Thursday, June 05, 2008



NORTH BAY SEVENS TOURNEY: The First Taste of Sevens Blood
Report by Septenae:

On a warm morning on the last day of May, Baracus scored one try more than Marin Sevens to claim the Cup of the North Bay Sevens Tourney.

And later in the day (“South Pacific time”) Lautoka beat Suva and Coral Coast beat the local Sparta side. No injuries, no conversions, only tries.


There have been eleven national championships awarded by USA Rugby so in the past month. NCRFU teams won four of them and the PCRFU six overall.

High School team: JESUIT
Men’s College D1: CALIFORNIA
Women’s College D1: STANFORD
Men’s Club D3: RENO

High School Club: Highland (Utah)
Men’s Club D2: Red Mountain (Arizona)


The Pelican Refs are in the process of developing a referee-specific fitness training program, involving the services of a professional trainer.

We are looking for someone who is serious about getting to the top of the game, willing to commit and devote the time necessary. If you would like to be the guinea pig, please let us know.


Pacific Coast Pelican U23, 5 – TONGA U20, 24 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Actually the home team featured players (mostly islanders) from clubs (SFGG, EPA, Hayward, Mission, San Mateo) in Pelican-land. The team was coached by John Tyler and Tasi Mounga. Since they wore Grizzly jerseys the team was called the Pacific Coast Pelicans.

NorCal Tongan Select 5 – TONGA U20 49 Referee: Pete Smith
Touch Judges: John Pohlman, Eugene Baker
No report received.


This Saturday in Port Costa, a lovely little burg with a charming restaurant:

Drinks 5:30, dinner 6:30, camaraderie all evening.

RSVP to Paul Berman if you will be attending with the number in your party and menu choices:

Prime Rib
Smoked Chicken
Grilled Halibut
Pasta with Prawns in Marinara
Vegetarian Pasta


Officiating rugby the last week of May usually means alumni games or USA rugby finals. But I had the pleasure of being #7 for the Tonga Under 20's versus NorCal Tongan Select. By the way, the #7 official does things the 4, 5 and 6 don't get to. With the crew of Jim Crenshaw in the middle and two Pacific Coast referees flown in the touch judge. Add Pete Smith and Tony Latu running 4 and 5, I got a great view of the game. I'll leave that game to Jim.

On Friday evening at Golden Gate’s Treasure Island field these two teams faced off for the rematch. Pete Smith was refereeing and Eugene and I were TJ's.

Tonga U-20's 49 NorCal Tongan Select 5

This game was scheduled to start at 5:00 PM and started around 5:30. The U-20's have an intense warm-up of around 30 minutes. The Select were getting organized.

The U-20's scored tries at 6, 12, 15, 22, 28 and 38 minute marks. They rucked faster ball than I have seen all season. Their backs ran angles with miss passes and change of pace. Good stuff.

The Select played hard and controlled possession for good stretches. Only to turn the ball over under the pressure of relentless tackling by the U-20's.

Second half saw the benches being emptied. U-20's 15 Select 5.

Final U-20's 49 Select 5.

This was some very entertaining rugby to watch. The 200-plus mostly Polynesian fans got a treat. Thanks.

Saturday saw the FOG hosting a mini tournament. They were trying to duplicate the format for the Bingham Cup. This was the final warm-up and going away party in preparation of their trip to Dublin Ireland.

Games started at 11:00 and were played on the hour.

Pete Smith called the first two, James Hinkin was in the middle for the next two. I did the last two.


The Fog are off to Dublin, Ireland, for the Bingham Cup. Roll Fog!

Fog Ladies – UC Santa Cruz Referee: Pete Smith
No report received.

SF Fog - Berkeley Ref: Smith
No report received.

Fog B 0 – STANISLAUS 46 Referee: James Hinkin
The Fog B team was full of players who tried hard but the speed and size of the more experienced Harlot team was the telling difference. The Harlots were able to use their own ball effectively and were quicker to react to turnover ball. Several mazy runs from the #10 caught the city youngsters flat-footed and unsure. Final score: 46-0

FOG A 31 – Stanislaus 14 Ref: Hinkin
The Fog A team took the field in preparation for their Ireland tour with their sights on the Bingham Cup. With Modesto having played essentially a first half against the Fog B side the question was whether the fresh legs of the Foggers would trump the warmed up Harlots. This was an exciting, physical match with the Fog rushing out to an early lead. The Harlots had difficulty with the swerving runs of the Fog wingers on both set pieces and counter attacks and were unable to establish forward dominance where they had a size advantage. About 10 minutes into the half they Harlots replaced a rookie front rower with an experienced trenchman, thus removing the need for uncontested scrums, and the play started to balance more. The Fog were able to hold on to a substantial lead at the half, though, going into the break at 26-0.

The second half was a much more back and forth affair with both sides attacking with all they had. The Harlots had the upper hand in this half, scoring twice to the Fog’s once, but not enough to offset the damage from the first 20 minutes.

Fog 0 – BERKLEY 32 Ref: Pohlman
Berkley was too strong for the Fog seconds winning 32-0.

BERKELEY 19 – Stanislaus 17 Ref: Pohlman
My last game saw Stanislaus playing Berkley. This was a completive game with Stanislaus leading 12-5 at half time.

Berkley lost a front row before half. This led to uncontested scrums for the second half.

With one minute left the score was Stanislaus 17 Berkley 12. Berkley won the scrum advanced a couple of phases only to turn the ball over in the tackle. Stanislaus decided to play the ball rather than end the game by putting the ball in touch.

Yeah you guessed it; Berkley incepted a pass, scored and converted the try.

Final Berkley 19 Stanislaus 17.

The post party had a great barbeque and raffle. Good luck FOG in the Bingham Cup. Any chance you get to contribute to an event which honors a hero such as Mark Bingham is a blessing.


Jesuit. We penciled this one in last week, before they kicked off.

When a single-school team has won titles against all-comers teams, you know they will clean up after the competition is restricted.


JESUIT 39 – St. Joseph’s Preparatory 0
JESUIT 29 – St. Thomas 12
JESUIT 22 – La Salette 5

In the multi-school playoffs, two teams from the same city met for the title, with Highland defeating Utah United.

Infinity Park
Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado, has to be experienced to be believed.

You’re probably read that this is the only rugby stadium funded by a municipality in the USA. (Just for perspective – almost every stadium in which professional sports are played in this country was built by public dollars.) But what strikes the first-time visitor is the degree to which this is apparent on-site: City Hall is adjacent to the pitch. The tunnel that the teams run out of leads from the basement of that building. Meals, water and sunblock for the refs were available in the city council meeting chambers/courtroom.

We’ve been rightfully proud – even boastful in these pages – of the rugby facilities built in Northern California over the past couple of decades. Now Glendale and the Eastern Rockies have a wonderful, fully-realized rugby complex to help raise the level of USA rugby another notch.

Your photographer could not talk his way onto the roof of city hall, which would have given a full-field perspective. This photo shows several features of the place.

Note the large video screen in the scoreboard – the area showing the USA Rugby logo in the photo. There are five permanent camera placements and yes, they re-run plays from all the angles. When the ref hears a collective groan a little while after a controversial call he knows he got it wrong!

A neat feature of the pitch is the berm which you can see alongside. This does several things: it discourages people from standing along the touchline, it serves to elevate the first row of seating, and it acts as a highly-efficient ball-returner, facilitating quick throw-ins.

The far side of the field has the same type of seating running the entire length, with a restaurant/bar centerfield, and under construction is a building that will contain meeting rooms and changing rooms.

The end from which the photo was taken is City Hall. There is a terrace with shops

Land has been acquired to put in a second pitch across the street, which can be used as a warm-up field or for tournaments. There is even talk of keeping one of a series of apartment buildings that now occupy that land as a dormitory for visiting teams/player assemblies/extended national team camps/etc.

If you are going to be in Denver, make it a point to stop by Infinity Park in Glendale. If you can get there for rugby, even better!


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris