Saturday, October 31, 2009




John Tyler went to join the NCRRS and entered Coach. He was listed as the Coach of the Northern California Rugby Referee Society. So pay attention to what he says!

Mike Gadoua got his fingers crossed at the keyboard and was charged $150 to sign up for CIPP. (It should be $60.)

It turns out that Mike is registered not as a member of the society but as THE SOCIETY ITSELF.


It’s a weekly ritual: we abase ourselves and beg for more referees for the upcoming Saturday.

For Halloween, we now have three tournaments and three additional 80-minute matches besides. Seventeen Pelicans have confirmed their availability – about five fewer than we need.

Let us know your pleasure: tournament fifteens, tens, or a regular game.

The next big crunch weekend will be November 21. Plan ahead and try to be available to referee on that date.


CHICO STATE 48 – Southern Oregon 5 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Southern Oregon travelled with 18 players, while the home team had a sideline packed with players in this pre-season friendly. Unfortunately, nobody emphasized the “friendly”.

It looked like it would be a blow-out before the game started. Chico looked lean and mean, while S.O looked lethargic after a day of travelling. Chico were peppered with Sacramento area high school talent while S.O looked physically inferior. It was a bit of a shock when S.O got the first try after just five minutes – a lineout 5m from the opposition try line went straight to the front, was caught and the back-rower dropped over the line. I heard the Chico front man say “Sorry guys, I just took my eyes off him”. Pre-season indeed, but game-on.

It seemed like coach Jagoe’s comment before the game had some pertinence. He was “concerned over which Chico would show up”.

No panic though. He reassured his team, told them to take their time and not be in a rush to score. The Wildcats played controlled phases. Rucking, picking and driving to the blind-side and opening up the back on the open side. They killed Oregon at the rucks and seemed to have found their rhythm with a try on 20mins. It also helped that the S.O lock was in the bin for a no-wrap hit. They made hay while the lock sat and got another try to take the lead five minutes later.

A couple more late tackles from either team meant more yellows and more open spaces, which Chico took advantage of.
Halftime: Chico 17 – 5 S.O

The second half continued as the first finished. Power play from Chico and more outstanding work from Jesuit grad and number eight, Zeke Sulzen saw him get his second try.

High tempers continued through the second half and Chico sustained a red for a dangerous tackle on the S.O center. Think back to the video examples of case studies of the new dangerous tackle law amendment that we watched at the ref AGM last week, and this tackle was more clear-cut than those.

The home team were still powerful with 14 and got a penalty try with the last play of the game. A wonderful phase of rugby put the winger in on the try line with 7m to go, two supporting players and only the opposition winger to beat. The defender went way too high, bringing the ball carrier to ground. Penalty try, one final yellow card.

I look forward to seeing more from these teams later in the season as they both put together some tremendous, powerful rugby, with skilled, fast backs

STANFORD Women 49 – California 30 Referee: James Hinkin
With much of the country struggling with rain and snow - even to the point of delaying some meaningless baseball games - I arrived at Stanford Sunday with both teams prepared to struggle with temperatures in the high 70s and clear blue skies. We somehow found the courage to go on.

For an early pre-season match both sides had combined their rookies for a camp/scrimmage which was just finishing up when I arrived. The veterans were warming up and the captains decided on three 20 minute periods of 10 a side rugby and (much to Cal's dismay) uncontested scrums. Stanford elected to defend the right half (facing away from the clubhouse) and when Cal kicked off, made one pass and sprinted the length of the field for a try. Cal replied within minutes with a long breakaway of their own and Stanford took their turn for a third 60+ meter breakaway try in the first 5 minutes. After that the teams decided that some defense is also part of playing rugby and the game settled down. The play seesawed back and forth with Cal finishing the first period up 15-10.

The second period saw much of the same with both sides evenly matched. The game suffered for rhythm as subs were liberally brought on and teammates got used to each other again. The second period finished with 2 tries apiece and brought the day's tally to 25-20.

The third period was a completely different game as Stanford brought in their speed players and Cal had no counter. Four tries to Stanford and the first conversions of the day against one try to Cal brought the total to a lopsided 49-30. Both teams showed some of the character that could define them for the season with Stanford using speed to outflank opponents and Cal using power and ball control to dominate. But then again, things can change a lot in a few months. It will be interesting to see how these team match up in the winter.


The captains’ meeting was called for 7:30 AM, with kick-offs set for eight.

Your writer arrived at 7:15, having driven most of the way around Monterey Bay in dense pre-dawn fog, headlights and windshield wipers a-working. Ascending the hill to the pitch the road emerged atop the marine layer.

Four teams were warming up, doing passing drills, running to and fro. Four college rugby teams were eager to begin their Rugby Day ahead of Sol’s arrival.

At 7:26 the sun stuck his nose over the horizon, sensed a beautiful clear day ahead, and climbed out of bed. What was a dark gray, forbidding fog from the inside became from above a brilliant white bed of matted cotton insulating the waters of the Monterey Bay.

Play ball!

Ten college teams played in two pools while five B sides were separated. The tournament did not keep scores or standings but of course the referees did: the only undefeated teams were Long Beach State, Sierra College B and San Jose State B.

Earlier in the day it looked like Sierra College and San Jose State’s A sides were the class of the tournament, so a match was arranged between them at the end of the day, which San Jose State won, 24-12.

However, neither of these teams played Long Beach, who went home 3-0, and when San Jose State heard about this fourth added match, they played their B side as their A side and dropped one.

Is this confusing? Maybe that’s why the Slugs didn’t want to track the results.

The men’s college D2 should be very competitive this year, with Reno dropping down and these other teams improving.

The tournament provided two athletic trainers, capable and delightful young women with the enchanting names of Mercedes Evangelista and Aphrodite Daphnis. Two angels on a rugby pitch from heaven!

The referees, a solidly terrestrial crew, were: Mike King, Pete Smith, Eric Rauscher, Sandy Robertson, Mark Godfrey, Rod Chance, Bruce Bernstein, Chris Labozzetta and Bruce Carter.

Mike King’s report:
UC Santa Cruz Slugfest

General comment: it was exciting to see so many new players to the game, in their early learning phase with obvious potential and a great interest in improving.

SF STATE 14 – Santa Clara B 7
Early round match with a solid showing by both sides. SFSU controlled play for most of the first half, with the novice Santa Clara side coming into its own in the second.

UC SANTA CRUZ 28 – UC Davis B 0
The hosts were more experienced with the flow of the game and struck quickly to send the message to the brand new players of this young UC Davis side. To their credit the visitors did not back down or give up. When they trade some of their American football instincts for the freer-flowing pace of rugby, they undoubtedly will see improvement in the score.

UC Santa Cruz 7 – SF STATE 12
The host side sent a less experienced group of players into this match, but they held their own. Again, SF State seemed to keep the attack in tight, but occasionally sent the ball wide. Both sides counterattacked with some success gaining ground.


ALL BLUES 82 – Oregon Rugby Sports Union 10 Referee: Joe Androvich
ARs: John Coppinger and Rich Anderson
On a rare sunny, windless morning on Treasure Island, the All Blues closed out their undefeated season with a victory over visiting ORSU.

The All Blues scored five tries in the first half but missed all their conversion attempts.

In the second half, the All Blues dotted the ball down closer to the goal posts, netting six conversions in their nine tries. ORSU scored two well-earned tries with strong, consistent pressure on the All Blues goal line at 50 minutes, and a long run by its fullback at 63 minutes.

The observers, which included Bryan Porter, Dixon Smith and Dave Williamson, noted a spirited competition between the ARs to see which one could raise his touch flag the highest.


The first round and quarterfinals for D1 were played in Boston this past weekend.

The NorCal Triple Threat lost to the Glendale Lady Raptors 20-0 on Saturday but came back to defeat Chicago North Shore 10-7 in the consolation game Sunday.

The four top-seeded teams all won and will advance to the semifinals.


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.

In D1, San Diego will face Atlanta and Seattle will take on NOVA. These games will be played on Friday, November 6.

The WPL teams will play off for a Cup and a Bowl. Cup teams are the All Blues, Beantown, New York and Minnesota Valkyries. Those contesting the Bowl will be Keystone, Twin Cities Amazons, ORUS and Washington, DC.

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.


The season takes on a proper length with the addition of the South Bay Barbarians. League play will commence on January 9, with the final week of the regular season being April 24. There are off-weeks for Presidents’ Day and Easter.

Each team will play twelve league matches. SFGG’s super league side will have friendlies against all of the teams except the Barbarians and the Sacramento Capitals.

The league leader gets a bye into the CR1 playoffs May 8, while second, third and fourth playoff against Utah teams on May 1.

Olympic Club
San Mateo
South Bay Barbarians
Hayward Griffins
Sacramento Lions
Sacramento Capitals
Reno Zephyrs

There are an even dozen teams with several having moved up from D3. They will play a round-robin schedule beginning January 30 and ending April 24, with St. Valentine’s Day and Easter weekends off.

The top three teams advance to the Pacific Coast playoffs May 1.

East Palo Alto – defending USA Rugby champions
Diablo Gaels
Santa Rosa
BA Baracus
Arroyo Grande

D3: Eleven teams will play a round-robin in the third division. Two new teams join the league: Redwood Empire out of Sonoma County, and the Saints from San Bruno.

They start on January 9 and finish on March 27, with the Las Vegas Sevens weekend off. Then, after taking Easter weekend off, the top six finishers will have playoffs over the next three weekends which lead to the PCRFU playoffs on May 1.

East Palo Alto U23
Diablo U23
Berkeley RFC
San Francisco Fog


The NCRRS offered some courses at the California Maritime Academy this past weekend, courtesy of new Commandant Bob Destafney, who is a member of our Society.

On Saturday, Dixon Smith and Mike Malone presented the Level One referee course to nine students. On Sunday, Bruce Carter and Mike Malone held the Touch Judging and Assistant Referees courses to seven attendees, some of whom had spent the day before in the same room.

If the past holds as a guide to the future, we’ll hear from half a dozen folks this week who want to know when we’ll be teaching these courses. The answer is: November 14 and 15 in West Sacramento.

If you see a new face at a game or tournament, introduce yourself and make our fledglings feel at home.

From Pat McNally:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we all know, USA Sevens has packed up shop and moved to Las Vegas. Now, after meeting and talking with the folks at USA Sevens, I am pleased to invite all referees to the 2010 Las Vegas Invitational Rugby Tournament on February 11th, 12th and 13th (Saturday morning), preceding the USA Sevens. This year’s event will include all the divisions we have come to know and love (Men’s and Women’s, Sevens and Fifteens, Youth and Masters), but will also include the Championship Cup Series playoffs. The LVI Tournament will be held on the pitches outside Sam Boyd Stadium, location of the USA Sevens. More Tournament information can be found at:

All referees who will be in the Las Vegas area on Thursday, February 11th and/or Friday, February 12th are welcome to join in. Last year, there were over 70 teams in attendance and this year will be even bigger. The move to Las Vegas has also attracted the interest of some international touring teams. An expanded Invitational Tournament and the Championship Cup Series playoffs (no word on an International Women’s Sevens Tournament, yet) means we will need all the help we can get. All are invited and there will a place for EVERYONE (including touch judges and number fours).

While I doubt that Las Vegas would ever run out of hotel rooms, it would be a very smart move to look into accommodations as soon as possible. The Hard Rock Hotel will be the Tournament HQ Hotel, but USA Sevens has arranged discounts at hotels throughout the Las Vegas area. Hooter’s has rooms as low as $49 a night and even The Palms has some rooms for $79. Wherever you seek reservations, make sure you ask for the USA Sevens Tournament rate (see for more information).

I will be passing on more tournament information as it becomes available. Please feel free to pass this email onto anyone you think might be interested.

Please contact me by email, telephone, or snail mail if you are interested and available, or just need more information.

Hope to see you on a pitch somewhere soon,
Patrick McNally
National Sevens Referee Manager, USA Rugby

If you would like to referee or AR at this event, let Pat know:


From the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine:
“Pertinent in this regard is a study by Liu and colleagues,3 which suggests that a single precursor cell is responsible for generating metastatic disease. These researchers initiated the Project to Eliminate Lethal Prostate Cancer (PELICAN) in 1994, in which men with prostate cancer were asked to donate their bodies in the event of death from their disease.”

Coaches and Captain Panel
At our recent annual training meeting, Joe Leisek moderated a panel discussion with St. Mary’s Captain Andrew Cook, the California Maritime Academy’s Coach, Edward Roberts, and Elsie Allen’s coach, Alan Petty.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris