Tuesday, November 07, 2006




RDO David Williamson has announced that the first Society meeting of the 2007 season will be WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6 at the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse alongside Rocca Field on Treasure Island.

The meeting will be from 7 to 9 PM. Food provided by the society will be available beginning at 6 PM for early arrivals, with soft drinks machines and a cash bar.

The Referee Development Committee will meet from 6 until 7.

We will also be meeting during the second week in January and the first weeks of February, March and April

Would anyone object to the meetings always being on Wednesday? We need to know how many folks would strongly prefer an alternate evening and if so, which one.


Setanta Sports has now made their lineup of European rugby (Tests, Premiership, European Cup, Celtic Cup) available via computer for those with broadband connections. Previously, you had to have a satellite dish and DirecTV to receive these matches.

This is being offered at the same price that Mediazone has been sending Southern Hemisphere matches over the Internet for about a year: $119 annually.

Between the two services, even the most serious rugby jones can be fed.

To prove it, on consecutive nights your diligent reporter watched the Currie Cup final, the Wales-Australia Test and the England-New Zealand Test, all from the same well-worn swivel chair.


We have ten games this weekend. Four of them are in Chico, two Saturday and two Sunday.

We could use another volunteer or two. If you are new and would only like to run touch, they could use you in Chico. These will be excellent college games among Chico State, St. Mary’s, Humboldt State and Oregon State.

Let us know.


No, not that any punches were thrown; it was the second Saturday in a row of rugby fun in the autumn sun high atop the Pacific Rim on the campus of the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz.

Four teams and four Pelicans participated. A special thank-you to Edward Barfels who drove down just to run touch.

UC Santa Cruz 0 – SACRAMENTO STATE 22 Referee: James Hinkin
Touch Judge: Edward Barfels

With heavy rains hitting Santa Cruz the day before, the first game of the day on the wet, muddy fields saw Sac St take on the hosts in this preseason tournament. Both sides had several rookies in their lineups and combined with the conditions there were plenty of slips, missed passes and knock ons. There was also some hard, committed tacking and same daring runs as the veterans showed the youngsters how the game was played. Stout defense and a slippery ball saw the halftime score at 0-0. With Santa Cruz subbing heavily and Sac St playing with what they traveled with the second half opened up. Sac State's drive and experience showed with 4 second half tries and they pulled away from a gutsy UCSC 22-0.

HUMBOLDT STATE 5 – Nevada 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
Touch Judge: Edward Barfels

Early-season hands and dense mire underfoot combined to create a pitch that seemed to be two hundred meters long. Phases went backwards; passes went air-to-ground; portions of the bog might have been wormholes where Newtonian laws of physics didn’t apply: pace was only relative; a promising runner could be caught by a pretender.

Even the superannuated ref could slog along with some excellent collegiate runners!

One good thing about slow pieces in the mud is that they offer excellent opportunities for refereeing individuals. The referee was able to reach into the tackle/ruck/maul to tap and advise players who were in the wrong place or otherwise about to infringe. And when half of them aren’t wearing numbers, it’s the only effective way to address some folks.

Creative use of advantage and an especially keen sense of the immaterial kept the penalty count as low as the score.

UC Santa Cruz 7 – HUMBOLDT STATE 8 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Touch Judge: Edward Barfels

The fields were a bit soggy, but the weather was fine and the ladies ran threw and kicked the ball all around the park. With both teams wearing basic(ally) black the mud did little to make the teams less distinguishable as the game wore on, but I don't think anyone lined up on the wrong side of a lineout or packed in the wrong scrum. Santa Cruz got a nice try to go ahead in the first half; Humboldt came back with a try and a penalty in the second.

One player (black), tackled just before the line did a nice job of immediately reaching out and placing the ball over said line. The referee quickly blew his whistle and raised his hand signaling the try to a chorus of dissent from the opposition. After dutifully explaining the law, the referee realized that the dissenters were focusing on the fact that the ball was placed over a white line, not one of the orange lines dimensioning the rugby pitch. The try was rescinded, and the women were kind enough to continue to pay attention to the referee for the remainder of the match

SACRAMENTO STATE 12 - Nevada 5 Referee: James Hinkin

As the day moved on the fields dried out somewhat, although there were still some hazardous areas. Both sides had played already and the early morning jitters were no longer in evidence. Both sides showed a surprising proficiency at mauling the ball and were unafraid to take it wide when necessary. The conditions once again dictated play in the first half and neither side could break through. The second half saw the teams exchange unconverted tries and as time was running out the referee was looking at a 5-5 draw. An unfortunate injury to the Sac St winger halted the game with 4 minutes left and after treatment she was respectfully clapped off the field by both sides. Sac St went on to play with no more reserves having been hit by injury all say and both sides were energized by the break.

A clever kick and chase saw an awkwardly bouncing ball in the try zone beat two Reno defenders and the Sac St scrumhalf jumped on the loose ball for a tiebreaking score. With just 2 minutes remaining Reno threw everything they had at Sac St and surged towards the line. After nearly 4 minutes of constant pressure, including a couple of offside penalties, Reno gave one final push only to see their flanker land over the line on her back and have a defender rip the ball from her hands and ground it for a 22. The ensuing kick was knocked on and the game ended 12-5. Both sides played well enough to win but the score could only go one way.

UC SANTA CRUZ 10 – Nevada 0 Referee: Bruce Carter

WHEREAS the hosts had very good numbers, warming up in big grids, some of them even sporting clean kit.

WHEREAS the visitors had left Reno early enough to arrive in Santa Cruz for a 10 AM kickoff and were playing their third match with a skeleton crew.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Banana Slugs won a deserved victory and a good time was had by all.


SAN JOSE STATE women 90 – Stanford 45 Referee: Bryant Byrnes

South Bay Jacks-Are-Wild Fast Track Rugby. By the time you said that twice, a try had been scored.

A veteran SJS side vs. a numerous but mostly rookie Stanford side. Three thirty minute periods. No goal posts. This pre-season friendly was exactly that-and it was as well played as it was wide open. The last period was a track meet- 60 points, six ties each.

Chico State women 12 – SF Fog 12 Referee: Scott Wood

This was a fun match with plenty of turnovers through good rucking and tackling. Chico had 30+ at the pitch (including a handful of old girls) when I arrived. Alex Triantafyllou reported that Chico has over 40 players for their upcoming season. SF Fog arrived light in numbers but more than willing to play. After some negotiating, the teams decided to play three 30-minute periods. Lack of match fitness was apparent in some players ("Sir, how much time do we have?" "16 minutes.") but overall the teams competed very well. One thing of note to the teams: ensure your players know what number they are wearing ("Freeze 11. Freeze 11. Freeze 11. Advantage." "What number am I?" "Eleven." "Oh.") There was a fair bit of running during the match, on several occasions we went for three to four minutes of multi-phase play before the ball was dead or advantage not available. I look forward to seeing both teams again.

Bay Area Baracus 30 – DIABLO GAELS 37 Referee: Paul Bretz

It was certainly nice to get a full run in. Baracus hosted the Gaels in a pre-season match. Both teams had a lot of young players keen to run the ball combined with veterans more than eager to take the youngsters under their wings. The game was broken down into 4 twenty minute periods.

Both teams asked to run uncontested scrums until the bodies got warmed up. I am pleased to say that by the end of the match we were having fully-contested scrums.

The final score ended up being 37-30 to the Gales. However Baracus looked very good in the early periods. They contested the rucks extremely well and in the second period shocked the division 1 visitors by counter-rucking and winning possession. As is the case with practice games the 4th period was won by the fitter team.

I will be pleased to see the Gaels’ progression in a few weeks when they travel down to SLO to play Back Bay.

SANTA ROSA JC 12 – Nevada 5 Referee: Chris Parkhouse

This was a really hard fought game against two well matched sides. It took 25 minutes for the deadlock to be broken with Nevada taking first blood. Santa Rosa leveled the score with a try and conversion before the end of the half and went in at half time with a slender two point advantage.

The second half continued where the first left off. Strong tackling, nobody able to capitalize although Santa Rosa did have good ball movement through the backs with the openings they carved being met by strong defensive play from Nevada. The line outs were dominated by Nevada but they were not able to make the most of their maul play from the line out. Santa Rosa extended their lead in the second half with a try in the corner. The game continued to flow from one end to the other and went all the way down to the wire.

With advantage being played for a knock on 5 meters out by Santa Rosa under the posts, the No 7 for Nevada knocked on while going for the line with time having run out. Nevada failed to capitalize from the ensuing 5 meter scrum for the original offence and Santa Rosa cleared their lines for a hard fought victory.


Stanford women seconds 19 – SAN JOSE STATE 48 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Referee Coach: Dave Williamson

The 9am preseason scrimmage was played as three 30 minute periods with wholesale substitutions. In fact, Stanford’s team had a new look each of the three periods.

Lots of new players meant plenty of enthusiasm, but a high number of infringements. Even then, the match featured plenty of open play, with incisive breaks by both teams.

At the end of the first period, the score was tied 12-12, but by the end of the second period, SJ State had pulled ahead 31-19. By the final whistle, SJ State had cruised to 48-19: 8 tries to 3. Stanford played well in spurts, but SJ State's offense was more purposeful (aggressive) and organized.


The Currie Cup final from mid-October is a fantastic match. It is worth a look.

It is now clear that Jonathan Kaplan has picked up the mantle that Andre Watson laid down three years ago.

During the first half when the game was at a continuous rolling boil, he addressed some Blue Bulls hotheads by saying, “I don’t want to have to do anything.”

What a wonderful expression of the referee’s goal in such a momentous match: the desire not to have to do anything!

Mr. Kaplan is turning into the Zen referee.


ALWAYS REPORT YOUR RED CARDS AND FOUL-PLAY YELLOWS. This is not optional material for referees.

The high level of rugby achieved in NorCal is not only dependent on our wealth of committed players and dedicated coaches, not only arising from our ever-improving refereeing corps, but also is a result of our comprehensive, impartial and excellently administered disciplinary process.

For a referee to issue a card in the heat of the moment and then, on reflection or through negligence not to report it, is to undermine the trust in which match officials are held.

It is also unfair to subsequent opponents if some players are not disciplined accordingly.

Do not think you are doing anyone a favor by subverting the system. This is critical. Referees not reporting such cards will be themselves subject to sanctions by the Society.

We hope it is always forgetfulness when it happens.


Dixon Smith taught the Level One course to four students in San Francisco last Saturday, Jerry Acosta, Joe Androvich, Jacqueline Finck and Joshua E. Giddens.

We encourage each of them to complete and submit the written examination ASAP. Too many have let the deadline slip by in the past and missed out on certification.

Any number of society members are willing to help out with the questions, in terms of guiding the thought process and encouraging the right kind of thinking. Do not hesitate to ask for help from any of the society’s stalwarts, beginning right here at the Pelican Pressroom.


Level Two Referee Course: November 11/12, San Francisco; Bruce Carter

Touch Judging Levels 1-2-3: November 18, Sacramento; Bruce Carter

Touch Judging Levels 1-2-3: December 2, San Francisco; Mike Malone

Please let the instructor know if you are interested in any of these. Late registrants and even walk-ins can generally be accommodated.

National Office Staff

Here's the gang at USA Rugby HQ. This will help you put faces to the names of the folks in Boulder who do so much work for our game.

Ed Todd was of course one of the original refereeing Pelicans and remains a Society member, while Rick Humm is also a different breed of Pelican: he played for the Pelicans and the Grizzlies.

Back row (left to right): Jen Gray (Game Development), Katie Wurst (Game Develpment Officer-Youth); Peter Thorburn (Eagles Coach); Court Jeske (Events); John Broker (National Teams Manager); Rick Humm (Game Development - Director); Dave Williams (Eagles Strength and Conditioning Coach);
Sitting: Kim Brock (Events - National Championships); Lindsay Tiernan (Membership); Sara John (Communications Director); Steve Griffiths (former interim CEO); Susan Jones (Events Director); Becky Carlson (NCAA); Casy Bailey (Administrator);
On Floor: Jen Cope (CFO); Ed Todd (Referee Development Manager); Sadie Thomas (Game Development Officer);
Not Pictured: Kristin Richeimer (Member Relations)


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris