Wednesday, November 19, 2008




As noted by Kurt Oeler on his Gainline website, one of the New Zealand Heartland players commented that their recent tour was their first experience of professional rugby.

We read these comments with pride, their first match having been officiated by an all-Northern California crew appointed by the Pacific Coast RRS. It would appear that a professional job done by amateurs is indistinguishable from a professional job!


The match cards have to have CIPP numbers on them – and a team representative signature – BEFORE YOU KICK OFF THE MATCH.

Any misrepresentations will them be charged to the team/person signing the card.

Clarify ahead of time - with both teams - that they have CIPP registration as a team and as individuals. You are not responsible for being lied to. If they say they are registered and they sign off on CIPP numbers for everyone, you are in the clear.

Referees are not required to verify the information beyond seeing that it is provided. If everyone has the same CIPP number then you obviously have a problem.

REFEREES: THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL. DO NOT REFEREE THE GAME IF THE TEAMS AND PLAYERS ARE NOT IN COMPLAINCE. They can go play softball or soccer if they want to – for which they’ll have to register and pay a lot more than USA Rugby charges.

They can play if they want to – they just can’t have a referee from the NCRRS or play under the auspices of the NCRFU. Informal picnic rugby is still on.

If you don’t want to waste a Saturday driving to a game that you cannot referee, require proof of compliance ahead of time. It’s a simple matter of looking on the USA Rugby website whether the teams are registered and that they each have at least fifteen players listed as current.

The NCRRS does not want to have to discipline any of its members. However, we cannot allow loose cannon to be rolling about the deck of the Good Ship NorCal Rugby.


We will be meeting on the second Wednesday monthly from December through April. Mark your calendars for December 10th, when we’ll be working on our Tackle.


Maritime Academy – University of San Francisco
Notional Referee: John Coppinger
Thursday evening

This game unfortunately had to be canceled, in part due to our new policy requiring teams and players to be CIPP-compliant even for pre-season friendlies. It was a shame: players and ref were ready for a Thursday-evening run.

The way to test any system is to stress it.

USA Rugby changed the CIPP-year from the calendar to one beginning September 1. Colleges, anticipating serious play beginning in January, often elect to be sent an invoice in paying the CIPP fee for their teams – which of course allows them to submit it to their institutions for payment.

But once you elect to be invoiced you cannot then pay by credit card – such as when you realize that you need to be paid-up by sundown. USF’s check had been mailed Nov. 5 but not yet cashed – and they could not even double-pay to get the game rolling.

The take-home lesson is: teams, players and referees – register now. And make a habit of registering every August.

Humboldt Women's tournament
Notional Referee: Scott Wood
I woke early to prepare for my drive north. Loaded up the car, fired up the iPod, and headed out for my six hour trip. The sun shone down from a clear, blue sky. Not a cloud in site. I drove north on I-5 to Williams where I stopped for lunch at Granzella's which just reopened after a devastating fire. Continuing north, I-5 begins its slow climb out of the Sacramento Valley until Redding where my route turned west on Hwy 299. Winding roads took me along the lower reaches of Bigfoot habitat and what can be described as God's country. The highway winds into the Trinity Alps, past orchards and farms, and the Six Rivers National Forest before dropping into the Mad River gorge and out to Hwy 101. The sunset was spectacular on this Sunday evening. Yes, Sunday. You see, I planned to kill two birds with one stone and arranged to visit some clients in Eureka this week after refereeing on Saturday.

Humboldt State Women's Tournament 0
Referee 0

Nobody wins. The tournament was canceled due to “weather”. Forecast for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 65F and sunny....


USF – SFGG Alumni Referee: Paul Berman?
No report received.

SF GOLDEN GATE D2, 46 – Berkeley 10 Referee: Paul Bretz
SFGG Beat Berkeley 46-10. Format of the game was open substitution. SFGG started with their under 20 program and concluded the game with a mixture of div. 1, super league, and under 20 players.

Seconds: SF GOLDEN GATE D2, 29 – Berkeley 0 Referee: Dave Heath
Late afternoon sunshine was the biggest problem to contend with as the two sides played a 40 minute run out. Many of the players had participated in the previous game, so there were varying degrees of energy and commitment on the pitch. SFGG were in control from the off, and although Berkeley put together some spirited individual performances and some good passages of play they never really threatened the SFGG line, whereas SFGG picked them off whenever a chance arose.

Glorious weather, a wonderful pitch and two teams with a good approach to the game.

Arriving at Davis' Pioneer Park expecting a match between UC Davis Women and St. Mary's, I was pleasantly surprised that what was on tap instead was a mini tournament between Davis' A & B sides, St. Mary's, and USF.

On tap, four 30-minutes mini-match, and a 20-minute one to close the proceedings.

UC Davis A-Side vs. St. Mary's 15-0. The Davis ladies just too strong for a St. Mary's team which, though well drilled and committed, is obviously rebuilding. Three unconverted tries by Davis and no score for St. Mary's.

UC Davis A&B Sides combined vs. USF 0-0. If you lamented the fact that the USF ladies have long advertised for a coach, fret no more. One Kathy Flores (of World Cup & Eagles fame) came to their rescue, and the results were immediately apparent. Although the USF ladies are a new and inexperienced side, they are the ones to watch in the near future. A sturdy pack, and a great back line helped them keep Davis at bay. Much back & forth, but no score.

Another UC Davis amalgam & USF. USF seemed to improve as the day went by. Their pack grew in effectiveness, and their backs dazzled with their runs and their tackling. USF 5 - Davis 0. The score could have been higher if the USF ladies had passed a bit more.

St. Mary's vs. UC Davis B Side. St. Mary got the best of Davis on this one. Plenty runs, and much tackling. The close score reflects the closely matched skills of the two teams. Final Score: St. Mary 5 - Davis 0

St. Mary's - USF 5-5. USF continued to surprise as, for a new side, they play with skill and panache. This last match was an abbreviated one, with two 10 minutes halves. The first half saw a try scored by each side with no conversions. With a couple of minutes from to go in the second half, with the agreement of both coaches, I ended the match. This due to a collision between two of the St. Mary's ladies. In 35 years of Rugby I have never heard the sound of two heads hitting as hard as on this occasion - a sound like the throwing of a coconut against the wall. Both ladies went down and were assessed by a doctor on the sidelines. A visit to the emergency room was recommended for both, even though they were on their feet, albeit groggily. Spectators reported to have heard the sound of the collision clear across the whole length of the pitch. My best wishes to both players!

In spite of this frightening episode, this was a glorious day. Beautiful weather, committed sportswomen playing hard, and with their customary good behavior. A goodish crowd on tap, and fun for all."

SACRAMENTO STATE 134 – San Francisco State 0 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Referee Coach: David Williamson

Yes, it was as one-sided as the score suggests.

My old high-school coach used to say that the way you win is simple: Get the ball, keep the ball, score. That’s pretty much what Sac State did for 80 minutes. Sac’s superior size, speed, experience and ability were too much for a ramshackle San Francisco team to deal with. The game kept to a pretty similar pattern throughout with the score 67 – 0 at half-time.

The second half resumed in the same way, with try after try and little defense from SF. There was a pleasing similarity to the halves, with 67 points scored in the first half and 67 in the second.

San Francisco were eager to play a full 80 minutes and only was it in the final minute that things took a strange turn. After Sac scored their final (and 20th) try, SF restarted with a kick, which was caught by the Sac pack who took the ball up field a few meters and were tackled. For some reason, the SF #16 wanted to take something home from the game and hit the ruck/ball carrier with a punch on an opposition player. Carnage ensued with Sac #7 retaliating in a blur of fists, with boots to players on the ground. I believe that the 28 law abiding players on the field, were as confused at the chain events that took place as I was, with captains apologizing and agreeing to end the game with less than 30 seconds left on the clock. The two offending players were issued red cards and both teams retired to pizzas and sodas, putting a very bizarre end to a game that was played in great spirits by both teams.

Sierra JC 11 – SAN JOSE STATE seconds 29 Referee: Roberto Santiago
What month is it? The weather was beautiful at St Mary's College on Saturday for an early 9:00am kickoff. Both teams showed offensive skill and speed early on as the score stood at 5-5 2:30 into the game. After the quick scores both teams settled in and though they threatened each other inside the 5 meter lines both Ds held up well for a half time score that saw Sierra up 11-8.

The second half came with some subs on the San Jose side as the Spartans got bigger and faster at fly-half and in the loose forwards. Three converted tries in the second half provided the margin of victory for San Jose State. Both teams showed skill, strategy, and intelligence that reflects well on the abilities both the players and the coaches.

ST. MARY’S 99 – Santa Clara 0 Referee: James Hinkin
Assistant Referees: Eric Rauscher, John Coppinger/Rich Anderson
Evaluator: Bryan Porter

It was a typical mid-November rugby day. The temperature as I got into my car was a nippy 27 degrees but had warmed up to 35 by game time. As I pulled into the parking lot and contemplated leaving my warm car and braving the elements I saw the home side already on the pitch shoveling the remains of last night’s snow off the lines, so I decided that since I had to get out of the car eventually...Wait. Hold on. We live in California don’t we? Start again...

Arriving at St Mary’s Pat Vincent Field the temperature read a perfect 75 degrees. With no clouds in sight and a few stray zephyrs tickling the treetops it was a perfect rugby day. A match between St Mary’s B side and San Jose St was already in progress so I located both coaches, reminisced about our glory days, handed out the match cards and got set for the match.

St Mary’s won the toss and selected to defend an end, so Santa Clara kicked off and we were away. St Mary’s weathered a little pressure and countered to score within the first 5 minutes. Santa Clara kicked off. St Mary’s weathered a little pressure and countered to score. Santa Clara kicked off. St Mary’s weathered a little pressure and countered to score.

While it wasn’t quite that fast and Santa Clara had some nice, coherent passages of play they couldn’t capitalize on St Mary’s mistakes mainly due to the dominance of the SMC scrum. SCU was overmatched and managed to win their ball less than half the time at the put in. That being said the SCU team was disciplined and played hard in a losing cause for 80 minutes and there was no foul play or “frustration penalties” to speak of.

Of note, at about the 75th minute SMC had a turnover that they sent through the hands to their winger who was free on an overlap yet the SCU fullback sprinted nearly the length of the field to drag him down with an excellent tackle, and that was by no means unique. Several tries went begging due to the dogged determination of SCU chasers.

St Mary’s spread the ball and used forwards and backs in attack productively to score 17 tries. Their scrum in particular was dominant and they have skill and pace in the back division.

Seconds: St. Mary's – Santa Clara Referee: Sam Davis
Santa Clara did not have a second team. St Mary's 2nds played against themselves and I reffed the scrimmage. A lot of fun; St Mary's won ;-)

NEVADA 44 – SF Fog 5 Referee: Sam Reagle
Conditions: Perfect

I crossed the Sierras mid-afternoon for the 6pm start in Reno. It was 75 degrees in Roseville when I left and around 60 with clear skies in Reno a couple of hours later. The teams were raring to go so we kicked off at 5:45 under the lights.

The Wolfpack scored first just a couple minutes in. Seven minutes of seesaw rugby later, the Fog crossed the goal line to tie the game. It was shortly after this that the UNR pack took over the game and pushed the less-experienced Fog pack backwards time and again. The Fog had their moments with a fairly good defense, but problems recycling the ball after a good run led to many turnovers.

Seconds: Nevada 19 – FOG 26 Referee: Bruce Anderson


Santa Rosa JC 0 – STANFORD 57 Referee: Tom Zanarini
A beautiful and sunny day in Santa Rosa. This was my first match since the England tour and it felt great getting back on the pitch. Santa Rosa JC seemed up to the task of hosting a Div 1 team and played their hearts out. Stanford were just simply more skilled with more depth. Wherever the SRJC players decide to finish their college degrees, they will be impact players. Look out for #5 Jake Shull, #9 Jarrett Janssen and #10 Greg Hildebrand. Both teams played hard and fast and were gentlemen throughout.

Seconds: SANTA ROSA JC 12 – Stanford 7 Referee: Mike King
I had the opportunity to run touch for Tom Zanarini while the A sides played. After 3 periods, both sides were able to play many of the remaining subs. For Stanford especially, these were young men new to the game. Both sides played with spirit and maintained a high level of intensity for the relatively short period they played. Stanford’s players showed their potential, with several nice breaks and good ball handling. SRJC used its pounding style to put the Cardinal back on its heels, and forcing some rookie mistakes around the rucks and mauls. It was a pleasure to officiate these groups of young men.

Stanford women 19 – DAVIS DOUBLE DECKERS 44 Referee: Bruce Carter
It was hot. Summertime hot. Actually, it was hotter than summertime where I live, in Salinas. The mercury hit 92!

Stanford, nestled in the shade of eucalyptus and redwoods, basked in the mid-eighties. We had water breaks in this match, wherein the action was as hot as the environs.

Pre-game, Davis mentioned that they would try to keep the ball from Stanford’s famously-fast outside backs.

(This report assumes that players’ names are listed correctly next to the numbers on the match card, which we note contains a total of 40 players and forty non-redundant CIPP numbers.)

Three minutes in, Stanford attempted to clear from their end. This was charged down (didn’t get the number) and then Suzanne Iwatate fell on it for first blood.

At fourteen minutes, Davis’ #3, Jessica Derreira, powered into the corner for another try.

Thirty minutes in, Davis’ worries about being overmatched in pace proved specious. Heidi Harmon won a sixty-meter footrace to bring the score to fifteen-nil.

We fear we would have to review many years of match reports to find the last time the Cardinal were down by fifteen points. Their backs had been bottled up by passes that didn’t find runners in space, by sideways running, and by aggressive defense. So the forwards came to the fore.

Flankers Alyssa Tennant and Ono Nseyo each scored within a few minutes late in the first half. One of these was converted to bring the count to 12 – 15.

However, in the second half the Double Deckers re-asserted themselves, controlling most phases of the game with Captain and #10 Mary Triantafyllou shifting the ball in the most advantageous direction time after time.

Stanford managed a third try midway through the second stanza, the second one for Nseyo after a long run, which was converted by Melissa Smit.

This, however, was sandwiched between a score by Davis’ Tara McBride, a second try on a penalty-play smash-up by Derreira, and tallies by Erin Frier, Erika Lane, and Haley French.

Triantafyllou used her first five conversion attempts for warm-ups, hit the next two, then went off the boil again, for the final totals of 19 – 44.


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

By Praying, By Working
This is where the Game began – the Close at Rugby School.

Their crest adorns the in-goal before a match. The referee’s butterflies barely allow him to steady the camera for this pre-game shot. Your photo-viewing software will bring out the plaque on the wall between the far uprights – this is the one you’ve seen before, placed there by QE II, commemorating the exploits of one William Webb Ellis.

And how did a referee from Northern California come to be assigned such a desirable fixture? Read and heed the motto...


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris