Monday, December 01, 2008




Looks like we have a need for at least six more referees on December 6, with one each in Chico, Sac and Davis.

And then, too, there are three night games on Friday, December 5, including two in Reno.

We’ll be happy to hear from you. Let us know.


The new Laws are not the same for U19 players as they are for everyone else. Two of them do not apply, both pertaining to mauls:


‘Head and Shoulders not being lower than the hips’

The ELV’s recommend the removal of existing law 17.2(a)

Law 17.2 Players joining a maul must have their heads and shoulders no lower than their hips
Penalty: Free Kick

‘Players are able to defend a maul by pulling it down’

The ELV’s recommended the addition of 17.5(b)

Law 17.5 (b) A Player may pull a maul to the ground providing that player does so by pulling another player in the maul down from the shoulders to the hips
Penalty: Penalty Kick

Law 17.6 (b) is modified to include the words ‘or is pulled down’


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 8 – STANFORD 12 Referee: Sam Davis
Friday night under the lights at 6:00 PM where is the sunshine ;-) oh yea it is rugby season. Cal Maritime was suited up and putting their game face on. 6:40 Stanford arrives after being held up in traffic. Kickoff 7:00. My personal opinion I believe that Stanford thought this game would be a walk in the park. Someone forgot to tell Cal Maritime.

Cal Maritime dominated the first half with their scrum and wide open play. Stanford was plagued with penalties talking, not releasing, and hands in the ruck. I as a ref lost my cool and yelled and threaten red cards if one person did not "shut up" (bad form for a ref). (My apology was accepted after the game.) Stanford’s first disappointment was a multi-phase movement to the wing back to the center. He was tackled 8 meters out and crawled the rest of the way to the goal line. You can’t do that. I did not give them the score. Play went up and down the field for 23 min and with 17 min left in the half. CM drew first blood in the corner on a wide-open play and extra effort by the pack. The half ended 5-0 CM

The second half had the same intensity. Stanford not-back-10 on20a offside penalty set up the kick, CM up 8-0. Stanford made their first score at 30 min mark; kick was good. CM 8 - Stanford 7. CM started to run out of steam. Stanford scored another one in the corner at the 3 min mark; kick no good. Cal Maritime was on the attack when time ran out. Cal Maritime will be the team to watch this year, with well-coached, big, fast players.

Good luck to both teams!

Seconds: MARITIME ACADEMY 32 – Stanford 19 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Touch Judge: Nate Houseman
My North Bay tour began Friday evening as I left Sacramento at rush hour for the Maritime Academy. Sam Davis would ref the A Side and I wanted to be there to help. Traffic flowed well enough, and I pulled up fully kitted and ready to take a flag. There was about 10 minutes to kick off so I made my rounds and quickly settled into a chat with Peter McGroarty, who helped found the program about 11 years ago with Paddy Shrimpton.

Peter teaches Seamanship on campus, and works at Chevron off. Next to him was a recent graduate (and no doubt a favorite past student), Nate Houseman, a fit and keen young man with 6 years of rugby under his belt, eager to stay involved, but who had to retire from play due to concussions. I was wearing my navy jacket with the NCRFU patch Dan Hickey kindly bestowed upon me, and Nate asked if I was with the pelicanrefs. He remembered emailing me last year about a ref course but couldn't make it then.

I asked if his schedule was flexible, "Yes." Where he lives, "Berkeley." If he'd like to taught/coached to become a successful rugby referee, and earn $500 in the first season reffing (10) U19 matches? Nate's answer was an emphatic "Yes!" Peter smiled, adding Nate's rugby IQ was high, and he'd make for a fine ref. Finally, I asked if he could get to Sacramento for the Level 1 Ref Class my wife Kat was teaching with Matt Eason at 9AM the next morning, "Yes!" I hit Matt's number on my trusty speed dial, introduced Nate to Matt, and then handed Nate the phone before trotting to the line as the game was kicking off.

It was that easy! Just get out there, ask a few questions, and identify a candidate for the initial Kick Off RDP. Well, I wish it was always that easy, but it was right then and there!

On my drive down I called old friend Rik Ravsten, the former and current Kent Crusaders U19 head coach, trying to convince him to bring his side down from Seattle for the KOT. He offered a good friend's son played in the forward pack for the Keelhaulers. "The only white guy named Rufus, a 6' 3" red head, can't miss him," Rik said.

As the game started I quickly learned that Rufus was both team captain and beloved by his teammates and fans. Indeed head coach Ed Roberts was pleased to have him. Peter added that rugby is the biggest thing going on campus these days, and so it appeared that Rufus was literally BMOC. It certainly appeared that there were over 200 sharing the sideline (neatly behind the field ropes), and most were pleased to cheer for Rufus! He played well from the openside flank, earning the adulation.

Stanford on the other hand seemed to play down to the D II Keelhaulers, or maybe they just played poorly. The knocked on a lot, pressing too much. A close, entertaining game came down to the wire on this cool night. It was fun stuff. At one point midway through the second half Maritime's flyhalf subbed out, walking across the touchline into his teammates box. Heard down the line from some 30 yards away, a classmate called out, "You're number 10 on the field, but number 1 in our hearts!" I had to laugh.

Oh yeah, and then I had a game to ref myself. (2) 30 minute periods for what were mostly rookies. I met the captains, both front rowers, Doug from Stanford and Bobbie from Maritime. Turns out I had reffed Bobby at least a dozen times before while he played for Alameda at the U19 level. Great kid. I was told later that Bobbie was just about the only player with any experience for his side. The rest had yet to play a single game. This was amazing, because they played and played. It was awesome rugby.

Both teams made plays, taking the game right to the edge straight from the start and all the way through. Early on, one period of play seemed to go by for about 5 minutes before I needed to blow the whistle. These boys were loving it. Some outstanding play by both sides. Stanford had a burner test my hamstring as he sprinted over 60 meters around the outside to then score under the posts. Later, Stanford's wiry scrumhalf, frustrated20to see a ball stuck in the side of a ruck, stabbed at it neatly with his boot. The ball popped out perfectly, and try was scored. Clearly a veteran play.

But it was the Keelhauler's who ultimately ruled the day. An impressive number of hard rucking, hard running ruggers asserted themselves as they grew more confident, eventually wearing out the relatively thin numbers of Stanford, who travelled with perhaps 26 players. The only persistent problem to emerge, a total failure to retreat 10 at penalties by the Keelhaulers finally affected play and drew a Yellow. Afterwards coach Ed offered that this was the one thing they had failed to coach in the weeks leading up to this first match. Something to work on, but luckily, rugby is alive and well on campus, so he'll have lots of eager students!

Postmatch meant sideline pizza, a change into dry clothes, and then a drive up through Napa to Kat's Uncle Jim's ranch in Santa Rosa. I had a swimming pool sales call early the next morning less than 10 miles away, where I met a young homeowner, Gary whose hope is to build an ambitious project on his hillside lot. This too was rugby-related, as Gary was lifelong friends with Billy Jereb, the former Collegiate All-American Captain and #8 from Cal State Long Beach. Bill grew up in Rosa, where I had helped him with his own hillside design early this summer. Upon collecting a design service fee, it was time to head off to UC Davis.

UC Davis 13 – CAL POLY 14 Referee: John Coppinger
On a beautiful late fall afternoon on the UC Davis campus, CPO-SLO came back from a 10-7 deficit at the half to win 14-13.

CPO-SLO were bigger, faster, and better organized on the day, but UCD boxed well above their weight. Three UCD advances to within 5 meters of the Cal Poly goal-line were stopped by knock-ons forced by big hits by the Cal Poly defense.

A good CPO-SLO try-scoring opportunity was lost at minute 79 when a CP-SLO forward started a slashing run towards the posts from within the UCD 22 meter-line only to cut back towards the corner where he ran into the referee, who then bounced into two UCD defenders effectively blocking them and providing a clear path to the goal line for the ball carrier. After the resulting scrum, the UCD ball carrier was bundled into touch to end the match.

A good-sized crowd, Donal Walsh among them, enjoyed the day.

Seconds: UC Davis 0 – CAL POLY 55 Referee: Ray Schwartz
Touch Judges: John Coppinger & Pete Lisson (Cal Poly dad, Mother Lode coach)
I figured this game would be a big step up from the night before. Bigger, more athletic players and greater squad depth should make it so. John had just come off the pitch from a very close match as I arrived. I hoped for the same. It certainly started out so, but as the game moved to 21-0 at the half, with Cal Poly out front, I lost hope.

Cal Poly featured some surprisingly strong players in the second side, whereas Davis had numbers but lacked quality. Poly's #8, a former player at Montgomery, was big, strong, confident and quick. They also featured number of smallish yet powerful and well-balanced backs. But I really appreciated their large, scrum-capped lock. He was the kind of guy who just kept the engine running, hitting the piles squared up and driving them back, and never really making a mistake.

In contrast, Davis had some guys unfit, whereas some of the fit ones ran too upright, or threw too many 50-50 passes. There was lots of hands in at the rucks, blocking, obstruction, delay in throw ins at the line out, etc... Poly had a tendency to go to deck, to seal of the ball at the tackle/ruck, however Davis stood by dumbfounded, or at least uninterested in taking part in the fight, so Poly's possible infractions lacked materiality.

At the half a new back, short, stocky and explosive, subbed in for Poly and soon after raced off to nearly score a long try in the corner. Both Coppinger and I were left unsighted, and it seemed there might have been a knock on before the dot down. Scrum 5 was called and no one complained, thank goodness. The same player raced off alone again several more times, a one-man wrecking crew at 5' 6" of height, until he finally scored his own undeniable try. And he was a happy camper.

Midway through the 2nd half I heard something I never expected, Davis had had it, as Poly was running away with the game. I began looking to end the match early, and when Zack Lisson raced away for Poly's 9th unanswered try, that moment was found.

Thanks for the games and the expert TJ work in Davis. Nice to report my fitness keeps improving. There is hope for this 270 pound gorilla!

Fog 5 – BERKELEY 31 Referee: Preston Gordon
(Halftime 0-17)
This was a very clean, well played match with the scoreline somewhat flattering Berkeley. Aside from one yellow card to the Fog #7, who I caught lying on the wrong side of the ruck one too many times, it was a great day.

Seconds: Fog 5 – BERKELEY 50 Referee: Dave Heath
A solid win for Berkeley, who stormed ahead into a 40-5 half-time lead, but SF Fog showed glimpses of what they can do by defending tenaciously in the second half and restricting Berkeley to just two unconverted tries, the last one as the final play of the match.

Good game played with some friendly banter, assisted by one absolute howler by yours truly that Berkeley didn't appreciate at the time but were able to smile about afterwards. Enough said!

SANTA ROSA JC 29 – Nevada 0 Referee: Roberto Santiago
For Pete's Sake Field

This is why I moved back to California: cool clear and mild in mid-November. And the rugby's good too. On this particular day the rugby was entertaining even if it was one-sided. Santa Rosa Jr. College came out strong and fast right from the opening whistle scoring their first try at the 2:00 minute mark. The young Nevada team they were facing left their games in the car early on and found themselves down 29-0 at half time. Most of the damage was done against the Nevada backline who had trouble organizing defensively.

After the half the game got much tighter and a bit sloppier. Nevada found their rhythm on D and did not allow another score for the rest of the game. They also didn't score. With both teams working their subs into this preseason tilt the second half saw a good number of knock ons and forward passes. That said both teams s howed that they are well coached and did a good job listening to the ref.

Once again it was a great day and a good time. Is this stuff fun or what?

SAN JOSE STATE – UC Santa Cruz Referee: Pete Smith
My game was more of a scrimmage with coaches on the field, open subs and mostly UCSC’s B side. To those ends, SJSU have some very good athletes and some good rugby players. They worked well enough together to score 79 points on the Banana Slugs and keep the UC kids off the score sheet. There were ten different try scorers for the Spartans who have done very well in the pre-season in Dean White’s 3rd year as head coach. Hopefully some of the former high school players can get enrolled in SJSU out of the community colleges locally and make themselves eligible to play ‘A’ side.


This event is played as a round-robin, with no champions per se. However, the Chico men’s club, the Chico State men and the Davis Double Deckers all went through the day undefeated.

Tournament organizer Mitch Jagoe insured that all of the teams and players were CIPP-compliant. This meant that three teams who had earlier expressed interest did not turn up. All three are regular-season competitors in the NCRFU, so we hope they will have their registrations in order by then.

Given that the CIPP year begins September 1, they could have registered already for the same amount of money they are going to pay for the season and enjoyed the rugby in Chico.

The sun shone all day, at that low bright angle that says ‘rugby season’ in these climes. Play began right on time, no more than fifteen minutes late. If we are to note that Joe Leisek’s game began closer to nine AM than Phil Ulibarri’s, we should also note that Phil only found out that he had an early game over breakfast as a waffle house shortly there before.

Other referees on the day were Jim Crenshaw, Don Pattalock, Sam Reagle, Bruce Carter, and Mike King, who sent in these reports:

U. OF SAN FRANCISCO 24 – U. of the Pacific 19 Referee: Mike King
In the true spirit of the game, UOP generously loaned several players to USF and may have regretted its generosity. In a very close contest involving numerous open field breaks through each defensive line, the final count favored USF. Everyone played at full tilt and both sides were able to give valuable playing time to some new players.

DAVIS DOUBLE DECKER 44 – UC Davis 0 Ref: King
Due to earlier injuries, UC Davis was short 2 front row players. DDD was kind enough to loan 2 experienced and steady players to allow scrums to be contested. Scoring by DD was fairly evenly spaced every 5 minutes throughout the match. UC threatened a few times and played with determination. Experience and acquired skill prevailed in the end.

DAVIS DOUBLE DECKER 34 – San Luis Obispo 0 Ref: King
In a very physical contest with some exciting ball handling by both sides, the domination of the tireless and hard-nosed DDD women continued. While there were valiant moments for the SLO team who held their own in set pieces, DDD just had more players at the point of attack. They prevailed with relentless pressure. Kudos to both sides for an excellent contest.

Saturday Pat Vincent Cup

UC Santa Barbara 20=2 0– CENTRAL WASHINGTON 32 Referee: Paul Bretz
Saturday's semi-final match between Central Washington and UC Santa Barbra resulted in a 34-32 match to CWU. Santa Barbra scored 3 late second half tries to make the match a two point difference.

ST. MARY’S 34 – Loyola-Marymount 17 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Assistant Referees: Eric Rauscher, Paul Bretz
Assessor: Bryan Porter
On a beautiful Saturday for rugby I had the pleasure of refereeing St. Mary's v. LMU. Eric Rauscher was available to be an assistant referee and Paul Bretz was kind enough to stay after his UCSB V. CWU match to run touch as well. With the added bonus of Brian Porter as a referee evaluator I was in rugby heaven.

The first half was pretty back and forth, no team dominating but a good contest. 17-14 to St. Mary's. The second half saw the experience of SMC come to the front and they made LMU pay for simple missed tackles and lack of discipline. Good match overall. LMU showed lots of skill and power for a D2 side.


UC SANTA BARBARA 47 – Loyola-Marymount 0 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Less than 20 hours and we're back on the field. Saturday night's cold tub and pasta dinner was the right choice for this sprintfest. LMU had good general contest but couldn't hold the skill of the SB backs. 3 tries in the first half seemed ok, but SB came back screaming to score tries at 37, 21, 18, 10, 8, and 2 minutes.

Thanks to Dave Williamson for the evaluation. Post match was what Nor Cal refereeing was all about. I was able to discuss my skills will Paul Bretz, then get micked up to him and put up in the lift with Dave W. to watch and listen to Paul and discuss what how I can better my skills. Both were very selfless in their accommodation of me and I couldn't be more grateful. I learned more in one weekend here than I think is possible in a season in any other Society.

What a blessed weekend!

ST. MARY’S 32 – Central Washington 27 Referee: Paul Bretz
Sunday's final between St. Mary's and Central Washington was an enjoyable match to both watch and referee. Both teams are well drilled, have good athletes, and love to spin the ball out wide. 400 plus fans enjoyed the spectacle that saw the tightly contested Match. With 10 minutes to go the match was tied @ 27-27. St. Mary's scored in the corner after spending more than 5 minutes attacking inside their CWU's defending 22 meter line. Every time It looked as if St. Mary's was going to score CWU repelled the attackers only to sustain another attack.

This concludes CWU's season until the spring. Hopefully they can do as well in the post season as they have done to this point. Thanks go out to Giles and Eric for doing a superb job of running touch.

STANFORD women 50 – UC Santa Cruz 17 Referee: Tony Redmond
Stanford 50 (5G, 3T), Santa Cruz 17 (1G, 2T)
A pretty open game played in good spirit. First penalty after 22 minutes and no more than 8 in the entire game, the majority in the last 20 minutes after players lost their shape through tiredness, which is to be expected at this stage of the season. Stanford scored 34 unanswered points in the first half as they were faster and more controlled at the breakdown, which led to a nice supply of quick ball that their backs made full use of. Stanford scored first in the second half and then went to sleep to allow Santa Cruz to score three times (starting with an intercept try) before they finished off with a last minute score to reach the half century.


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

Ref Class of 2008
Matt Eason and Kat Todd-Schwartz spent a weekend training folks in Sacramento – a level one referee course on Saturday and a TJ course on Sunday.

We have a photo of Kat with the students from the Saturday course. You could have played match the faces based on their ages:

Riley Snider: Age 14; Nick Boyer: Age 15; Robert Burgwilz: Age 16; Tristan Boyer: Age 17; Byron Edrington: Age 18; David Guttridge: Age 18; Manny Galvan: Age 21; Nathan Housman: Age 24; Daniel Kaufman: Age 26; Scott McConnell: Age 35; Heath Hatheway: Age 40; Michael McCarty: Age 45.

We have a dire need for more referees. Younger referees tend to be around more years blowing the whistle, but everyone has a chance to discover how rewarding it is to enjoy the privilege of refereeing rugby games in the best local union in the United States.

Let us wish most earnestly that some of these folks join the Society and request assignments.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris