Tuesday, December 08, 2009




The NCRRS will meet Wednesday, December 9, from 7-9 PM at the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island (southeast corner of the island). All referees are encouraged to attend and all others will be welcomed as well.

REO David Williamson has another comprehensive training program arranged for the 2010 season. Having covered the tackle at our meeting in October, his week we’ll focus on the ruck and maul. George O’Neil will also speak on his experience refereeing in New Zealand earlier this year.

Food will be provided beginning at 6 for early arrivals while the Referee Development Committee is meeting. Plan to arrive at 6 – if everything works you’ll have dinner and conversation. If traffic is bad, you won’t miss the meeting and the food will still be there, the traffic having affected everyone else, too.


Isaac Caselis of Hayward, who has reffed and ARed a little for the Pelicans, is helping to coach the Warthogs in Oakland. They could use some practice jerseys.

You might recall reading about the Warthogs in the Chronicle’s Sporting Green: Scott Osler wrote about them earlier this year: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/22/SPNV15EG24.DTL

If you have any rugby jerseys that you could spare, why not bring them to our meeting this Wednesday? Maybe you’ve – er – outgrown them. Perhaps you’ve forgotten the significance of one of those in the far reaches of the closet. Or it may be that the colors simply no longer suit.

Your jersey will be recycled in the best possible way for a rugby jersey: it will be worn to practice, muddied and bloodied, and another lucky athlete will fall in love with our sport thereby.


At UC Santa Barbara on Friday afternoon, January 1:
Chris Tucker: USA high school All Stars – Canada U17
Pete Smith: USA U20's – NZ Universities

At the IRB Sevens in Las Vegas, February 13 and 14th:
Aruna Ranaweera: Assistant Referee
Kat Todd-Schwartz: Referee Performance Reviewer

Congratulations to these four hard workers on their just rewards!


Fresno over 35 – Under 35 Scheduled Referee: John Pohlman

Fresno’s board realized that the old boys weren’t CIPPed and most of them were not going to get CIPPed, so they called the game off mid-week.

John Pohlman was prepared to drive 170 miles each way but instead didn’t get a game.

SF Fog – Univ. of Nevada, Reno Scheduled Referee: Dave Ellis

Non event! My early Saturday morning due-diligence on the USA Rugby website determined that UNR had only one CIPPed player on their roster. A phone call to their coach confirmed that to be the case. Unfortunately, they were already on their way to Treasure Island. Wasted trip, as Dave Williamson, the Fog President and I all concurred that the game be cancelled. Bummer!

Dave, who was scheduled to be evaluated, saved a round trip of 460 miles. But he and Roberto Santiago, who was slated for the seconds, didn’t get matches either.

[Editor’s Note: As of four days later there’s no evidence of a learning curve: they still show that lone CIPP ranger.]


Three involving St. Mary’s at Rocca Field:

SF/GOLDEN GATE seconds 51 – St. Mary's thirds 5 Referee: Preston Gordon
This was a perfect demonstration of that old saw about how old age and experience will beat youth and exuberance every time. We played the full 80, with open subs, and while the St. Mary's side put together some pretty good passages of play, and caught SFGG napping one time with a quick lineout that resulted in a try, there wasn't much doubt about who would win after half an hour or so. The halftime score was 15-0, but then it opened up pretty quickly in the second half.

I stuck around to AR for Paul and John afterwards. There was a pretty good crowd for the SFGG A - St. Mary's A game; I'd estimate 300 all together.

A great day of rugby!

SF Golden Gate 22 – ST. MARY’S 35 Referee: Paul Bretz
ARs: Preston Gordon, John Coppinger
If this is preseason I can't wait until the real thing. Saint Mary’s defeated SFGG 35-22. SMC has speed everywhere and their running lines are very good. SFGG had a combination of Super League, D1, and U21 players. The breakdown was well contested and SMC seemed to always have more bodies contesting for possession. Thanks to Preston and John for running the lines.)

ST. MARY’S seconds 49 – Humboldt State 6 Referee: John Coppinger
ARs: Paul Bretz, Preston Gordon
In the finale of the three match set at Rocca Field, SMC ran by and over the over-matched Lumberjacks.

The match, which was played in perfect rugby conditions, ended just before darkness descended.

My thanks to Paul Bretz and Preston Gordon for sticking around to act at ARs.

SAC CAPITALS 35 – Diablo Gaels 29 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: John Compaglia (Gaels), Sacramento Player
A cold, overcast day at Danny Nunn Park greeted those who arrived for what is becoming an annual pre-season match-up. Sacramento has a great set of barriers for both sides of the pitch. Both teams scored off interceptions. Both teams scrummaged relatively well. Both teams had early problems with tacklers not getting to their feet before playing the ball. Overall, this was a very active and exciting match. Diablo maintained the lead until the 71st minute. Then Sacramento scored to cut Diablo's lead to one. The ensuing kickoff went over the dead ball line. Sacramento opted for a scrum, got stable ball, passed left, missed tackle or two, ball carrier scampers in for a try. The conversion was made. Diablo had about two minutes remaining. Unfortunately for Diablo, the Gods were preparing for the Raiders' and did not have enough in the tank to bless the visitors with a resurgent attack.

Seconds: Sac Capitals 10 – DIABLO GAELS 33 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
I was frankly surprised at the quality and speed of this B side match, especially if one considers the fact that most of the players were veterans of the A side match played just prior. Sacramento as the hosts were able to field a number of new faces, whereas Diablo had virtually their whole A side on the pitch. This reflected on the score, with Diablo putting in 3 tries and two conversions in the first half. Sacramento came back in the second half scoring three tries in the corner. This meant that all the kicks at the posts to convert went wide. Diablo however did not have that problem and converted both of the tries scored in the second half. As I said before, the fitness and skills exhibited were far above B side. Cooperating weather and the best safety perimeter around the pitch I ever saw contributed to the success of the day.

MARIN 29 – Santa Rosa 10Referee: Rod Chance
AR: Mark Godfrey, player not to be named later
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith
The sun came out for local rivals Marin and Santa Rosa. Both teams were out early getting ready for a spirited game. The first half was a battle that ended with Marin converting 1 try and Santa Rosa with 3 from a penalty kick.

The second half Marin came out with a quicker pace and strong forward play that taxed a worn-down Santa Rosa pack, resulting in three quick tries. Santa Rosa responded valiantly with hard running, scoring a try at the 60th minute. It was a well played game with a great attitude from both clubs.

STANFORD 22 – Maritime Academy 19 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Hello, game day butterflies, oh how I've missed you. It was the Tri-Tip 7's tournament in August that I last blew my whistle. The break was nice but now it's back to good times on Saturdays.

A beautiful day on Stanford's campus, both teams came ready to play. This was my first encounter with Cal Maritime and they put on a good show. Both teams had issues with hands in rucks and playing the ball on the ground. Hopefully it’s just preseason jitters; they see the ball and just can't help themselves. For as many penalties as I called, there must have been an equal number of misses as evidenced from all the assistant referees on both sides. They want the call for themselves, but can't help themselves from infringing either!

Anyway, on to better things. The preseason tag is for the schedule only as both teams when at it full force. Stanford only just pulled out the win with a penalty goal in the last minutes. Both teams were fast and strong and pretty equal in strengths. Hard to believe Cal Maritime is a small Division 2 school.

Seconds: Stanford 5 – MARITIME ACADEMY 10 Referee: Referee: Stephen Moore
Assistant Referee: Tom Zanarini
A tough match between two very determined sides with a score line of nil at half time reflecting strong first half defense.

The second half saw Maritime cross Stanford’s goal line with a try in the corner after the ball being played out wide with a long sweeping run. Stanford latter replied breaking through Maritime’s defense to equal the score. A short lapse in Stanford concentration led Maritime to respond quickly at the re-start with a second try. Both sides doggedly fought out the remaining game time with no further points.

This was my second match as a referee and first officiating a full 80 minute game.

I felt more physically relaxed this time, but still feel there is a way to go with mental relaxation despite feeling more confident with some decisions at times. Tom Zanarini (Assistant Referee) rightly pointed out that my whistle and signal combination is slow, and my whistle for a penalty and arm signals need to be more pronounced. Also I was not giving clear secondary signals after infringements at breakdowns. Advantage play after a knock is also a struggle for me. I feel I will confuse myself with too much info at this early stage. I hope to improve this. Like everyone else I don’t like referees who don’t play advantage.

Thanks to Tom Zanarini for his input and advice. I wrote down plenty of notes after the match, and read up on the law book and other materials.

Again I look forward to the next match. Thank you again Pelicans!

SAN FRANCISCO STATE 25 – Univ. of San Francisco 12 Referee: Pete Smith
At was a day that took me back to the mid-eighties with the mud, blood and beer credo that reigned supreme back then. Not to mention the sizable crowd that had assembled including 6 coeds with exposed midriffs and ‘G-A-T-O-R-S’ painted on them. There were several photographers and someone filming the warm-up and game from USF that seemed to be doing some sort of movie. What the players lacked in experience they made up with enthusiasm. There was singing and chanting before and after the game, it was a real college atmosphere. Maybe these teams have played against each other several times in the past that I am unaware of or this has instantly become a fierce cross-town rivalry.

The field had a strong slope and the elements were in favor of the slope making almost the entire game at one end, the muddy one. The home SFSU Gators scored early and often in the first half by pinning the USF Dons in their own end. The Gators were led by both their captain Joseph #6 and hooker who a hand in every try. They were tremendous at the tackle and listened to my instructions well enough to almost completely avoid penalties at the break down, but pushed the limit to the max. The Gators sat on what they thought was a comfortable 25-0 lead with five unconverted tries. Unfortunately rugby is played with two halves and the second half was much more evenly played and ultimately all the scoring was done by USF. With the wind, sun and slope all at their back, they were able to apply similar pressure on SFSU. The Dons scored two tries to make it 25-12 and the score should have been 25-19, but with the goal post at the back of the try zone (soccer goals with nets, posts added) a USF player ran out the back of the try zone while trying to center the try, for a 22 meter drop out. Otto came on for USF and he settled and led his forwards in the second half and that likely helped change the momentum as well as the captain for SFSU Joseph going off with a lower leg injury.

Under the Duh file, I overheard one of the teams talking about their play calls with one call being ‘Argentina’. The player asked if the call was just any country or specifically ‘Argentina’ to which he was answered that it was specific and not just any ‘South African’ country.

FOG women 96 – Sequoias 25 Referee: Hennie Strydom
Fog Ladies vs Sequoia Invitation XV (combination of Sequoia and Fog)
Due to shortage of players we played 10's, with 20-minute quarters.

Scoring broke down as follows: 39-0, 25-5, 17-20, 5-0.

The field was well-marked and ropes set to manage the spectators. Overall a good experience.

Chico State 12 – CAL POLY 39 Referee: Don Pattalock

TJs: B. McSwain, A. Triantafyllou

There are stories detailing the game on the rugby news sites so I won’t recount the match. The score flatters Cal Poly somewhat as the game was heavily contested. Every tackle/ruck was contested and the match was extremely physical. Both teams countered well off turnovers; however, CP managed to score while Chico fell short. CP was much larger in the forwards and that fact alone had Chico on the back foot. A couple soft try’s after halftime lead Chico to lose some focus and CP finished off the match from there. Fun match to be a part of.

PS: Dan Lacko did the 2nds and I stayed and watched the first 30 min period. Two fantastic trys awarded by Lacko: one he was on both knees as a maul went to ground in-goal and Dan awarded the try from his knees; the second, Dan is in-goal as a maul is advancing towards him, the maul roll’s and the try is scored right at his feet. Perfect or serendipitous positioning: you be the judge.

Seconds: Chico State 17 – CAL POLY 36 Lacko


ORLANDO 16 – Pelicans 7 Referee: Sam Reagle
Conditions: Sloppy
I have been looking forward to refereeing the Pelicans of St. Petersburg since I got the assignment 3 weeks ago. As it turns out, one of their coaches is Russ Boring who played for the Sacramento Capitals in a previous life. It's always nice to run into someone you know when you are far from home. We chatted a bit before getting on with our respective duties.

It has rained here in central Florida for the past 2 days. Not torrential, but varying between none and some. Just before kickoff, the rugby gods waved whatever it is they wave and the sun peaked out from behind some clouds and all was good, except the pitch which was woefully saturated. Muddy conditions usually hurt the offense more than the defense and today was no exception. All but one of the scores was from a penalty kick or directly related to an offensive miscue by the other team.

The Pelicans got on the board first just 3 minutes into the game with a well earned converted try. I was impressed with how well they recycled the ball after attacking the defenders head on. Little did I know at the time that that would be the only score for the next 30+ minutes without any real organized plays from either side. Orlando got on the board just before halftime when a Pelican with the ball in his own goal had it ripped away and downed for a try. Halftime score: 7-5 Pelicans

Minutes into the second half, Orlando striped a penalty kick to take the lead 8-7. This held up for about 20 minutes of back and forth industrial rugby when Orlando scored a try by stealing a lineout about 8 meters out and slicing between defenders into goal. Orlando made another penalty kick about 5 minutes later to finish the scoring. Because the winner was in doubt up to the final minutes, it was very exciting to referee and (I hope) to watch. I look forward to seeing Orlando again next week when the play Gainesville.


We have a dozen games on tap this weekend, with eight available referees left over.

This is a problem we won’t have much longer, after the seasons ramp up in January.

You can see the lineup at www.Pelicanrefs.com. Assistant Referees are always welcome and some of these games look to be quite good. Drop an e-note to the assigned ref if you’d like a run.


The B grades are no more. B3, B2 and B1 will combined into a single territorial grade known at T.

The existing C grades will be renamed as local grades, L3, L2 and L1. New, ungraded referees who are currently called D referees may be called L4 or some other designation that the local society prefers.

These changes were approved by the General Committee of the USA Rugby Referee and Laws Committee, which met in Las Vegas this past weekend. They should be implemented nationwide by the start of California league play in January.

Under the new criteria, it will be slightly more difficult to make L1 (old C1) and likewise T (formerly, initially at least, B3). But once on the T Panel, a referee will be in the same pool for assignments and appointments, including national appointments, as the other T panelists.

Distinctions among those on the T panel will be made by the grades that they receive on their evaluations. The road to the National Focus Group and National Panel will of course run through T territory.

Everyone with an existing grade will be transferred to the corresponding grade without having to meet additional criteria if they happen to be C1 or B3 at present. Those C2 and C1 referees who have above-grade reports in the bank already can be reassured that these reports remain valid currency toward promotion even though subsequent reports must be written against the higher standards.



“I was in Paris for a couple days last week and stayed near a small cafe/sports bar shown in the attached picture. They served Pelforth beer, which used to be called "Pelican" and is now owned by Heineken. No idea if they serve this in the US.


Here's what Wiki says:

Pelforth Brewery

25 cl bottle of Pelforth Brune


A recently-wedded couple has come up with a proposed Pelicus name for the bride:

Pelicus Pookie Goochicus

A special plenary session of the Senate was required to consider this issue. Long-time readers will recall what happened to the one who proposed a name in pig-Latin: he became Pelicus Littlus Dickus for a few years until redeeming himself by good works.

But if a woman wishes to apply pillow-talk to herself in public, we can only respond as did Cicero: “O tempora! O mores!”

Muchos Pelicanos
Somebody we know is hanging out with a bunch of our friends.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris