU’s Referee Coach Award program, which is for local and territorial RDOs.

NorCal referees are very fortunate to have so many talented and tireless people working on their behalf and helping them improve.

We hope that each referee reading this will make a corresponding commitment to focus on the upcoming season with a re-doubling of effort. This should include fitness, knowledge of the Game, knowledge of the Law, and emulation of the attitudes and manners that we see when the best referees in the world do games on satellite TV or the Internet.

And get a coach! It’s up to you to build a relationship with a more-experienced ref that lends itself to positive coaching.


A well attended NCRFU AGM was held at the SFGG clubhouse on Treasure Island. After the President’s report, the board’s slate of nominees was elected without opposition.

New Business:
The newly named Sacramento Lions (formerly West Sacramento) were voted in as a full member of the Union; congratulations.

Then two new clubs presented their case for probationary admission into the league as D 3 teams – welcome to both East Palo Alto and Mendocino.

Lamorinda/Diablo Gaels would like to enter an U23 team into the college D2. They've got good structure organized between the two club structures. This program will help to retain players who go to JCs in the East Bay and should be pretty valuable.

The new coaching certification program from USAR was described; SF Fog volunteered to host a clinic in NCRFU (probably November 4th, 2006). Note to all coaches: any existing USAR coaching credential will expire in the fall 2008 and will need to be replaced by certification from the new program. Details (there is an on line prerequisite) at, there is also a clinic in Long Beach on September 23/24.

PCRFU President Frank Merrill gave a brief report on the function of the territorial union.

After the meeting adjourned, the teams huddled in their league groupings to discuss their schedules. There will be 7 teams competing in D1 on a home/away schedule with the only full bye weekends being Feb 10/11 (San Diego 7s) – note this is the weekend BEFORE the 3 day weekend for President’s day – and then the weekend of April 7th (Easter). D2 will consist of 5 teams competing home and away and the D3 will consist of 3 pools of 5 teams competing home and away with the top teams advancing into an 8 team playoff for the PCRFU playoff spots.

Rugby World Cup Qualifier – October 7th at Stanford 2pm USA will play Uruguay in the second leg of the repechage to enter the RWC. Admission to his event will be free of charge.

Please make sure that accurate and up to date contact information is listed on; send changes to

Northern California Rugby Football Union
2005/2006 President’s report

Thanks are due to several long term members of the exec; John Coppinger (now VP for PCRFU), Ann-Marie Henning (US U23 Women’s program director and oversight of PCRFU Women’s playoffs), Matt Eason (remain involved with DC and youth), John Riddering (short timer).

Success on the field:

Congratulations to all the teams for getting their games played in a bad weather season; many thanks to Hayward and Bill Dent for coordinating an all-weather field plan – we didn’t have to watch soccer being played while we were rained off fields.

7 National Championships for:
Berkeley All Blues, Women’s D1 club;
Cal, Men’s D1 collegiate;
Stanford, Women’s D1 collegiate;
UC Santa Cruz, Women’s D2 collegiate;
Mission Men’s D3 club;
Jesuit Tier A HS; Vacaville Tier B HS.

9 others Round of 16 or better;
SFGG RSL quarters;
Hayward Men’s D1 semi;
Olympic Club Men’s D1 round of 8;
UCD Men’s D1 college R16;
Humboldt Men’s D2 college semi;
Chico and Cal Women’s D1 college R16;
SFGG and O Club Men’s 7’s.

Hosted Churchill Cup and RWC Qualifier

Safety protocol; good first year; Disciplinary Committee activity was down with a generally reduced level of severity; players, coaches, spectators and referees were better able to enjoy the games.

Reminder – each team needs to INSPECT the other team’s ID cards (Tana Umaga seems to have played for a couple of local teams last year). NOT ref’s job; fake cards are liable for protest. Card may be any size; business card size easy and portable but a binder with sheets OK too.

Couple of specific incidents but much better than previous years. USA Rugby revamp and PCRFU issues continue to be a concern.

With the changes in USA Rugby there are a number of different voices in the public arena. In a few cases some of these voices could be described as provocative or worse; could we all remember that we all live in a glass house and that there should be a level of decorum in public statements.

Treasurers report:
Matt Eason sends his regrets; his return from vacation was delayed by mechanical problems. He reports that the finances are in good order and that he will address the details with the incoming Treasurer. There are a few collection issues

D1 issues/concerns – SFGG in league?
[Editor’s Note: this point would seem to have been rendered moot by the subsequent announcement from SFGG of Ron Seddon as the dedicated coach of their D1 side.]

May 12th/13th round of 16 playoff, location TBA
Weeks-long gap from CR1 to 16?
Weeks-long gap from D1 to CR 1
Preplan travel with Travel corp?

If no gaps (requires SCRFU agreement on CR 1) then start Jan 6; if a bye week before CR1 or before USAR 16 then 2 games will be needed in December (if a 7 or 8 team league, moot if a 6 team league).

For Pete Dubois / Kirk Khasigian

Youth dues – fund all-stars? Collection issues?


This was sent to me from “David”, forwarded from YouTube. I do not know which David it was, but he has been unanimously acclaimed by the entire Senate.

I first heard about it in the 1980s when I started refereeing. It was described to me as, "an Australian video where they show a series of passes that look perfectly normal. Then they superimpose lines on the field and you can see that the same passes travel forward while in the air."

Over the years I have tried to find this video, or even to find someone else who had seen it. I did begin to wonder how the technology to 'superimpose' lines on the field had been available that far back, and so it began to seem like an urban legend.

After a dozen years of hearing about it, thinking it was a myth, I met someone who had actually seen it: Bob Woerner. Everyone else who had described it only knew someone else who had seen it.

Now I've seen it for myself!


It is seven minutes short and a low-density stream. Your computer and connection are up to the task.

It presents the information in such a manner as to be incontrovertible. The bottom line: whether a pass TRAVELS forward in the air is COMPLETELY IMMATERIAL in determining whether it was THROWN forward. A forward pass by a player in motion can only be determined by watching the motion of the hands relative to the body as the ball is released.

The phrase I use when refereeing and explaining no-calls on ‘forward passes’ is: the passer is not responsible for the wind, the bounce of the ball, or his own forward momentum. He's only responsible for how it leaves his hands.

The graphics are somewhere between Pong and Pac Man. The enlightenment they provide is ineffable and priceless.

Click here: Rugby Union "Forward Pass" video


Let this website be an example to anyone who uses the Internet or any other public medium to ‘promote’ our sport. And this is meant to recruit HIGH SCHOOL players!

We are not going to apologize for calling your attention to some nimrod’s act of idiocy. Let that person anonymously change the damned thing:

Let us hope there really is such a thing as the power of the press.

Last week, as in so many weeks that the Senate does not find itself running around a rugby pitch, we adjourned to Yosemite National Park.

It is well-known that therein lies the greatest collection of waterfalls on the face of our friendly, warm, blue orb. They thunder and they awe, they dance and they sing. They lead us to dream, to wonder, to introspect and to catch glimpses of greater things.

Yet some are rarely seen and not even named. This wonderful watercourse, poetry in motion, is a few miles upstream of Illouette Falls. Previously it had no name. We dub it: Pelican Plunge.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris