Wednesday, October 21, 2009




Sixteen teams are signed up to play all day on two pitches starting at 7:30 AM.

At present we have four refs – that’s six games each spread from dawn till dusk. Much better to have eight refs, either working the morning or the afternoon, doing three games over a five hour period and then being free the rest of the day.

Please let us know if you would like to ref a half-day, say AM or PM, or if you’d like to stay for the day enjoying the finest view in rugby pitches anywhere.


Treasure Island will host the best rugby clubs in the USA the first weekend in November when the Women’s Premier League and D1 competitions decide their champions.

Six games will be played each day on Friday, November 6, and Sunday, November 8. Paul Bretz and Joe Androvich will be among the referees for the event.

With this schedule, ideally we should have four or more Pelicans on hand each day to serve as Assistant Referees. Two have raised a feathered appendage so far. Let us know if you can take that Friday off and/or migrate out for some Sunday rugger.


Forty bright shining faces were all in their places the morning of October 17th, a lovely edition of a St. Mary’s Saturday.

Dave Williamson organized a day of training focused on the tackle, where great rugby games and referees are made.

Pete Smith reviewed the Law, demonstrated body positions, made extensive use of a convenient dummy and showed what the players are attempting to achieve. This was supplemented by some video footage with on-screen ‘commentary’ provided by USA Referee Panel Manager Richard Every.

Some on-field exercises helped to indent these lessons into muscle memory.

Chris Tucker and Aruna Ranaweera spoke about their referee experiences in Mexico and South Africa, respectively, with photo illustrations enough to make an ambitious ref dream.

Joe Leisek conducted a panel discussion on the tackle as described below.

Preston Gordon reviewed and provided examples of dangerous tackles, with apropos guidelines for adjudicating them properly.

Daniel Kamenetzky summarized this experience and progress of his Referee-Specific Fitness Project over the past year.

Shared Perspectives on the Tackle
Report by Dave Williamson

Two coaches, Alan Petty (Elsie Allen) and Edward Roberts (Cal Maritime), and a player (St. Mary's captain Andrew Cook) joined us at our annual meeting to discuss the tackle. Joe Leisek moderated the panel

Alan acknowledged each ref is different in what he allows at the tackle. He even discusses referees' differences in his pre-match meetings with players. What he is looking for is a consistent standard from each referee set early in the match. He said players will adjust.

Edward seeks not only consistency during each match, but consistency throughout the Society and the nation. He predicted we would see longer (north-south), narrower rucks to secure the ball after the tackle, which will highlight any attempts to disrupt possession by side-joining.

Andrew seeks respectful interaction between himself and the referee both before and during the match. He emphasized clarity and consistency.

The Society very much appreciates the opportunity to meet with coaches and players to share perspectives.


At the Annual General Meeting of the NCRRS a new board of directors was selected for the next two years.

Tom Zanarini and Preston Gordon join returning members Bruce Carter, Pete Smith and Scott Wood. The Board selected Bruce Carter to continue as President, now entering his second decade in his dream job.

The Society would like to acknowledge the service of David Williamson and Joe Leisek and thank them for their contributions. We suspect they will continue to serve the best referee society from sea to shining sea in many and varied ways.


If you have registered with USA Rugby and paid your CIPP, please go to the ‘club roster’ for the Northern California Rugby Referee Society and see if you are included. If you are not, let us know.

Bjorn Stumer registered. Searching for his name, you’ll see that he’s listed with the NCRRS. But looking at our roster, you won’t find him.

We need to know if other folks fall into this same category so that the problem can be fixed.


CHICO STATE 55 – Humboldt State 8 Referee: Don Pattalock
Chico State controlled (dominated) the contact and the game just rolled their way after that. Good run, good weather and a good start to the new season.

Seconds: Chico State – Humboldt State Ref: Pattalock
The second-side game was a full 80 minutes (160 for the ref on the day) and it was a spirited affair with the winner in doubt right up until, uh, now, since the ref didn’t keep score.

University of San Francisco 10 – ALUMNI 15 Referee: Sam Davis
A beautiful day in San Francisco the Dons and the Old Dons came to play. USF had a number of new players with no experience playing rugby. The old Dons had 16 players ;-) Old age, skill and treachery over came youth and some skill. We played 3/ 20 min periods with no goal posts. Old Boys 15 Young boys 10.


The host UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs welcomed UC Davis, Sacramento State and Slomboldt to their breath-taking sunlit pitch floating above the fog-enshrouded Monterey Bay on Sunday.

UCSC was nice enough to work with the referee society so as not to conflict with our annual meeting the day before.

Humboldt State thought the tournament was to be played on Saturday, as per usual rugby protocol, and not all of their players could bivouac an extra day. Reinforcements were called in, naturally enough from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and thus the Slomboldt side.

Rich Anderson, Bruce Carter and John Pohlman each refereed two rookie-rich games. The Slugs had 45 players on hand; the other NorCal schools well over a full side. Unlimited in-and-out substitutions were allowed. The referees increased the tolerances on their minor-infractionometers and turned up the clarity on their explanatory apparatus.

UC DAVIS 22 – UC Santa Cruz 0 Referee: Bruce Carter
Santa Cruz ran a rookie-rich side, frequently replenished, as the classroom on the pitch commenced.

Davis didn’t need as much instruction, particularly in the backline where they ran amok.

SACRAMENTO STATE 21 – Slomboldt 7 Referee: Rich Anderson

SLOMBOLDT 19 – UC Davis 7 Ref: Carter
Humboldt has a #8 whose name we did not get, but who has played competitive soccer to this point. She stands out on a rugby field, always is near the ball, and we wish her every opportunity and success and in the future now that she’s found our game.

SACRAMENTO STATE 15 – UC Santa Cruz 0 Ref: Anderson

Report by John Pohlman:
I got the call around 10:30 AM Sunday morning. Looked like the Slugfest had more games scheduled than originally foreseen, at least by the Pelicans.

Bruce Carter and Rich Anderson showed up around 9:00AM. They were hoping I could do the 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM games. Both had children with them and wives at home cooking dinner. At least that's the story I heard.

I had told Bruce on Saturday I didn't want to spend the whole day at the tournament. Still some last minute honey-do's and husband points to work on prior to the season starting. So getting there around 2:00PM worked.

SLOBOLDT 10 – UC Santa Cruz 5 Referee: John Pohlman
My first game was UCSC playing SLOBOLDT (combo of Humboldt and SLO). The Slugs were playing allot of younger experienced players. This was early season rugby. Loads of good tackles and disorganized running.

One of my highlights was having Bruce's ten-year-old grandson Ben run touch. Ben is keen and focused. I said if he saw any foul play to report it to me. Sure enough at half time he said he saw a high tackle. I asked for a number and team and asked him if something like that happened in the second half to put his flag out. In the second half there was a forward pass and I looked over at Ben he had his flag out. I asked if it was for the forward pass and he said yes. Oh well, hopefully he can make it to the touch judge and referee course coming up.

SACRAMENTO STATE 31 – UC Davis 10 Ref: Pohlman
The 4:00 game was between two pretty experienced teams, Sacramento State playing UC Davis.

I started the game forgetting my touch judges had left. Always an embarrassing moment when the ball goes out of bounds and you wonder where the touch judge is and then you remember...

Odd thing was I asked the hooker to hold the ball while I went to get TJ's. When returned, play was going on and about 3 phases had been played. They didn't even miss me. I wondered how long they would have played before they realized they had no ref.

Sac State dominated the first half. They had three runners lead by #13 who would not be tackled by anything less than a committed hard tackler. Sac State scored five trys. UC Davis played hard and got a confidence boosting try at the end of the first half. UC Davis played much better in the second half and Sac's hard runners spun the ball to younger players.

I gave my first yellow card for repeat high tackles to Sacramento State late in the second half. If I had my ace TJ there it may have come sooner.

Tee shirt of the day: "Women play rugby, chicks watch". Go girl.

Report by John Coppinger

Santa Clara moved its alumni game to the fall to coincide with the annual reunion weekend.

The weekend kicked off Friday evening with a rugby alumni dinner in the SCU Faculty Club attended by over a 100 people, with SCUTS from the past four decades in attendance, and a grand time was had by all. The guest of honor was Richard Coz, S. J., a retired Jesuit priest, who served as the faculty moderator/counselor/friend/confessor/advocate for SCUTS players for many years. University President Michael Engh, S. J. stopped by to welcome the former SCUTS back to campus and to remind them not to linger too long.

On Saturday, the alumni gathered to face the current SCUTS in the annual Coz Cup match, as the alumni game is called. SCUTS Coach Chris Kron choose to mix his veterans with the younger SCUTs and the Alumni ran out 29-17 victors in a good spirited 80-minute match played in four quarters. Notable players for the Alumni were Terry Ryan (Class of 77 and current Bellarmine Prep coach), Ross Malinowski (Class of 79 and former Grizzly standout of the 80's), Rich Kelly, and Joe Domine (Class of 90). Tom Mell made a guest appearance for the Alumni just 5 months after having a lot of titanium installed in his arm to repair a broken humerus (proving that rugby players are not the brightest sometimes), but Rich Anderson was a no-show.


Saturday, October 24 at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo
Saturday, November 14 in West Sacramento

Sunday, October 25 at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo
Sunday, November 15 in West Sacramento

Reply soonest with your interest.


OLD BELVEDERE 29 – Clontarf 22 Referee Brian Gildea
Three Pelicans intersected unexpectedly at Old Belvedere RFC in Dublin, Ireland, this past Saturday for an impromptu flocking.

Tony Redmond, just back from an ERC Referee Coaching in a Gloucester match, his son, Eoin, a former Peninsula Green coach and Brian Gildea, a long-lost Pelican, all crossed paths on the back pitch at Old Belvedere.

Although Clontarf put up a spirited effort and tied the match 22-22 with 10 minutes to go, Belvo always looked to be the better side. The Belvo out-half scored a nice try with two minutes to go off a nice "show and go" move to seal the result.

Of course, Eoin Redmond scored one of Belvedere's tries and Tony had a few post-match words of wisdom for the referee. And we all legged it home to watch the Saints out "street-wise" Munster in the Heineken Cup.


Rugby 7s in 2016 Olympics!! ENHANCE YOUR RUGBY CAREER at USAR Coaching Work¬shops or NCRRS Ref Course IN W. Sacramento, Nov. 14 & 15

Sacramento – The Sacramento Valley Rugby Foundation will proudly host Coaching Certification Workshops in West Sacramento, CA, on the weekend of November 14th and 15th. The two USA Rugby workshops, Introducing Rugby and Developing Rugby Skills will be presented at River City High School, now in its first full year of operation in West Sacramento. These are the last two USAR Coaching Work¬shops in the West prior to February 2010.

The Workshops enhance skills at all levels of coaching, and certification is required for head coaches in most local area rugby unions. Fee for the Workshops is $180 until Nov. 1st, $230 until Nov. 11th , and $300 for walk-ins. For registration and advance requirements, please contact and click on “Register for a Coach¬ing Workshop,” or contact Mollie McCarthy at or 303.539.0300 ext 129.

Concurrently, the Foundation is also hosting a Level 1 Referee and Assistant Referee / Touch Judge Course sponsored by the Northern California Rugby Referees Society. For further information, please contact NCRRS at

Convenient lodging has been arranged for out-of-towners at the Courtyard by Marriott, Sacramento Airport Natomas, 2101 River Plaza Drive, Sacramento, CA 95833, located between the Sacramento International Airport and River City High School. The special rate is $79 per person plus tax, including breakfast for two and airport transportation. Contact the hotel at 916-922-1120 (refer to “Coaching Clinic-Sacramento Valley Rugby Foundation”) or register directly online at

Local contact: Ray Thompson, 916-972-8977, or

Eales and Gordon
Fresh off selection to the NCRRS Board of Directors, Preston Gordon shares the lens with John Eales, perhaps the most accomplished rugby player ever to have lived. (Two Webb Ellis Cups in the trophy cabinet, one as Captain – who are you putting up against that?)

Preston says he welcomed John to the area on our behalf and in return, Nobody (as in ‘nobody’s perfect’) said thank you and wished us good luck this year.

Semper Bonis Avis.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris