Monday, October 12, 2009




Rugby’s friend Paul Smith lost his battle with cancer this weekend, passing away peaceably at 3:00 AM Sunday morning.

Paul played rugby at San Jose State and then became part of the Seahawk family, of which he remains now and forevermore.

The Pelican flock enjoyed Paul’s services as a referee in 2007. He had nothing but love for the game, which he conveyed to all he encountered.

Paul is survived by his teenaged son, Tim. We offer what consolation we can to those who grieve, and give thanks for having known such a man. RIP.


This Saturday, October 17, we will be meeting from 10 until 4 in Dante Hall at St. Mary’s in Moraga. Morning beverages and ingestibles will be available for early arrivals.

The focus of the presentations arranged by REO David Williamson will be on the tackle, the crucible where great referees are formed. Joe Leisek will also moderate the annual Coaches’ Panel.

The Annual General Meeting will feature reports on the functioning of our organization and the election of a new five-member Board of Directors for two-year terms.

Please make every effort to attend.


The NCRRS will be offering the IRB/USA Rugby courses for Level One Refereeing and Touch Judge/Assistant Refereeing, each twice over the next five weeks.

This may be the last opportunity to take either of these courses locally until after the 2010 seasons start, maybe even until they have ended. Please spread the word to anyone who may be interested. What normally happens is that we receive a large number of requests to take these courses in the week after they are taught.

Activate now the mechanism by which the rugby community normally hears of these opportunities too late. Let us know of your interest.

It is now possible to register for courses on-line for anyone with CIPP.

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


We need at least one more referee for the Women’s Slugfest at UC Santa Cruz this coming Sunday, October 18. Play will begin at 10 AM on the lovely pitches overlooking the Monterey Bay.


Your scribe fell in love with this game of ours in the 1970s, his passion quickly leading to perplexity that the rest of the country wasn’t similarly enamored. This led to the conclusion that there were two kinds of sports which, in America, penetrate the public consciousness, the public airwaves, and the pages of periodicals: professional sports and Olympic sports.

Rugby Sevens is going to be an Olympic sport! Even the casual quadrennial sports fan will know what it is we talk about in our workaday world.

What might we expect?

One incontrovertible fact: we will enjoy the Olympic Games more than ever.

An American referee will probably work the event. This worthy, at present, would be 18 to 25 years old, and might not even be refereeing yet.

More US players will earn their living training for and playing rugby. This may happen quite soon. Think of track and field: most Americans only realize that international meets are held every four years, yet scores if not hundreds of US post-graduate athletes make their living doing nothing but. The fact that they ply their trade abroad for the most part never seems to have hurt our medal chances.

It will become easier to recruit athletes from other sports, at least every so often.

In our opinion, Sevens has always belonged at the pinnacle of the sporting pantheon. This will elevate the purest form of Rugby from a summer pastime across the fruited plain. And it certainly does not hamper the development of fifteens in any way.


Nine Pelicans found Mira Loma Park bright and early on a perfect Saturday morning, fresh snow adorning the summit of nearby Mount Rose.

This year’s tournament was dedicated to Tevita ‘Dave’ Valu, a long-time Zephyr who passed away recently. Ruggers of a certain generation will remember Dave for his permanent smile and the fact that he played Prop barefooted, even on frozen ground.

The women’s bracket consisted of Nevada, the Provo Steelers, Sacramento State and the Sacramento Amazons, who went 3 – 0 to win the honors.

The social bracket was won by a brand-new team, Redwood Empire, who will be competing in D3 this season. The other teams were Sierra College, who fielded two sides, and the Zephyr Development squad.

Redwood was coached by Afa Wolfking, who acquitted himself well when injuries necessitated his participation, despite being older than the rest of the players by a factor of three.

The top bracket was contested by the hosts, Hayward, the Sacramento Lions, and two teams from Utah: the Spartans and Provo.

Final: RENO ZEPHYRS 14 – Provo 6 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Rod Chance, Bruce Anderson
Provo took advantage of a yellow card to Reno for an up-ended tackle to go into the halftime ahead by two penalty kicks. Ten minutes short-handed out of a twenty-minute half can do that to a team.

[Editorial comment: The length of sin-bins is intended to be worth an average of one try with evenly-matched teams. This works out to ten minutes in fifteens and two minutes in sevens, and this calculus is not affected by shorter halves – or by longer halves.

[We’ve always been appalled by referees who shorten the length of suspension merely because tournament games are often less eighty minutes.

[Ask yourself: does the sin-bin last two-and-a-half minutes in a Sevens final of ten-minute halves? When the pitch is shorter or narrower than normal, do we accordingly shrink the requirements for back ten meters at penalties or line-out throws having to travel five meters?

[Proportion is a beautiful thing in human physiognomy and architecture. Leave it out of the sin bin.]

But Reno’s power running game resulted in second-half tries, one from the forwards working it in by inches, the other by Nelo Lui setting his backs free to put the game on ice with no time left.

Comfortable Refereeing
Bruce Anderson coaches the Nevada men’s team and referees when he can.

Obviously, refereeing wears him out.

This is also the last known photograph of the Big Bird, who flew the coop during the main final.

Someone appears not to understand what this foul fowl represents: ‘noteworthy’ accomplishments by otherwise-competent referees who are given the dubious honor of lugging this awkward icon around.

Bruce Carter was given it for being Dead Wrong in Public, mis-quoting Sevens Law of all things!

The task of furthering Big Bird’s peregrinations is thus simplified: the one who stole it is hereby sentenced to possess it.

Poetic justice is found in that the miscreant can only rid himself of it by admitting his felony!


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris