Tuesday, October 21, 2008




This Saturday finds plenty o’ rugby down on the Farm, with this year’s edition of the venerable Stanford Tens.

This is the perfect event for new refs! PLEASE, if you fit into this category, let us know that you can be there all day or part of the day. You’ll get short games with plenty of peer support and positive feedback to help you on your way.

We need at least a dozen referees this weekend. So far we have four. Hit Reply now and put up your hand.

Tournaments continue to be added. We will be having two to three small tournaments every weekend except Thanksgiving between now and early December. The rugby players of NorCal need your commitment to their pre-season preparation.


Rumor has reached the Senate that there is resentment afoot in the land, resentment that Northern California should be so well-represented at the territorial, national and International levels in rugby refereeing, evaluating, coaching, administration, touch judging, fourth/fifth/sixth officiating and in the judiciary realm with citing officers and match commissioners.

Let there be no mistake: it is our policy to feed such resentments.

Our latest initiative should provide a hearty meal to those who would dissipate their time and energy in envy rather than enterprise.

The NCRRS Board of Directors would like to announce sponsorship of a referee-specific professional fitness training program overseen by a licensed professional trainer for our members.

Daniel Kemenetzky has spoken to us at our meetings about the physical requirements that are placed upon rugby referees. Daniel, who played the game in Argentina and once refereed a bit here in Pelicanland, has developed a plan to help any referee achieve maximum potential.

The evaluation phase involves an interview, a medical, athletic and injury history, some physiologic measurements, and video analysis of the trainee’s running and refereeing style. This last utilizes a GPS tracker, enable time-and-motion studies, with simultaneous heart-rate monitoring to determine cardiac responses to different paces and distances.

Daniel will then make recommendations for training and correction of identified problems, and will monitor progress with on-going sessions.

Follow-on studies will entail at least ten monthly sessions to gauge progress and make adjustments to the training regimen.

The NCRRS is willing to pay half the cost of this training program. Let us know of your interest to discuss fees and scheduling. The cost will be within the range of a gym membership and/or a personal trainer.


If you would like to go to Victoria, British Columbia, on exchange next month, please let us know.

This five-day trip over Thanksgiving weekend (Wednesday-Sunday) is one of the highlights of our exchange calendar. The rugby and the hosting are top-drawer.

Those who have already been are welcome to go again. Spouses would be welcome. Two exchangees will be selected from those available.


UC DAVIS 63 – Vacaville 15 Referee: John Pohlman
UC Davis hosted Vacaville in the first game of the season for both sides. Kickoff was moved up to 11:00 AM to accommodate a fundraiser where players worked the UC Davis football game.

The backrows for Davis and Vacaville started the scoring.

Davis's #8 scored a try five minutes in. Vacaville #7 followed ten minutes later. Davis's captain and hooker Angus scored a well worked forward try at 20 minutes.

Since this was the first game for both and both had twenty five or more players it was decided to take a break at around the twenty minute mark. Water and subs came on.

Davis #15 broke though for a try, followed by Vacaville's #10. Close game two tries to three. Half time score: Davis 21 Vacaville 10.

A very well contested game. Davis was a bit fitter and much faster. Winning breakdowns with speed and numbers. Vacaville competed well using strength and experience. Both teams playing mostly positive rugby.

Before the game the Vacaville Captain who played scrumhalf and Flyhalf, Matt, said he was afraid the Davis speed and conditioning might wear down his side. Matt had played for Davis two years ago.

Well, Matt was correct.

Davis scored six tries in the second half, all of them converted. Vacaville was able to cross the line only once more.

Davis looked good. Fairly fit, finishing opportunities. That was the biggest difference of the game. Davis's speed allowed them to score on loads of opportunity. Vacaville would make breaks only to be caught.

Davis's fullback was 9 for 9 in try conversions.

BRFC & HSBRFC 2008-9 Season Kick-off:
BERKELEY RFC 45 – Haas School of Business RFC 7
Referees: Paul Berman (80 minutes); Adam Browne (20 minutes); Serban Simu (20 minutes)
Touch Judges: Adam Browne & Serban Simu
Referee Coach/Observer: Paul Berman

Venue: Job Corp Field, Treasure Island, San Francisco, Kick-off 1327; field firm under foot.
Weather: Warm & sunny

Comments: Six 20 minute periods played. Four movements under the baton of veteran ref/coach Berman & one movement apiece under the able capable associate conductors Browne & Simu.

Two clubs just beginning to get their feet wet after the long summer hiatus played an up-tempo exciting attacking no holds barred game with relatively minor ball handling errors.

Altogether a wonderful afternoon of hard fun open running rugby football!

It was delightful to have such a significant crowd of pleasant positive touch-line support & to observe the depth of talent in both clubs.

Following the final movement a lovely all inclusive barbeque was laid on by host's Berkeley.

Point spread: BRFC – 7 tries, 5 conversion goals
HSBRFC – 01 try, 1 conversion goal


Report by Bryant Byrnes:
Santa Cruz Slugfest. A cool clear fall day at arguably the prettiest venued pitch in NorCal. Seven college sides, five refs, many matches. A really nice season curtain raiser for all involved.

Host UCSC and tourney director Scott Carson did themselves proud. The fields were in great shape, a trainer was provided, food and shelter for the refs. The trainer was especially appreciated because when a player seemed to serious problems she was on it immediately. (The fellow ultimately was fine and was able to spectate the rest of the tourney.)

In that it was the Slugfest, it was free form rather than formal brackets. Santa Clara's firsts and a greatly revitalized San Jose State were undefeated. A new D2 team (at least new to me) Sierra College, made a good showing.

Report by Eric Rauscher:

No traffic to speak of so I arrived earlier than I thought I would. Games were to start at 7:30 am and of course they started late so I could have done the first one, but Sam agreed to take one before me. The weather was beautiful and the pitches were well laid out and in fine shape. I did three games with rest periods in-between.

First game: USF 0 – SIERRA JC 10
The game started well with two evenly matched teams. At about 18 min into the 25 min half the USF #3 (Gus, didn't get his last name) went down in an off-play collision with a concussion. Stop game, call over trainer. Told the captains to stand by. By the time I got back to Gus, the coach from Sierra was already on the phone calling 911. Firetruck and ambulance arrive. Gus was awake and breathing ok when they pulled away. Hopefully it was just a bad bump on the head. Started game again and within 25 seconds, the Sierra captain #10 (Steve, again did not get his last name) when down with a groin pull and knee injury. Luckily the medics were still there to assist him. Re-start game. Sierra scores two quick tries and I blow the game early, but already past the start time for the next game on the field.

Second game: USF 27 – Santa Clara 17
This was a close, hard fought back and forth game. The second half got a bit testy with some hand-bag stuff after a break-down. A player from USF came in and threw a punch. Much whistle blowing. Call captains over, tell them to settle their guys down. Yellow card the USF player. From then on play was clean and crisp. Later in the day a USF player told me that they really wanted to win that one (presumably because of the first game). I relayed that winning is one thing, but discipline is more important.

Third game: SIERRA JC 29 – Santa Clara 24
By far the best game of the day for me. The scoring was high and back and forth. With only 2 min left in the game and the score tied 24/24, Sierra pushed the ball towards Santa Clara in a steady way and won the game, but it just as well may have gone the other way. A great game to end a great day of rugby.


National D3 champions Reno Zephyrs opened the 2009 campaign with a very strong showing at their own tournament, falling 12 – 15 to Hayward in the competitive division final.

Reno will play in the NCRFU second division this year, having won national honors twice in the last five years. Earlier in the day they defeated San Mateo in another exciting game, 13 – 10.

There were also women’s and social divisions, which were played as round-robins and did not have finals. The Davis Double Deckers and the Amazons were strong in the women’s bracket while Santa Rosa did well in the social. (No complete listing of games and results was to be found at the end of play, so we cannot say much with certainty.)

There have been tournaments in the ‘greater Reno’ area in September-October going back to at least 1980, with the Tahoe Tournament which was held in Truckee. By the later eighties it was held in Gardenerville and then Sparks, where it was known as the Wild West Rugby Fest and grew to attract teams such as Aspen and the Australian Combined Services. But this event went away about ten years ago.

Last year it was revived in a two-day format at Mira Loma Park, which features three decent-sized pitches with lights. This year the number of entrants expanded but the event was reduced to Saturday-only. Twenty teams were scheduled; four did not show but two others appeared, for a total of eighteen.

New referees included Matt Samuel, making his NorCal whistle debut. Matt will be playing rugby this season but appears to have a future should he decide to give up being tackled.

Also taking a first star turn was Lee Salgado, from Reno, who was coaching the Nevada women but was convinced to put her level-one referee training into action. Lee’s confidence visibly grew in her match and she was all smiles afterwards. Coaching’s loss could be refereeing’s gain.

Old campaigners included Sam Reagle and Ray Schwartz, both coming back from a year off due to injury/surgery. Each managed three games on rebuilt chassis.

Other refs included Chris Labozzetta, Preston Gordon, Scott Wood, Jim Crenshaw, Don Pattalock and Bruce Carter.

Final: Reno Zephyrs 12 – HAYWARD GRIFFINS 15 Referee: Don Pattalock
Assistant Referees: Jim Crenshaw, Bruce Carter

As the sun set behind snow-dusted Mt. Rose, the field lights came up and the contest began. A large crowd surrounded the pitch with anticipation.

Reno has a number of big, powerful runners, who consistently made holes and hard yards. Hayward fronted up and a battle of collisions ensued.

The crowd was stunned when Nelo Lui, on one of his darting, scampering runs, executed his trademark side-step directly into a massive, thundering tackle, full-force and flush-on. If he hadn’t gotten up, it would have been a tragedy but no-one would have been surprised. And of course he didn’t take so much as a minute, but continued the game.

Your writer does a fair amount of treating people for work-related injuries. If the average person incurred such trauma at their job, they would never work again. The disability would be famous, permanent, and broadcast to the heavens. Lawyers would flock (well-meaning all of them, we hasten to add).

But ruggers – they get up and play on.

Reno’s kicker, who earlier in the day had landed some penalties from halfway, closely missed two in the first half, at the end of which Reno was ahead 12-10.

But Hayward were to control play in the second half and score the only points.

It was an exciting end to a long day of rugby.

Report by Sam Reagle:
My compliments to the Zephyrs for hosting a great tournament. I'm sure I speak for all of the referees when I say thanks for the top-shelf treatment. The spread from L&L Barbeque was delicious and the tent from Scheel's really saved the day.

HAGGIS 12 – Chico 9 Referee: Sam Reagle
This was the first game of the day for both teams here at the Reno Tournament and they came to play. It was a hard hitting game between a strong side from Utah and a very cohesive team from NorCal.

Chico got on the scoreboard first with a penalty kick just one minute into the game, but Haggis' good ball handling took the lead a few minutes later with an unconverted try. After about 10 minutes of very fluid rugby, Chico was on the attack again when an off-sides penalty against Haggis gave Chico the lead again at 6-5 with Haggis converting a try to finish out the first half scoring 12-6.

In the second half, the defenses seem to take over as both teams kept each other out of their respective goals, but Chico's penalty kick with 9 minutes to go raised the intensity of both teams for the remainder of the game.

This was an amazingly well-played game for off-season rugby. I look forward to seeing both teams again.

Fog Women 43 – UNR Women 0 Referee: Sam Reagle
No disrespect intended to UNR who brought a young and inexperienced team in the hope of preparing them for the coming season, but this was a game of women against girls. The Fog players were bigger and faster. They also have a scrumhalf who runs like a gazelle. The scoring was fairly systematic with 4 first half tries and 3 in the second. UNR played hard and attacked well at times, but the Fog defense always managed to make plays when they needed them.

Humboldt 19 – Santa Rosa 7 Referee: Sam Reagle
This game was scheduled to kick-off at the same time as the big final between Hayward & Reno. Both teams wanted to play, but wanted to watch the final also. We found an empty pitch and kicked off early. Being late in the day with 2 games under their belt, I would not have been surprised if the players had let up a little, but that wasn't the case. It was a multi-phase, well-played game by both teams. The first Humboldt try worked its way downfield and finished with 3 crisp passes inside 5 meters as each player was being hit. Every phase was contested including another attempted try held up at goal. It was very good rugby by both teams.

Humboldt also won the boat race immediately afterwards.


Report from Paul Bretz:
I was fortunate to spend 5 days with several young upwardly bound referees at a Referees with Potential camp in New Mexico in conjunction with the High Desert Classic Tournament. Camp participants included Scott Florence from Florida, Mike Kelley from Philadelphia, Bridget Tannan from Boston, Brian Zapp from Colorado, Leah Berard from Minnesota, and Andrew Ormsby from Utah.

The camp focused on referee development, fitness testing and training, referee coaching and match review/analysis. Ed Todd and I were the presenters. Participants arrived Wednesday evening, put through classwork and field work Thursday and Friday, and worked the tournament Saturday and Sunday. After each match participants received coaching and feedback from Ed and myself.

It is anticipated that more camps in the near future will be forthcoming.


All of you who might find yourself refereeing a game in the next year need to take the time to sign and submit the NCRFU Safety Protocol.

This can be downloaded from our website:


You may sign it electronically and send it in via e-mail, or print out, sign and snail-mail in the signature page.


18474 Deertrack Place
Salinas, CA 93908


Report by Nik Talemo:

Thanks for the updates last weekend. Below is a short cap of our Fiji Day 7s in Oregon:

Fiji Independence Day 7s Tourney - Portland, Oregon

Final: UTAH SAINTS 19 – Portland Tsunami 7 Referee: Nik Talemo

Oct 10th-11th saw a full 7s Tournament that celebrated the Fiji Independence Day in wet Portland, Oregon.

Wanda and I arrived on Friday morning and were met by local old boy Rich Shrama who put us up at the Marriot Hotel for two nights. I was the only Pelican who flew up and was later joined at the pitch by a lone Portland cowboy Bernie. Eight teams showed up and played two pool games each on Friday. On Saturday another Portland cowboy showed up by the name of James.

The pools were made up of the following teams from all around the US:

Utah Saints Seattle Fijians
Portland Tsunami Bay Barbarians
Santa Rosa I & II Sacramento Lions
Fresh off the Boat(Washington) British Army(Germany)

James and Bernie had a quarterfinal each and I did the rest up to the Final game. The Utah Saints had the likes of the US Eagles Pate Tuilevuka and Isikia and two former Fiji 7s reps and were too experienced for the local Tongan Tsunami team. They won $4,000 and the Tsunami team got $1,000.

We used the ELV rules on both days and I was constantly refreshing our local cowboys about these changes, and the players I must say have grasped the new law changes quickly and taking advantage of it from the quick free kick taps. We were later rewarded with Meal Tickets and Allowances after the game and got invited to their Annual After Match Function.

Kudos to the Saints and the Organizers.

Reno Corps
Referees in Reno about to attack the Island-style feast after the festivities:

Standing, L to R: Jim Crenshaw, Don Pattalock and daughter, Sam Reagle, Bruce Carter, Ben Whisky (well, he likes refs), Ray Schwartz
Not standing, L to R: Preston Gordon, Lee Salgado, Scott Wood, Chris Labozzetta

We promise that next week’s photo will not feature Preston again.


For the Senate
Pelicus Script