Tuesday, April 15, 2008




If you are not one of the many Pelicans who are flying away this weekend, you’re in luck: there’s lots of good rugby to help out with or simply enjoy.

The Skyhawk Conference will have its championship game, San Mateo hosting East Palo Alto. JC Van Staden will referee this crackerjack game at 12:30 at San Mateo High School. We’re certain he’d appreciate a couple of touch judges.

Over on Treasure Island two sides from Sandhurst (British military academy) will be playing: Women – Fog (Phil Ulibarri) at 1 PM and Men – SFGG developmental (Tom Zanarini) at 3 PM. These will be at Rocca Field.

Meanwhile, on the Job Corps field (pending confirmation) will be the NorCal girls’ high school post-season tournament. This one needs some referees.

When all of that is over, referees, touch judges and spectators alike can point their vehicles at Hayward where all three CR1 matches will take place on the Mt. Eden Park pitch (order to be determined): Hayward – Las Vegas (Jim Crenshaw), San Mateo – Belmont Shore (Dave Pope), Olympic Club – Santa Monica (Chris Tucker).

This is a chance to see the highest-level club rugby in the USA, right here in your living room. And – you can ref and/or run touch earlier in the day.

Please let us know if you can help referee the girls’ high school tournament.


April 17-27:
2011 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in the Cayman Islands:
Paul Bretz and John Coppinger

April 18-20:
Pacific Coast assignments to CR1 Playoffs: Tony Redmond in Salt Lake; Jim Crenshaw, Dave Pope and Chris Tucker in NorCal. Appointed touch judges: Anna McMahan, John Pohlman, Dave Heath, Rob Hendrickson

USA Rugby Women’s Challenge Match: Preston Gordon in Seattle

USA Rugby college playoffs in Albuquerque:
Pete Smith, Aruna Ranaweera, Don Pattalock, Joe Androvich, Bruce Carter, Matt Eason, Mike King, Eric Rauscher, David Williamson, Mike Malone and Scott Wood

Super League games: Dixon Smith at Belmont Shore, Bryan Porter in Chicago

April 26:
Exchanges: Pete Smith to the Texas championships, Roberto Santiago to the All Saints Tournament in St. Cloud, Minnesota. (Scott Wood will also be there.)

Super League TJs: Bruce Carter in Santa Monica, Matt Eason at Rocca Field

Super League Assessors: Dixon Smith at Rocca Field, Bryan Porter in San Diego, David Williamson in Santa Monica


Seats are still open for the East Mids exchange, September 17-29. This won’t cost you anything but vacation days and will be the best rugby experience of your refereeing life.


John Coppinger has been appointed as a citing commissioner for the world cup qualifiers to be held in the Cayman Islands the next two weekends. Paul Bretz will also be refereeing at this event.

Northern California has long been represented among international referees, touch judges and assessors. The last few years our members have branched out and gained appointments as fourth, fifth and sixth officials, spotters, and now citing commissioners.

Congratulations to John and Paul.

March 21-31 2008
Exchangee: Don Pattalock

When the appointment came for this inaugural exchange to Hong Kong, especially in and around the infamous HK 7’s, I jumped on it right away. A short 15:50 flight from LAX to HKI was all it took and I was on the ground ready to go. Bernard Fienberg (HKRFU Referees Manager) met me at the airport and swept me to the hotel via train/taxi. A light breakfast, shower and change of clothes, Bernard picked me up and delivered me to Kings Park (home of the HKRFU) for their annual “Country of Origin” tournament. The Country of Origin tournament is primarily composed of players from HK who are playing rugby for clubs in one of the 7 leagues in HK. For this tournament, the players group up into their countries of origin and play a round robin 10’s tournament. There were teams of New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, Hong Kong, England, France and Australia. Several of the players are professional (contract) players in HK specifically to play for the upper tier clubs. It was a great competition with exceptional skill and spirit by the players. I refereed 4 games including the final between NZ and IRE. The NZ side was head and shoulders above the rest of the teams and walked away with the trophy. A couple of beers and a good night out for some Chinese food (what else) and day one (or day two if you count that International Date Line) was over.

Day two: Easter Sunday. I was originally scheduled to referee at the Girls Super Sunday matches that afternoon; unfortunately, being Easter Sunday and all, the matches were canceled. So I headed off to the HK Football Club for lunch with Bernard and Gabriel Lee (local super referee). The HKFC is an incredible facility located under/within the HUGE horse racing facility in Happy Valley. The club facilities range from luxurious to outrageous with the rugby pitch as the centerpiece of the club. After lunch, Bernard was off to keep working on arrangements for all the referees arriving for the HKFC 10’s and the iRB referees for the HK 7’s so Gabby took the lead and we grabbed a ferry over to Lantu Island to visit the world’s largest (erect) Buddha and an old fishing village named Tai O. Great day out. Lots of dried seafood in Tai O, Gabby bought several interesting delights for us to eat at the local market (a theme that would continue right through my trip).

Day three: Originally scheduled to referee HKFC v UCLA women at the HKFC; unfortunately, UCLA couldn’t get their side together, so the game was canceled. Not to worry, Gabby was running her coopers test to prove her superior fitness so that she could achieve the iRB Touch Judge appointment. So I headed off the Aberdeen Stadium to help Bernard administer the test. Gabby blew the test away and earned her iRB jersey that day. Another lunch at the footy club then another day out in HK. A little stroll around the street markets in Kowloon where I was asked “do you like smelly tofu?” I replied, “Depends what it is smelly like.” Anyway, we sampled several mysterious street delicacies and wandered through the markets. As evening arrived, we took the tram up to the Point which overlooks HK. As the sun went down, HK’s lights came on and the spectacle that is HK came to life. High rise buildings everywhere, including on top of the Point! What a sight.

Day four: Another ferry ride out to Lamma Island with Rob Buckley (HKRU Referee from IRE). Great 1 hour hike from one side of the island to the other for the best seafood I have ever eaten. Live lobster, hand selected from a sidewalk tank, 20 minutes later was served at the table to be devoured. Ferry ride back to the footy club for a HKFC 10’s referees meeting in preparation for the tournament that started the next day.

Day five: Kowloon Rugby Fest. This is the 10’s tournament for the rest of the teams since the HCFC 10’s is a mostly professional affair now. Lots of teams from all over the globe having a great time playing rugby and drinking beer. Refereed 3 matches then headed over to the hotel for the Women’s International 7’s referee meeting where we would get instructions for the following two days. Referees from Switzerland, Ireland, Thailand, HK, China, Canada, Arabian Gulf and the US. In addition to your author, Pete Wienkelbaur from the Heart of America TU was invited as the US representative to the IW 7’s. Dinner that night with the referees’ society with all the visiting iRB and HKFC 10’s referees.

Day six: Women’s International 7’s played at So Kon Po. So Kon Po is adjacent to HK Stadium and is a great facility. Teams from Canada, France, Kazakhstan, US, China, Hong Kong, PNG, Singapore, Thailand, Netherlands, Japan and the Arabian Gulf were fired up and ready to play. I was assigned France v Kazakhstan as well as a TJ in several other matches. Following the WI 7’s, we headed over to the Footy Club to watch the semi-finals and finals of the HKFC 10’s. Huge fast athletes hurling themselves into unbelievable collisions with each other; what a sight and feel. Pat McNally was sitting in the stands enjoying the action (Paddy Mac was shadowing the iRB referees manager for the HK 7’s). Nice dinner out in Time Square with Paddy (and friend), Pete and Gabby.

Day seven: Final day of the Women’s International 7’s. Refereed PNG v Singapore and PNG v Thailand as well as running touch for several of the other matches. Following my last match, I grabbed a shower, changed and headed to the big stadium for the Friday night portion of the HK7’s. HK is bigger than the other iRB circuit venues in that it has 20 teams (instead of 16) and is played over 3 days rather than 2 everywhere else. Also the stadium seats 40k and was sold out back in December. My assignment for the tournament was as a subs bench official. I was quickly fitted with a radio harness that allowed me to hear the referee’s open mic as well as communicate substitutions and sin-bin substitutions with the referee. The opportunity to work with professional coaches and players in a setting like HK was a highlight of my 26 years of rugby. My first real challenge came in the 4th game of the night when the South African insisted he could substitute a player on a penalty. This was not the case and eventually the rule of law won out over shear pressure. Following the conclusion of the final match of the evening, I changed and headed over to the “running man bar” in the stadium for the Women’s International Dinner and Reception. Couple of beers and I was off to the hotel for a well-deserved night’s sleep.

Day eight: Up early and off to the stadium for day 2 of the HK 7’s. With my virgin voyage under my belt, I was even more excited to get back on the pitch with the professionals. The day started off with a referee briefing from the iRB Referee Manager, then everyone was turned loose to be great. In a day with non-stop action, I enjoyed my time communicating with the coaches, managers, referees and players as well as the HK referees who make this rugby spectacle happen without a glitch. Confrontation of the day; the Russian coach had completed his 3 and final substitutions and then attempted to replace one of his props. The NZ sub-bench officials informed the Russian coach that he could not make any additional subs, but he insisted he could replace an injured prop. The match ended and with the officials winning out and the Russian coach asking where he could lodge his complaint. I had been watching the action from the other bench with interest; I grabbed the tournament rules and headed over to diffuse the situation. I pointed out to the Russian coach that in 15’s he was absolutely correct; however, in 7’s the law was different and front row certified players were not a requirement, thus the front row replacement law was different. With this explanation he was happy the thanked all the officials. With this, I turned to my NZ colleagues and simply said that it takes an American to sort out the Russians.

Day nine: Knock-out rounds. Tension was high on the field and benches as the win or go home matches began. Today I was on the big headset communicating with the control tower relative to subs and sin-bins as well as all other field related matters that required coordination. In one of the quarter final matches between SA and AUS, there was a yellow card issued to an Australian player for a punch. Following the match, the SA coach asked how long he had to make a citing report; he was told 30 minutes. About 25 minutes later he arrived back at my station with his laptop in hand and stated that he would like to make a citing of the Australian player. I radioed up to control to report the citing request and asked how I should proceed. My request for instruction on how to proceed was met with a considerable delay, so while we were waiting, the SA coach opened his laptop and played the incident back for me frame by frame. It was a punch for sure. After several minutes I escorted the coach up to the control tower and the citing officials room. Once the coach was handed over to the citing officials, I was back to my post for the semis and finals. The excitement in the stadium rose steadily in anticipation of the NZ v SA final. The Stadium roared, danced, sang and cheered for three days and everyone was exited for the finals. NZ won the match and the cup presentation and fireworks ensued. An incredible sight to witness while standing in the middle of the pitch. Following the presentations, a quick shower and into my #1’s for the players dinner reception. Lots of fun and conversation throughout the dinner, then it was off to Wan Chi (bar district) for a good night out.

Day ten: Little plane ride and I was home again spinning from the experience that is Hong Kong and the HK 7’s.

Foot note: Everyone who I had the pleasure to work with was professional, enjoyable and incredibly accommodating to me. The hospitality I enjoyed was second to none. The best for me was being able to spend time with the HK referees who have been running the HK 7’s for 31 years now and learn from the best. In fact, the HK referees have taught the iRB how to run a tournament. Experience that can’t be beat. Hope to visit HK again soon to see good friends and enjoy everything the HK and rugby have to offer.


Women’s Territorial: GRIZZLIES 20– Mid-Atlantic Referee: Tony Redmond
Touch Judge: Eric Rauscher

Both teams showed that it was the first time that the players had come together this season to represent their respective regions. Too many knock ons, forward passes, and other interruptions to play resulted in a lot of scrumming practice for the forwards at the expense of anything more positive. Grizzlies led 5-0 at half-time despite having only paid two visits to the opposing 22m in the entire half. Mid-Atlantic were more expansive in the second half and managed to score two good converted tries, but they found that Grizzlies were also more effective as they managed to score three times, the last coming two minutes from time as the result of a block down close to the line.

The men’s D2 season came to a close this past weekend. Three teams advance to the Pacific Coast playoffs, which will be in Fresno April 26-27: East Palo Alto, Sacramento Capitals, and San Jose Seahawks.

SACRAMENTO CAPS 29 – Seahawks 21 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Seconds: Sacramento 19 – SEAHAWKS 67 Referee: Chris Tucker
Thanks to TJs: Scott Wood, Jim Crenshaw

A game of two halves, as British pundits are wont to call the round ball game. Well, that's what this was -- an entertaining first, fast and fun as the Caps scored a couple of tries and the visiting Seahawks put up 4 thanks to some strong backline play (aided and abetted by a couple of locals found loitering around Danny Nunn park.)

The second half was less entertaining, turning into a rout by the visitors as the heat began to drain energy away from the players (and the ref). Dehydration was a problem -- 88 degrees is a little hot for rugby, especially when you come to the pitch without the requisite 2 litres of Gatorade. My own darn fault: dehydration made for slow running and slow thinking.

As it was, the Caps scored a consolation try after 30-some minutes, and their captain agreed that enough was enough. Restart, knock-on, time.

EAST PALO ALTO 37 – Baracus 7 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Touch Judge: Preston Gordon
91F degrees, sunny, and dusty in my first trip to East Palo Alto (not counting IKEA). EPA was adventurous with ball in hand, running, passing, and chip-kicking all over the place to lead 20-0 at half. EPA's physicality on offense was impressive, but Baracus was not afraid to make the big tackles. Both teams demonstrated good mauling technique with several long drives. Despite the massive hits and break-neck pace, both teams should be commended for playing a clean match with quickly recycled ball and good sportsmanship. In the end, the home team won this entertaining encounter comfortably, 5 tries to 1. Much thanks to Preston Gordon who provided excellent support as TJ.

Seconds: EAST PALO ALTO 24 – Baracus 12 Referee: Preston Gordon
The match was a full 80-minute one (finally, in a B game) and was very clean and fun to referee. Running around in the 90-degree heat on a field with little grass but lots of dirt and pebbles reminded me quite a lot of some places in Arizona!

SANTA ROSA 29– SF/Golden Gate 15 Referee: Paul Cassidy (Alberta)
Report by Cary Bertolone:
Visiting ref Paul Cassidy of Edmonton, Canada was on hand at For Pete's Sake in Santa Rosa for the 11:00am kick-off w/ 75 degree weather, sun and blue skies. Paul had a great game with good clean rugby as the product of his efforts.

The Santa Rosa pack dominated the first half and created lots of crowd pleasing scoring for the home team. They scored 4 tries to San Fran's one with the score 24-10 at the half.

San Francisco got with it in the second half and their pack actually dominated; but it only led to one try for each team with an ending score of 29-15, Santa Rosa.

Soon after, both teams and Paul Cassidy attended a Santa Rosa Rugby Hawaiian Luau with piles of food, Hawaiian dancing and plenty of beer that lasted for hours. A fun day for all!!

ARROYO GRANDE 63 – Fresno 5 Referee: Dan Wilson
Videographer: Bruce Carter
The central coast certainly lived up to its beauty and splendor this weekend. The hills were beautifully green, the sky was clear and the heat was on. Arroyo Grande had an official temperature of 90 degrees, but since we were about ten miles inland, it had to have been in the mid 90’s. As Bruce Carter stated, “This is 7’s weather”. The day was touted as an end of season celebration with AG’s awesome tri-tip to end the day. Being that it was the last game of the season and neither team was making the playoffs, numbers were light and both sides were filled with players that had barely seen the pitch this season much less practice. As well all know, when the whistle blows, all the other stuff is forgotten and we play ball.

AG started off the scoring with a penalty kick within the first four minutes. When Fresno missed a return penalty kick a few minutes later, the game seemed like it would be a closely fought match. Looks, as they say, can definitely be deceiving. Fresno put on a clinic of how to badly miss players and not follow through with tackles, resulting in AG not having to spin the balls too much to the backs. When they did spin the ball outside, the Fresno backs followed suit dictated by the forwards and seemed to forget how to tackle. When things go downhill, they start to spiral. Starting at the 15 minute mark, AG scored six tries, three converted and added on another penalty kick for good measure. Halftime score- Fresno 0 – AG 44.

The second half was a little closer more due to the emotions that started to become involved with both teams. AG still kept finding its way into the try zone, but Fresno was able to put together one long, supported run that included both backs and forwards. Yes, Fresno was on the board with an unconverted try. Overall, the game was still a fun game to referee even though the score was absolutely lopsided. The team for Fresno was definitely not the Fresno team of yesteryear.

My thanks to Bruce Carter for filming the game and giving his evaluation of my performance. Full time score: Fresno 5 – AG 63.

AG/Fresno 5 – CAL POLY seconds 22 Referee: Bruce Carter
Cal Poly has good numbers; they won’t all get to play in Albuquerque this coming weekend. So while the squad had a full morning practice session on the adjacent pitch in the morning when it was still cool (90° at noon), the reserves returned later to get a run against those Arroyo Grande and Fresno players who chose to play against the dying of the rugby season’s light.

It was not an auspicious beginning for the Combined side – at the first scrum the Mustang halfback threw a little head fake as he picked up the ball, then ran twenty meters up the center of the pitch untouched to score with 38 seconds gone.

The last try was equally memorable: the Cal Poly #5, quite a useful player, took off upfield. All of his opponents had been running around in the hot sun and dry wind for several hours at that point. They weren’t necessarily of a mind to be attempting to tackle a big fit fellow.

Given the turnstile nature of this try, the referee decided to blow the game early on account of the aroma of tri-tip wafting to our nostrils.

On the way home, already fully in the camp of the beefeaters, we saw a bumper sticker that we can wholeheartedly endorse:


UC Davis – San Francisco State CANCELED

San Jose State 20-ish – ALUMNI 80-ish Referee: Anna McMahan

SANTA CLARA 27 – Stanford 10 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
On a hot afternoon in Santa Clara, the Lady Broncos beat a good Stanford second fifteen.

Good red zone defense kept this a low scoring game. Santa Clara was up 12-0 at half. Stanford brought it to within 7 with about 15 minutes left, but the Lady Broncos had more gas in tank and scored twice for the final tally. A contested and well played game.


SoCal Griffins 0 – MARFU Development 5 Referee: John Pohlman

Combo Griffin/Grizzly 0 – MARFU 7 Ref: Pohlman



Rancho Cordova Lancers 8 – CHRISTIAN BROTHERS FALCONS 39
Referee: Scott Wood
Location: Cordova High School

On the hottest day of the year (to date), I got the opportunity to referee at Cordova High School for the first time since the Pelicanrefs.com tournament in 2002(?). Lancers have constructed a wonderful, full-sized pitch with high posts.

Both teams are well coached in different ways. CB runs a traditional warm up session whereas Lancers incorporate Rochambeau (rock-paper-scissors) into its pre-game. This was a distraction to CB as one coach said, "Ignore them. That's their JV team distracting you. Their Varsity side is warming up farther away." This wasn't true but certainly got the CB players back into focusing on the game.

The teams are well disciplined and demonstrate good athleticism. Early on, poor tactical decisions--allowing the ball to hit the ground off kicks and ill-advised passing--resulted in turnovers. Nonetheless, CB maintained constant pressure on the Lancers. Three unconverted CB tries to one Lancers penalty goal put the visitors leading at half 15-3.

The second half opened with CB exploiting the smallest of gaps and sprinting around the pitch. With another try in hand, CB was again five meters out when Lancers #7 decided to come offside and molest the scrum half before the ball was out. Off he went to the bin for a professional foul. This provided the Lancers with an opportunity to play a 14-man defense of which CB took advantage scoring another try.

Lancers were undeterred and capitalized off the ensuing kick off to force a turnover and attack down the side of the field. The hosts were awarded a penalty and kicked for touch earning a lineout five meters from goal. The referee warned CB about numbers in the lineout and to "lose one" to no avail. CB stole the lineout and was penalized for numbers. Lancers took a quick tap and was tackled by a CB player who chose to neither retreat to the goal line nor wait to be put onside. His transgression was viewed as a professional foul and the teams were even at 14 players each. Lancers scored easily off the next phase but were unable to convert.

With time waning in the match, CB turned up the speed and started dashing around the pitch scoring two tries, including the final one with a run that started five meters out and demonstrated speed that BALCO clients would envy.

Clean and competitive. It's hard to ask for more. Kudos to the teams for their participation. Dan Rose did a good job despite comments from one (or two) Lancers supporters. Afterward, we convened at the "Coach's Table" at Mountain Mike's for refreshments.

Elsie Allen 14 – SANTA ROSA 22 Referee: Joe Leisek
Touch Judges: Ken Jacobson, Oscar Hernandez
A large, noisy crowd filled The Lobodome on a stunningly warm evening to watch the last game of the Redwood Empire Conference season. It's always a big game when Elsie Allen hosts their conference arch-rivals, the combined Santa Rosa-Cardinal Newman club. But this time there was a league title at stake and several elaborate playoff scenarios to be resolved. (The referee understood few of these but was glad others did).

For the visitors, it was simple: A win meant the Redwood Empire Conference championship and a first-round home playoff game. Santa Rosa had defeated all comers this season, including a come-from-behind win against an excellent Marin team, but Elsie had been playing very well in the latter stages of the season. Both teams had recently beaten Canadian opponents: Elsie as hosts for two matches, Rosa as tourists on Vancouver Island, where they posted a 3-0 record.

Rosa's success was due mainly to their size and strength in the forward pack, which includes several all-league linemen from the Cardinal Newman football team, and their excellent halfback-flyhalf combination of Joe Silvestri and Andrew Bartlett. This year Elsie found themselves with a young team in rebuilding mode, but their combination of speed and technical skill (especially tackling) is always dangerous. Both teams feature excellent coaching: Rosa by Lynn Meister and Denis Bruno, Elsie by Alan Petty and Tyler Ahlborn.

The early stages of the contest featured Rosa dominating possession, but nearly all of it in their own half. They retained the ball very well and ran right at the Elsie backline, which is always a gamble given the home side's swarming defense. There was little kicking, as Rosa instead continued to try to penetrate the Elsie backline. There was a long stretch early in the game where there were no stoppages at all. Finally, Rosa broke through. From a ruck near the Elsie goal line, a Rosa prop crashed forward and passed the ball to a loose forward who scored the game's first try. Rosa scored another try in the first half off a quick-tap from a penalty about 10 meters from the Elsie goal.

The visitors scored twice in the second half; first with a try that came from a quick maul formed by Bartlett and a crashing wing, the second through a penalty kick. Elsie stormed back late in the half with two converted tries, the first from an intercept just inside their own 22 meter line. After the second try brought the score to within 22-14, the crowd was electric. But the final whistle soon came and Rosa had earned a conference championship.

Afterwards, with the teams gathered at midfield, both head coaches spoke. Meister said his team may have had the physical edge, but Elsie showed real heart and played with intensity for 70 minutes. Petty said though the loss hurt, his team would be on the sidelines cheering for Rosa during the playoffs.

An inspiring night of rugby.

Thanks to Ken (Rosa) and Oscar (Lobos) for running touch.


LAMORINDA Frosh/soph 30 – Oakland Warthogs 7 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
A warm day in Oakland and everyone had fun. One of the newest youth clubs invited one of the most established to have a go. Lamo showed up with their typical hoard of players, many of whom volunteered to play for the other guys.

It was a pleasure to see Eddie Lopez, former Old Gael, getting a new club going. Bo Myersiek was his typical good-humored self.

Humboldt girls HS – Mother Lode CANCELED
It is a tribute to the strong rugby spirit of Pelican Refs that three people volunteered to referee this match when it was announced.

So don’t anyone go thinking that it was called for want of a qualified official!

PENINSULA GREEN 41 – College Park 26 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Green dominated set pieces and controlled possession while College Park made the most of their opportunities pulling to within 10 points with about 10 minutes left before conceding a late try that left Peninsula Green comfortably ahead.

Hayward 27 – LAMORINDA 31 Referee: Tom Zanarini
First let me thank Bruce and Pete for reassigning me to this match. I was originally scheduled for the Santa Rosa v SFGG b-side but it seems SFGG is not able to put forth a competitive B-side lately so I was fortunate to pick up this high school match.

Hot day on an open and dry pitch. Lamorinda were a bit sore warming up due to their Friday night match v an Aussie touring side who were great sideline spectators for Saturday. Once the posts were set and the field lined we were able to kick off only half an hour late.

Hayward came out fighting and scored the first two tries at 32 and 25 minutes (remaining). Lamo got their bearings and returned with tries at 20, 12 and 0. One converted each put the halftime score at 17-12 for Lamo.

Second half was a bit more interesting. Lack of discipline by Hayward got the best of them and ended up a man down due to repeated infractions. #13 was cautioned for not wrapping then shortly after returning was sent off for the same. Scores by Hayward at 30 and 28 minutes were quickly put to rest by a recharged Lamo squad who had many seniors playing possibly their last match in green.

Lamo scored at 12 minutes and 9, converting both. Hayward fought back to score at full time, but missing all their conversions in the second half put them out of the running. Great game by both teams. I was told after that Hayward is made up of majority freshman! This team is one to watch in the coming years.

Thanks to all the coaches and supporters for a great rugby day!

SF/Golden Gate 0 – MASSEY HS New Zealand 38 Referee: Joe Androvich


Thursday evening, 7 PM, at Hayward Adult School
D3 Playoff:
Mission – Vacaville Referee: Joe Androvich

If you would like to run touch for this one, please contact Joe.


Saturday, April 5:
VACAVILLE 29 – Humboldt 17 Referee: JC Van Staden

WOW, is probably the only way to describe this 3rd division match. With all the referees tied up in all the play-off’s that were going on in California, I got to witness the intensity that made me love the game more than food (maybe not more than wine), out of the best seat on the pitch (not that there were any seats to pick from ;-).

Humboldt won the toss and decided to “kick in the second half”. In my 8yr of rugby refereeing, I have never heard about an explanation like that before, but, whatever works to get the job done, right?!

Vacaville took the challenge though, and opened the score board with a converted try just minutes after the match started. With the wind in their favor, and some pinpoint kicking from the fullback, Vacaville ran in another, but got answered right back with a brilliant try by the 8man of Humboldt. So the game was on, and Humboldt did not travel this far just to give up without a fight. With halftime being only 4min and 20seconds, it was clear to me that the adrenaline had kicked in, and being tired was not an option.

Humboldt started with a long kickoff, as “planned”, trying to pin down Vacaville in their own 22, but could not manage to keep the counter attack by Vacaville’s 8man under control, and with some good running and second phase balls, turned it into a another try. But this was far from over! Humboldt had a pep talk, and with some diehard supporters on the sideline, they scrambled themselves back with a well-worked try to close the gap once again. This was by far the shortest 40 min of my life in a second half. By having 7 blood bin subs we had to go through, and 3 yellow cards for repeated infringement, it was clear that they would leave it all on the field.

Vacaville lost out on a few penalty kicks, but made up by yet another try, this time by their scrumhalf, which put them in a very comfortable spot, with the clock running out. Humboldt did not disappoint though... With the time all out, they kept it in play, and the fullback snatched up a loose ball, and ran in a 60 meter try under the uprights.

This was a good day for rugby, to see two 3rd division teams play rugby as if there were a crowd of 80k looking at them, and no tomorrow.


As the season winds down some of us start to think about SEVENS. Real rugby starts in the summer.

Matter of fact, it started 125 years ago this very month:


Proud Birds
The latest salvo in the NCRRS’ recruiting effort rings out at Rocca Field and will continue to resound: Bjorn Stumer, Tina Nesberg and John Pohlman help spread the news.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris