Monday, April 28, 2008




The Grizzly Panel has a new cub: Joe Androvich has been promoted to B3 by the Pacific Coast Rugby Referee Society.

This was announced by REO Matt Eason pursuant to receipt of a report on a game that Joe refereed at the collegiates in Albuquerque.

Ave Androvich!


With the 2008 fifteen-a-side season winding down, this is the last time we need to know who is available.

There are a few games this coming Saturday that will need refs. Please let us know if you would like to referee.

Also, the Pacific Coast High School Invitational will be held at Stanford on May 9-11. This event will be assigned by the PCRRS, but there will almost certainly be availability for a number of NorCal refs. Let us know whether you would be able to referee on any combination of Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


Those of you who have been on exchange to the East Midlands are welcome to go again. Please put your name forward if you are interested. We also could use an evaluator or referee coach, and spouses/significant others are also invited.

How often do you get a chance to go to Europe on a most-expenses-paid vacation with plenty of rugby and refereeing thrown in as a bonus?


Olympic Club, Hayward, Haggis, Las Vegas and Los Angeles have qualified for the sweet sixteen. This will be played May 17-18 in Austin, Texas.

The Sacramento Capitals, Red Mountain, Reno and Bend will be joining them deep in the heart of Texas.

Los Angeles 12 – OLYMPIC CLUB 65
OMBAC 49 – San Mateo 24
LAS VEGAS 41 – Haggis 20
Belmont Shore 18 – HAYWARD 68


Senors – Hayward Old Boys Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Bald Eagles – Silverhawks Referee: Chris Labozzetta
We know how many of our readers have been anticipating the results of the two old boys curtain-raisers, but we have to inform you that the referees have not sent in any reports nor has anyone let us know who won.

The Hail, Pelicus! editorial board regrets our deficiencies.

SF/GOLDEN GATE 58 – Old Puget Sound Beach 7 Referee: Dave Peters
Touch Judges: Aruna Ranaweera, John Pohlman

Golden Gate is tied for first place in its conference on the basis of won-loss record, but is fourth by points. However, this weekend SFGG plays a team below them in the standings while two of those above have to play each other. A win on Saturday against Santa Monica should guarantee them the playoffs.


Santa Rosa 15 – CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 24 Referee: John Pohlman
Touch Judges: Joe Leisek and Ray Schwartz

High School playoffs for the only sport to crown a national champion started this Friday in Santa Rosa. Yes rugby is the only high school sport to have a national champion.

The drive from Fremont to Santa Rosa on a Friday afternoon was the only drawback. But Eileen and I arrived around 5:00 PM for a 7:30 PM kick-off.

The game was played at the Cardinal Newman Football field. Good grass, decently marked and a few hundred fans.

What a game. I think everyone felt this would be a fierce competition.

The game started three minutes early. Too much adrenaline, too much excitement to wait any longer, plus the players were ready to go.

Santa Rosa kicked off and started a brief kicking match. The first few possessions were all kicked for territory. This somewhat surprised me. Santa Rosa had at least four very large football players from their championship football run in the forwards. Christian Brothers had three backs who seemed to be able to score with each possession.

The game settled down. Lots of big tackles. The CB made lots of tackles on the big strong SR forwards. CB's aggressive play cost them a penalty 26 minutes into the half for the first score. CB's #13 James Jones, my man of the match, scored a try right before half time.

At half time Joe, Ray and I discussed the very competitive first half. The questions were could CB keep making the tackles on SR's big forwards. Could SR keep making the tackles one CB's outstanding backline.

Half time score CB 7 SR 3.

Well the second half answers were yes and no. CB's #13 Jones, a water polo player, scored three more tries. SR's big props scored two.
The real difference in the game was CB's aggressive play and making the tackles on the powerful SR forwards. SR's backs just could not constantly break the gain line. Nor could they contain the #13 Jones.

This was a fun exciting game to watch, play and referee. These two teams showed great discipline and spirit.
Final score CB 24 SR 15.

Golden Gate 31 – JESUIT 32 Referee: John Pohlman
Touch Judges: David Heath and Chris Labozzetta

Last year at the end of the season I recapped how many blowout games I had refereed. It seemed that a 20 point game was close. That was last year.

On this absolutely beautiful Saturday for rugby, Golden Gate was hosting Jesuit in a high school playoff game.

Let me recap how this game came to be:
The South Bay Conferences #1 & #2 teams were not allowed to move into the playoffs due to activity at last week’s game. This allowed South Bay #3 and #4 or #5 would step up. #3 played Lamo. #4 and #5 were not available. Someone suggested Sacramento's #3 perennial powerhouse Jesuit step up.

So it was agreed Golden Gate would host Jesuit, but would this be a friendly or a knockout game? I called GG coach Mike Caravelli and he informed me yes this was a knockout game.

That type of grit impressed me. GG could have had a bye, or could have played for fun against a team that had beaten them earlier in the year. But if you want to be the best, you not only need to beat the best, but act the part.

Game on!

I arrived at Treasure Island around 12:00 for a 1:15 kick off. The second of two Old Boys games was being played. Good amount of fans, great weather and possibly the most scenic field location in...well, anywhere.

Golden Gate got on the board early with a penalty kick six minutes in. #15 Sean McHugh was five for six in kicking attempts. One of the stars of the game. Jesuit's #13 Kraft picked up a misplayed GG ball and scored two minutes later. Jesuit's backs scored another try dotted down by #14 Bovill.

Golden gate seemed to have had enough at this point. It seemed like they turned it up to a man. GG's standout #8 Danny Barrett started the scoring at 17 minutes. GG scored two more tries in the last ten minutes of the first half to take control. At 24 minutes #6 Mike Morello scored followed a few minutes later by GG's #11 Cameron Spenor. GG's #11 was warned for taunting the defenders as he dotted the ball down.

GG seemed to be taking control of the game. In scoring, field position and ball possession.

Half time score Golden Gate 24 Jesuit 10.

Jesuit came out strong to start the second half with a quick forward try finished by #2 Turner. GG were verbally getting fired up, but as we all know, letting your opponent back into a game can be dangerous. Jesuit's number #8 Fugina finished off another forward try five minute later.

Score GG 24 Jesuit 20 with twenty minutes to play.

GG's #8 Danny took off with another try, slipping tackles, stiff arming tacklers and stretching out for a score a few minutes later. McHugh slotted the kick to remain perfect for the day.

GG 31 Jesuit 20.

Again GG seemed to relax.
Did I mention there was no quit in Jesuit? Jesuit's #1 Kai finished off another strong forward movement with a pick and drive which resulted in another score. Jesuit converted their first kick of the day.

GG 31 Jesuit 27.

At 21 minutes GG's flanker was sent off with a yellow card for repeat infringements at the tackle. The rest of the game was just plain good, hard, fun rugby. No momentum shifts just big hits and loads of effort. Jesuit scored their last try at 30 minutes.

Jesuit 32 GG 31.

GG stepped it up to a frenzied pace. Playing the last five minutes in Jesuit’s twenty. GG was rewarded with a penalty at 34 minutes. The kick was thirty meters out to the left of the goalposts. A challenging kick but GG's kicker was perfect to this point in the game. GG went for goal and missed by inches. One of the many advantages of having quality referees as touch judges was we all three saw the kick wide by inches and there were no comments.

Everyone seemed quite interested in the time remaining, about 45 seconds. The Jesuit kicker asked could he kick it straight out. I said yes but there is time for at least one more play. GG got the ball. Immediately getting it to game breaker Danny. Jesuit made the tackles, but GG continued recycling. Finally after seven phases the GG backline felt the pressure and mishandled.
Game over.

Jesuit 32 Golden Gate 31.

Thanks to the players for letting me be part of one of the most exciting and entertaining rugby matches.

LAMORINDA 55 – Peninsula Green 17 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Sunny and hot on the artificial turf at Miramonte HS in Orinda. After a 15-minute delay to address jersey color-clash, the playoff match got underway: 35 minute halves. Forward exchanges were fairly balanced, but Lamorinda's speedy backs created large holes in the Peninsula Green defense to lead 27-7 at half. The second half was more of the same until the last 10 minutes when wholesale substitutions by Lamorinda allowed Peninsula Green to fight back with two tries at the end. Lamorinda won comfortably, 9 tries to 3.

MOTHER LODE 22 – Marin 10 Referee: Joe Androvich
No report received.


The Sacramento Capitals and Red Mountain will represent the PCRFU in the D2 nationals May 17-18, while Reno and Bend will be the representatives for D3.

RENO 47 – Mission 20 Referee: Eric Zimmerman (PNW)
BEND 51 – Camelback 12 Referee: Terry Helmer (Minnesota)
Championship: RENO 46 – Bend 28
Consolation: CAMELBACK over Mission by forfeit

Pool A
RED MOUNTAIN 41 – Seahawks 11 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Touch Judges: Mike King, Terry Helmer
Fourth Official: Dan Wilson
Fresno lived up to its reputation this weekend, as we had 94 Saturday and 96 yesterday.

Saturday I was assigned the Red Mountain - San Jose match. Red Mountain was too much for San Jose taking a 12 point lead early in the first half and never looking back. The first Red Mountain score came off of mishandling by San Jose 5 meters from the Red Mountain goal line, with the ensuing 95 meter run, to score at the other end. San Jose mishandled again at mid-field for another Red Mountain score. San Jose kicked a couple of penalty goals about mid-way through the half, but Red Mountain powered back with 2 more trys to make it 24 to 6 at halftime.

San Jose started off strongly in the second half with an unconverted try early, but that was all they could muster. Red Mountain controlled the rest of the match scoring 3 trys.
Many thanks to Terry Helmer and Mike King for running touch and to Dan Wilson for being the #4

EAST PALO ALTO 27 – Snake River 25 Referee: Mark Zetterberg
Championship: RED MOUNTAIN 41 – East Palo Alto 24
Consolation: SEAHAWKS 27 – Snake River 26

Pool B
SACRAMENTO 32 – Tempe 19 Referee: Don Pattalock
PORTLAND 31 – Provo 17 Referee: John Meyers (South)
Championship: SACRAMENTO 18 – Portland 17
Consolation: PROVO 36 – Tempe 23 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Touch Judges: Don Pattalock, Dan Wilson
Fourth Official: Giles Wilson
Sunday I was assigned the Tempe - Provo match. It was a back and forth match, with Provo scoring a converted try and Tempe scoring an unconverted try. Provo scored another converted try with Tempe answering with a penalty goal. Tempe scored anonther penalty goal to get within 3, but Provo scored and unconverted try near at about the 33rd minute, to make it Provo 19 - Tempe 11 at the break. A couple of late first half yellow cards to Provo for repeat infringement meant Provo would start the second half with 13.

Tempe came out strong in the second half scoring an unconverted try at about the 5 minute mark and them scoring a converted try about half way through to take the lead 23 to 19. Provo kept trading yellow carded players as, seemingly one would come on about the time another would commit another repeat infringement and head over to spend 10 minutes of quality time with the #4 official Giles Wilson. Provo was finally back to full strength at about the 25th minute and quickly put up a converted try and them a couple of unconverted trys to end the match.

Again, many thanks to Don Pattalock and Dan Wilson for running touch and to #4 Giles Wilson.
Great job by everybody this weekend!!


NorCal High School Semi-finals:

Mother Lode – Lamorinda Ref: TBA
4 PM Saturday: Christian Brothers – Jesuit Ref: TBA

USA Rugby Collegiate Championships

Friday - Division I semi-finals:

11 AM: Penn State – Brown
1 PM: Stanford – Navy
3 PM: Cal – St. Mary's
5 PM: BYU – Colorado

Saturday – Finals:

Division II:
11 AM: Minnesota-Duluth – Shippensburg
1 PM: Radford – Utah Valley State

Division I:
3 PM: Women’s winners from Friday
5 PM: Men’s winners from Friday


Junior Varsity: Santa Rosa 21 – CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 36 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Friday Night, under the lights, Cardinal Newman High

Partly because I am just a fan of good rugby, partly because I am still recruiting sides to join the PCIT, and partly because my wife was down in Fresno for the Men's Playoffs... and certainly to join John and Joe, I hopped on my trusty motorbike and headed out to Santa Rosa Friday afternoon, to run touch with Joe Leisek, and for John Pohlman.

I am now 12 months and one week post surgery on my right knee. I had torn the articulate cartilage from my femur, and needed multiple microfractures and extensive rest and recovery. Post surgery, it took quite a while for that reality to set in. I wondered if I'd ever run again, but started running touch in February, occasionally overdoing it, but getting stronger and more stable over time. I had put the knee under test increasingly over the last two weeks.

I enjoyed helping John. The scene, under the lights at Cardinal Newman High, was pretty energized by perhaps 300 fans and 50 players on both sides. "Bubba," Christian Brothers' outside center, scored 4 tries, and John looked to me for confirmation on two of them. Rosa had some great players, but weak links in a just a few key positions.

As the A Side ended, it was clear John and Joe would take off, but both sides wanted to play another. I asked both sides to please provide a ref, but none came forward. Against Kat's better judgment, I borrowed Joe's flags, and grabbed my whistle, promising to never keep up with any breakaways!

Brothers kicked off, and Rosa scored from a driving maul that covered 40 meters, making it look very easy. I figured this would be high scoring, but a little defense, please! Brothers came back through superior play at scrumhalf, in the centers, and with a more tenacious pack. The score reached 24-7 at the half, with Rosa enjoying little quality possession over the last 25 minutes. My knee seemed fine.

Early in the second half I found reason to caution each side once for repeated infringements at the tackle, but otherwise this was a spirited and well-played game. I was content to allow extended periods of play without the whistle, several reaching 3 minutes, and one nearly 5. Rosa came back to score two converted tries to make a game of it (I was impressed with Carmelo, their substitute flyhalf), while Brothers closed out the second half scoring to take a convincing 36-21 victory.

Aftermatch I spoke with Brothers' inside center, a track star, who had just missed getting his eligibility completed in time to join his varsity side's playoff run. He executed some nifty try producing moves, and displayed great strength, speed, balance, confidence, and joy! Both sides had nearly a dozen kids who could start or at least contribute to most other Varsity sides in NorCal. A sign of good health for both clubs in the years ahead.

It was pleasure to be back.


Just as the Sacramento area leads the nation in the caliber of high school rugby, so the Sacramento Bee consistently provides excellent coverage of our sport.

This is a feature on the Sac Valley championship match, which was refereed by Jim Crenshaw:

All Smiles
Paul Bretz and John Coppinger had a fine time in the Caymans. We have photos of them standing in the surf holding the William Webb Ellis Cup.

Here are, from left to right, Alister Robertson(Cayman), Derek Stoltz (Canada), Tony Spreadbury, Paul, Roy Harvey (Canada) posing in front of "Bill" at a NAWIRA fundraising dinner.


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