Wednesday, June 30, 2010




ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – Stephen Moore
MOST IMPROVED – Bruce Bernstein
PELICAN OF THE YEAR – Cary Bertolone

Hail, Pelicii!

A speech given by Bruce Carter Saturday night:

We gather tonight to celebrate our game, our craft, and our friendships.

We gather tonight to bear witness to a half-century of dedication.

We gather tonight to honor a friend, a mentor, a husband, a father, and a man of rugby.

We gather tonight to receive a torch that is being passed.

What does it mean to referee the game you’ve played and loved all your life, and then to give up your chance to be an International referee in order to help others reach for the stars of Test rugby?

What does it mean to substitute one dream for another?

Why would someone dedicate himself as the first chairman of the newly-formed USA Rugby’s Evaluation Committee in 1976, to standardize referee assessment from sea to shining sea, to eliminate parochialism among the former independent duchies of the newly-united realm, to offer the rich mother lode of Northern California for deserving visiting referees to mine, to lend his own credibility to the effort of ensuring that American international referees would be accepted as peers around the world, to serve as an IRB evaluator for many years and to continue walking the touchlines of Pelicanland happily helping even the fledglings to spread their wings?

What would inspire such efforts? What would we call such a person?

How about Educator? The word derives from Latin and means, “One who brings forth what is within.”

Having spent more than fifty years in American rugby, bringing many referees up to the Test and even World Cup level, and after having brought the best out of USA refereeing as a whole, Bryan Porter certainly qualifies as an Educator.

To inspire our reminiscence, let’s flip through Bartlett’s and see what folks have had to say about Education over the years.

We’ll lead off with Santa Rosa’s Charles Schultz:

"Try not to have a good time ... This is supposed to be educational.”

This might have served as a motto for Bryan, who always took his duties seriously. A young referee, facing that stern countenance for the first time, might have felt the fun draining out of his audition. But of course a chance to fail is a chance to excel – and therein lies the fun.

Bryan would tell you that seeing a referee master the art and advance through the ranks is deeply satisfying, and certainly constitutes a ‘good time’.

Because, as the English philosopher Herbert Spencer said,

“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action."

Spencer is the man who coined the term, “The survival of the fittest,” which came to mind whenever the sharp Porter eye was brought to focus on a referee.

The poet William Butler Yeats wrote:

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. “

Bryan expected those who take the whistle in hand to know the Laws of the Game. His method was to serve as a catalyst, to help a referee to forge knowledge and perception, empathy and judgment, fitness and experience all into an alloy of exceeding brightness and durability.

But Bryan never awarded passing marks merely for showing up. Occasionally a referee proved unprepared not only for games of higher caliber, but even for the game on the day. These people were Porterized:

If education is the lighting of a fire, than surely as an Anonymous sage once said,

"If you light a man a fire, he will be warm for a day; if you light a man on fire, he will be warm for the rest of his life."

Some survived such Porterization and found themselves annealed, made stronger by the process, ready for the arenas of higher-level rugby. For, as former San Francisco reporter Mark Twain knew,

"If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way."

Bryan was and remains an Assessor. Referee coaching has developed over the past decade, approaching the same problem of referee improvement from a different psychological angle. The coach’s role may be summarized: he sugar-coats it. But perhaps Bryan would second the notion of long-time Santa Cruz resident Robert A. Heinlein that,

"I never learned from a man who agreed with me."

I remember when I met Bryan Porter for the first time. It was at the polo field in Golden Gate Park, in the early eighties. I was talking to a NorCal referee when Bryan walked by.

The ref interrupted our conversation to introduce me to Bryan and then to say to him, “You know, I’m getting a little tired of the grief I’ve been getting from the teams I’ve refereed lately. Even Hastings, normally the nicest bunch of guys you could ever hope to meet, complained about the game I did for them last week. I don’t need this.”

Bryan considered for a moment and then replied, “You know, I’ve been reading the reports as they come across my desk. I think you’re right. You don’t need this.”

Porterized. I think I got a contact-singe.

A few years later as a budding blower I found myself trying to find favor in Bryan’s reports. I often had to take refuge in the wisdom of American humorist Don Herold, who said,

"The brighter you are, the more you have to learn,"

and also from Robert Pirsig, who wrote in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,

"The best students always are flunking. Every good teacher knows that."

We all suspect that Bryan was way ahead of the philosophers on this one.

Fifty years on, Bryan continues to influence generations of referees. For, as Henry Adams, grandson and great-grandson of presidents wrote,

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."

Pioneers blaze trails – the rest of us follow. But the trail leads onward for those who pick up the charge.

Bryan’s work isn’t finished. As a result of his dedication, Northern California is positioned to provide the top tier of American rugby referees for years to come.

All of us who continue to benefit from his expertise and his example should be mindful of the words of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche:

"You are rewarding a teacher poorly if you remain always a pupil."

Let us dedicate to Bryan the fruits of the seeds he has sown, the bountiful harvest of Northern California rugby refereeing, which will sustain our game far into the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, Bryan Porter.


Palo Alto Summer Sevens

Begun in 1972, this granddaddy of USA Sevens tournaments has moved to a new home for 2010, the artificial pitches at the corner of El Camino and Page Mill.

Thirty-eight or thirty-nine teams were there, including a Renaissance of women’s teams after a few lean years. They were strapped for refs late in the day because all of the referees in attendance had to leave for the NCRRS banquet well before the games ended.

But that won’t be a problem July 10 and 24. Make plans to attend and help out. This is good stuff.

SFGG Hosts Two

SF/Golden Gate – GHA RFC (Scotland) Referee: Joe Androvich
ARs: Jim Crenshaw, Eric Rauscher
The visitors won this game. That’s all we know.

SFGG 53 – NZ Navy Side 14 Referee: Preston Gordon
ARs: Tom Zanarini, Eric Rauscher
Rocca Field, 1530, Sunday June 28th

It was great to be a part of this. SFGG's usual hospitality was on offer, and although we had to delay the kickoff by about half an hour, that wasn't a problem for anyone. There was some sort of street blockage on Market Street in San Francisco most of Sunday - it took me nearly an hour to get from downtown to Treasure Island.

SFGG scored a couple of early tries, followed by an NZN intercept try. The Kiwis got another one in the first half (converting both), to leave the score at 15-14. The SFGG kicker couldn't get near the posts and left all 3 of their first-half tries unconverted.

Things were looking pretty good until about the 30' mark, at which point one of the NZN front-rowers injured his arm and was unable to continue. Since they were out of qualified players, a winger was put into the front row and we had to go to uncontested scrums. As it turned out, this gentleman was the New Zealand Consul General himself, who was up from Los Angeles as part of the diplomatic delegation for the naval visit.

In the second half SFGG was able to make the most of their attacking opportunities, using their large and fast backs to open holes in the defense. The Navy side had some good runs as well, but ultimately ran out of gas and people (open subs favored SFGG) and was not able to score any more points. I was told later that their match against British Columbia the preceding week was even more one-sided, perhaps because they had several Canadian internationals playing, and that several key players picked up injuries that ruled them out of this week's fixture.

One point of contention: The NZN was surprised when SFGG did a pick-and-go play from the back of a 5m attacking scrum to score a try. According to them, that shouldn't have been allowed once we went to uncontested scrums. I disagreed, but certainly saw their point. In the end it probably didn't make much difference as the game was pretty far out of reach by that point. SFGG ended up winning 53-14.

The after-match function was well attended by many other members of the two ships' crew (the frigate HMNZS Te Kaha and the supply ship HMNZS Endeavour) and SFGG. The New Zealand Ambassador made an appearance, along with the two ships' captains and the Consul General mentioned above.

They graciously extended an invitation to me and a guest (Catherine) for a cocktail reception aboard HMNZS Te Kaha the following evening, which I certainly didn't plan to miss. That was another great event with ~150 people enjoying hors d'oeuvre and drinks under a tent set up on the aft helicopter deck. The Ambassador's speech was very good, and the music and haka performed by the cultural team (made up of crew members) were moving. There was a proper receiving line awaiting the guests, and at least 3 USCG flag officers onboard, one of whom was a Vice Admiral. After dessert we took a short tour of the ship and a couple of pictures. They're tied up at Pier 27 and will be leaving sometime on Thursday - I'm not sure if they'll be open to the public before then. In the meantime you may notice a higher-than-usual number of New Zealand accents around San Francisco!

Thanks in particular to Tom and Eric, who did a excellent job on the touchline.


East Palo Alto qualified for the Club Championship Series sevens final tournament in Las Vegas next February, to be held in conjunction with the IRB Sevens.

They did this by finishing second in the qualifying tournament played at the Midnight Sevens, losing to the mostly-BYU Humless team.

Pete Smith and Bruce Carter flew down to represent the Pelicans among the refs.

Bucharest, Romania

Week 2 Report by Aruna Ranaweera

TUESDAY June 15:

Match day. As the reserve referee for all three 2nd round matches, I was at the stadium all afternoon, but fortunately, no one got injured. Instead, I managed to get a workout at the stadium gym. The first match kicked off in sunny 85F heat (which suited South African Marius Jonker just fine) and the last match involved a steady downpour (which suited Scotsman Neil “Paddy” Paterson just fine). I was particularly impressed to see first-hand how calm and confident Marius is when he referees (he makes it look easy), while Paddy’s movements on the field are so precise they belong in a textbook. iRB referee assessor Patrick Robin (France) has arrived in Bucharest, so he will do the referee evaluations for the remainder of the tournament. Bryan Arciero’s dad, Danny, is also in town with us.

Round 2 Match results:
3pm: Italy A 21, Georgia 3; Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
5pm: Namibia 23, Scotland A 20; Referee: Bryan Arciero (Canada)
7pm: Romania 24, Argentina Jaguars 8; Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

At the end of the 2nd round, unheralded Namibia and Italy A had emerged as the only 2-0 unbeaten teams, while surprisingly, pre-tournament favorites Scotland A and Argentina Jaguars were both in the cellar at 0-2. Media reports:

We all went to dinner at a fancy restaurant decorated like the inside of a medieval castle and everyone ate too much. I learned that the citing commissioner from France was a frequent visitor to San Francisco since his son’s family lived there. We ended the night at another nice outdoor lounge in Bucharest where, while enjoying the scenery, entertaining tales were exchanged about rugby and other matters.


Most of the referees spent the afternoon relaxing at the Ramada pool next door, but I had to catch-up on work so stayed indoors. Dave McHugh and I went over the DVD of my 1st round match (Namibia vs Romania) for about 2 hours, which provided valuable new insights. His coaching feedback was very useful.

Prior to our departure for the official tournament dinner at an upscale outdoor sports club (owned by the Romanian rugby president), Dave announced the referee appointments for the 3rd (final) round of matches on Sunday. Paddy and Marius are to referee the first two matches, while I was to referee the last match between Scotland A and Argentina Jaguars. Although the pre-tournament favorites are 0-2, pride is at stake and they are both under huge pressure to avoid the wooden spoon, so I’m really looking forward to Sunday’s contest, which is sure to be intense.

On the way to check-out the opening of a new club in town, the match officials (and many others) were caught in a sudden thunderstorm which gave us the opportunity to bust out a spirited extended version of “singing in the rain” (and other rugby songs). Meanwhile, James Jones, easily the best dressed of the referees, was mistaken for a Celtic soccer celebrity and was given VIP treatment at the club. The good-natured singing was continued back at the hotel bar (open 24-hours), where we were joined by a motley assortment of curious onlookers.


Lead by Emil Pirtoc and Vlad Iordachescu, we piled into two minivans for the 3-hour drive to the Black Sea city of Constanta, the second largest city in Romania. The weather was cooler than usual, so the beach-town was relatively empty, but we stumbled upon a European satellite beach volleyball tournament in Mamaia. We made an attempt at touch rugby, but found too may sharp objects in the sand.

Dinner was at a seaside restaurant and was lively to say the least. Dave led the good-natured morals court (no one escaped) and there was lively singing for several hours, which was entertaining not only for us, but also the highly amused restaurant patrons and waiters.

FRIDAY June 18:

The sun was out, so the beaches were packed with people. I waded into the Black Sea for a quick swim. Two things made it clear that the beach culture here is different from California: (1) there are topless sunbathers everywhere, and (2) despite the perfect waves, not a surfer was in sight.

On the way back to Bucharest, we had lunch mid-way at a nice outdoor restaurant. We passed rows of communist-era apartment buildings before reaching the city center. Most of the referees went running. At the soccer world cup on TV, USA was down 0-2 to Slovenia at half, rallied back to tie the match 2-2, and was unlucky to have the game-winning goal disallowed by the FIFA referee. Some of the other match officials were also interested in the NBA finals and were happy to hear that the Lakers had won Game 7. We had dinner again at the Radisson poolside and watched part of the England v Algeria soccer match.


We returned to the Dubliner to order cottage pie and watch more rugby matches on Sky Sports: New Zealand v Wales, Australia v England, and South Africa v Italy. I was relieved to find Gatorade in a nearby grocery store.

After learning that today is Marius’ 41st birthday, we arranged for dinner and birthday cake at the Hard Rock Cafe. Meanwhile, Andy and Paddy were overjoyed to hear of Scotland’s 2nd test victory over Argentina in Argentina. Since tomorrow is match day, we all went to bed early.

SUNDAY June 20:

Match day. Despite thunderstorm forecasts, the sunny 80F weather held up nicely. Paddy was suffering from food poisoning, so James took his place as referee for the first match. Host Romania requested that their match be played last, so my match was moved to the 2nd time slot. My Assistant Referees are Bryan Arciero (Canada) and Radu Petrescu (Romania).

Round 3 Match results:
3pm: Namibia 21, Georgia 16; Referee: James Jones (Wales)
5pm: Argentina Jaguars 33, Scotland A 13; Referee: Aruna Ranaweera (USA)
7pm: Romania 27, Italy A 22; Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

As expected, my match was both intense and challenging as both teams were under pressure and included players with test match pedigree. Scotland stayed close for about 50 minutes, but Argentina found their groove in the fourth quarter and pulled away to win comfortably. In the second half, I encountered several situations which forced me to improvise, so this match will provide good material for future reference. Overall, it was a valuable experience. Dave provided the match DVD and gave me some quick pointers. I will later receive a formal assessment report from Patrick.

As expected, Marius did a virtuoso job refereeing the last match which was played in front of a large and boisterous local crowd. In the end, Namibia, the only unbeaten team, won this year’s Nations Cup, while host Romania ended on a high as runner-up in the standings to the jubilation of the locals. Media reports:
Final standings:

The strong showing by the Tier 2 nations is surely encouraging for the iRB’s High Performance program. Later this year, Churchill Cup teams USA and Canada are scheduled to face off against some of the Nations Cup teams, so that will close the loop prior to next year’s RWC.

After the festive post-match Nations Cup reception party near the stadium, we bade farewell to our Romanian colleagues who have provided us with excellent hospitality. Local referees Vlad and Horatiu Barguanas took us downtown to celebrate the end of the tournament. Since it was Sunday, we returned back to the hotel fairly soon and said goodbye to the folks who were to leave early the next day including Dave who did a great job as our referee manager and mentor.

MONDAY June 21:

The remaining match officials were driven to the airport where Andy, Marius and I relaxed in the business lounge before our flights. We also viewed some clips from my match with the French citing commissioner. Both Andy and Marius are on their way to South Africa (Andy will run touch during this weekend’s South Africa v Italy test match), while I am on my way to Switzerland for work (back to reality), returning to California on June 25. We wished each other well and agreed to stay in touch.

Overall, I would like to thank USA Rugby and the iRB for giving me the opportunity to referee at this year’s Nations Cup. It was an amazing experience and I will be a better referee as a result. The best part of this trip was spending time with the other match officials who were not only supportive and professional, but a great group of people to hang out with. I have no doubt all folks involved will move onto to greater things in the years to come.


Exchange Report – Mark Bingham Cup

As a veteran of three Mark Bingham Cup tournaments as a player I was thrilled to get a chance to referee at the tournament this past weekend. My wife was also thrilled since being sent as a ref meant I was far less likely to come home injured. We had been looking forward to the trip for months as it was chance for both of us to see old friends and enjoy being part of a very special event.

We arrived in Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon and were whisked off to the home of a high school friend who had a home just about ten minutes from the National Sports Center where the tournament was held. The location was ideal as it was close to the pitch and contained three young children for my son to play with. Hooray for family vacations!

On Thursday we thought we’d head downtown and catch a Twins game in their beautiful new stadium. No such luck. Even with a division leading team and a shiny new park my theory that a 12:00pm game on a Thursday would still have walk up tickets proved false. Instead we met up with other MBC visitors, had lunch, and strolled around down town Minneapolis. As is our habit when we’re in a new city with time to kill we checked out the library. The new library downtown is huge and architecturally interesting. It’s also a great place to entertain a one year old and cool off for a bit. Minneapolis itself reminds me a bit of Toronto, it’s a city, but it’s really clean. Almost like downtown Disney. Thursday night was a bit dodgy with tornado warnings going off across the state. I was awed when the whole world outside the house turned yellow. I’d never seen anything like it. When it all turned green an hour later I was informed that instead of awed I should be concerned. When it all turned red and purple I figured we were all going to die but learned that a red sky was a good thing. Whew.

Finally, after an evening of being subjected to watching “So You Think You Can Dance” instead of game seven of the NBA Finals it was time to referee some rugby. The wonderful and gracious Tammy Cowan picked us up in the morning and brought us out to the tournament. I was stoked to see how many friendly faces I recognized from my previous exchange to Minnesota, as well as Minnesota refs I’d seen out here in NorCal. Also present were Luann Campbell and Jay Trello from SoCal and my former teammate Matt Bluske now reffing for Eastern Penn. After picking up the day’s assignments I learned that Jay was about to mic me up for an eval on my first match of the day.

Friday Pool Play

NY Gotham Knights A 83 – Nashville 0

The game went just as the score suggests. Gotham was simply faster and stronger than Nashville. The Gotham backs displayed laser precise passes and ran with high knees. Nashville was decent in the scrums but their backs couldn’t find continuity. Again and again a Nashville center would get isolated and then abused by the Gotham backs and loose forwards and then it would be off to the races for New York. Even though it wasn’t the best kind of game for an evaluation Jay gave me great feedback and coaching. One of the nice things about an evaluation at a tournament is that you can put the advice into practice right away.

Sydney Convicts A 80 – Atlanta Bucks 0

My afternoon match was only slightly more competitive than my morning match and even then it was only the score that was closer. The game opened on a rough note with the Bucks captain sustaining a torn ACL and MCL within the first five minutes. After the delay for the injury play resumed but it understandably took Atlanta a while to get back into playing mode. Unlike the Gotham game the Bucks were completely overmatched. The general tone of play was some combination of kickoff, broken tackle, pass, try. Every so often there was a ruck. We even had a couple scrums. It was not a good day to be an Atlanta captain as the replacement captain also left the game with an injured shoulder. There were a few times when a player or coach would encourage me to let things end but with seeding tie breakers in mind I was inclined to let the game play the full time.

In the end Sydney came away just short of Gotham with 12 tries on the day for the Aussies compared to 13 for New York. Imagine my utter lack of surprise when the two teams I watched dominate the first day ended up playing for the cup on Sunday. One note on reffing blowouts, while any of the fifteen players on the winning side could go for a bit of a run and end up scoring there’s only one person who has to chase every one of them all the way down. I was tired by the end of it. Once again I was happy to receive a bit of coaching from Kevin Terpstra who watched the first half of the Sydney game and part of the previous Gotham game.

After the day was done the refs retired to a nearby sports bar and grill. It was here that my wife learned two things, one chicken and wild rice soup in the Midwest is always cream based, and two, refs are sarcastic. After my better half went on a five minute rant about how the waitress should mention it being cream based she was treated to forty-five minutes of ribbing from our hosts. A good time was had by all.

Saturday Pool Play

Dublin Emerald Warriors 8 – Phoenix Storm 5

I’ll be honest, coming into this one I expected another blow out. Instead I was treated to my first competitive match of the tournament. Phoenix started the game with a cheer borrowed from the movie “Bring it On” which prompted the Irish kicker to remark “They’re awfully happy, you’d think the match was over. Someone should remind them they haven’t won yet.” To me it was funny that the same cheer had been the Washington Renegades B’s signature at the 2006 Bingham Cup. You have to appreciate the meta-irony of stealing a cheer borrowed from a movie about stealing cheers. Only in gay rugby. But I digress.

The Irish clearly had the stronger team but no one did in fact tell Phoenix. The Storm were strong in the scrums but just not crisp enough in the backs. I was very nearly saddled with what the Midwest refs call a “common score” when, with no time left, the Warriors lined up for a fifty meter penalty kick. The ball hung in the air and seemed like it had no chance, then like it was sure to go through, then it clanged off the upright. The Storm gathered the ball in field and tried to counter attack. After two phases I caught the storm halfback for an interesting bit of playing the ball on the ground. The player somehow found himself lying on the ground next to the ball, which had squirted out the side of a ruck. With Irish players bearing down on him he picked up the ball between his calves and flung it towards his flyhalf. The Warriors made the ensuing penalty kick from fifteen meters out for the win.

Saturday Cup Quarterfinal

San Francisco 56 – Dallas 0

I was very happy to get the assignment to ref the NorCal representatives at the Bingham Cup. Coming off their playoff appearance in the NorCal matrix this past season the Fog came out showing why they are Cup contenders every time out. After Gotham and Sydney took the top two seeds in the knock out rounds third seeded SF took on sixth seeded Dallas. The Fog dominated with a full 15 effort. There was no phase of the game that Dallas could answer. San Francisco’s tries came from far out and close in scored by backs and forwards alike. The Fog showed power in the rucks and finesse in the backline scoring eight tries with eight conversions. The local boys rolled on to face Sydney in the semifinals.

That night it was BBQ, reindeer games, and a trip out to the Minneapolis Eagle with the Minnesota refs. This was my 5th Eagle having already been to Philly, Charlotte, DC and New York. The leather requirement was waived for the night. It was also clear how well the refs were doing to that point when one forgot her ID and the players informed the bouncer “You have to let her in, she’s like the best ref in the world!” She was let in.

Sunday Plate Semifinal

Seattle Quake A 0 – Los Angeles Rebellion 7

It was nice to see another competitive match to finish my weekend. This one went back and forth between the 22 meter lines as neither team could quite overcome the other’s defense. In the end two yellow cards doomed Seattle (who had the best looking kits of the tournament) especially the one that came with the Quake driving for a possible score until the Seattle ball carrier decided to drop a People’s Elbow on a would be tackler. The ensuing penalty kick ended the game and LA went on to win the plate later in the day.

Sunday night, after a last couple pints with the refs I headed out with some former teammates. All sorts of rugby tourish type things went on but I will relate only this cautionary bit of advice, if you are alone in a nearly empty bar it’s a bad idea to call members of the gay rugby team “fags.” The chances of your night ending poorly increase dramatically. In this particular case the young man was let go with a warning and we retired to another establishment for a more peaceful pint.

In closing this was one of the most enjoyable weekends I can remember. Then again the Bingham Cup is always fun. From winning a break dance battle in London in 2004 to my wife telling the cabby we were staying at the “Crown Royal” in Dublin in 2008 I’ve never failed to have a smashing time. There’s a ton of people to thank of course. Many thanks to Bjorn, Bruce and Tammy for setting me up. To Kevin Terpstra for running the show on the referee end. To the tournament organizers, the players, the Minnesota refs who were so hospitable. To Jay and Terpy for the coaching. To Luann for putting up with my jokes. Thanks to my wife for wrangling the baby all weekend so I could spend Father’s Day doing rugby. You’re all awesome!


Thirty players have been named to the All-American squad to play in Canada in July.

Six of them are from NorCal. There’s an excellent chance you refereed an All-American this past year!

Included among their number is Carl Hendrickson, son of Pelican Rob Hendrickson.

Congratulations and best of luck to the boys!


Only One Ball Counts in Nude Rugby
David Moye
(June 24) -- Rugby is tough enough when you're clothed, but it's even harder when you're naked.

But that may just be the selling point of the annual nude rugby match at Logan Park in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The seventh annual event was held June 19, and the freewheeling (and free-balling) contest attracted around 2,500 fans, willing to spend the first day of winter watching a very stiff competition between the undefeated Nude Blacks and the visiting Welsh Leeks.

Wait, What?

Players compete in a nude rugby game at Logan Park on June 19 in Dunedin, New Zealand. A naked rugby match is a traditional prelude to a New Zealand All Blacks Test match in Dunedin against a visiting team.

The prize? A toilet seat trophy.

The event is the brainchild of Ralph Davies, who told that nude rugby was in keeping with the student-dominated city.

"Dunedin students are well known for getting their kit off and running around, so that's how the idea really became, and it's just blown out of all proportion since then," Davies said.

Although some folks might be offended by the idea, Davies said every effort is made to keep the game -- and the players -- clean and tidy.

"It's not a nudie perve, it's a kick and giggle," he said.

The event actually ties together two separate but equal events: National Nude Day and a test match against a local team by the All Blacks, a rugby team in New Zealand that is as popular in Kiwi country as the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys or Los Angeles Lakers are in the U.S.

Rugby is a brutal sport, and players don't wear nearly the amount of padding that football players do, so playing completely naked is obviously even more difficult. Despite that, Davies said there haven't been any serious injuries since the very first tournament.

"One guy did pop a shoulder once, but apparently this frequently happened, and it was popped back in and he went on to score a try," Davies said in an e-mail interview with AOL News.

"One lady in the crowd did get in the way of a tackled player out of play and was bundled over, but no damage. I am not sure if she appreciated the hugs from the players to see if she was OK. But I think the smile on her face presumed all was OK."

Considering the game took place on the first day of the New Zealand winter, it might seem that wind chill could be as much of a danger as an untimely kick in the wedding tackle. Luckily, that was not the case this year.

"[We had] brilliantly fine conditions -- a balmy winter's afternoon in Dunedin [64 degrees] was a far cry from the frozen beach for the first match in 2002, which was around [37 degrees]," Davies said.

But there were some problems. For instance, every year the event is plagued by some spectator who insists on streaking while wearing clothes. Inevitably, this scofflaw is arrested by a naked constable. This year, a woman fan chose to get in on the fun.

"This year, we had a totally random woman drop her kit and run on to the field to the delight of everyone, including the players as she kissed and hugged them," Davies said. "She carried on to take part in a line-out and score a try of her own."

Although playing nude might be a deal breaker for some teams, Davies said he's never had a problem finding teams willing to do it. But even if he did, he has that covered.

"We've never had any cancellations," he said. "A core group of Dunedin University students -- or 'Scarfies' -- makes up the Nude Blacks, and they can provide extras if we get short on the visiting team."

This year, the Nude Blacks once again won the trophy, and now, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the team already anticipates next year's nude rugby World Cup.

"We know what the Scots wear under their kilts, so we can expect an interesting matchup for that fixture,'' Davies said.

Since the Nude Blacks don't wear britches, there's no chance of the team getting too big for them. Davies understands the appeal of nude rugby is based on its now-you-see-it, now-you-don't quality.

"I think if it was held every week, the interest would wane," he said. "So we only pull it out once a year as a precursor to the big matches and thus maintain the interest and fascination of the public.


Y’all have a happy and glorious Fourth of July!

Porter and Ranaweera
Bryan Porter is fêted for fifty-plus years of service to Northern California and USA Rugby refereeing by, among others, Aruna Ranaweera who is just back from the Nations Cup in Romania.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Sunday, June 20, 2010




“It is with a mixture of joy and sadness that I write to inform you that I will be leaving the Pelicans this July. I have been accepted to a PhD program in Washington DC and will start classes this fall.

“The Pelicans have meant a great deal to me both on and off the pitch over the past three years. We all know what a privilege it is to be a part of this organization. Everyone knows about the Pelicans efforts in regard to referee development and exchange opportunities but what I'll carry with me is the quality of the people. From top to bottom everyone has been more supportive and friendly than I could have hoped for. I can't thank the society enough for all the opportunities that have been extended to me.

“I will also miss coaching my beloved Berkeley Rhinos. Having the chance to coach the team that got me started in rugby way back in 1991 was an absolute thrill. I love those boys and I'm sad that I won't be there to see them progress.

“Many thanks to the Pelican board, the evaluators, all my fellow refs and especially to Bruce Carter, Bjorn Stumer and David Williamson whose efforts and interest in my development were a huge benefit to me.

“Take care, see you at the banquet.

“-Roberto Santiago”


Want to work up a thirst and an appetite prior to the banquet? Scott’s is not a bad place to have a hankering for food and beverage.
Here are your options for June 26:

Palo Alto Sevens – only four refs listed so far; could use about four more

Dunsmuir Sevens – well, you might have trouble making it back to Walnut Creek from near Mt. Shasta, but they’ll have camping up there and plenty of good rugby company

We could use two ARs at Rocca Field:
Saturday, June 26, 1:00 PM: SF/Golden Gate – GHA RFC from Glasgow
Referee: Joe Androvich
Sunday, June 27, 3:00 PM: SF/Golden Gate – New Zealand Navy team
Referee: Preston Gordon

Let us know your pleasure.


U17 and U19 All-Star tournaments were played at SFGG June 5-6. There were teams from the four high school NorCal conferences, SoCal, Oregon and Hawaii

HAWAII More – Redwood Less Referee: Roberto Santiago
(I can't find my score sheet but Hawaii won and looked very fast and athletic doing it.)

Sky 22 – SOCAL 24 Ref: Santiago
A brutal, physical game. SoCal led at the half 10-12. The teams scored even in the seoncd half including a furious sequence with no time left that saw Sky make the final score look extra close.

Oregon girls U17 17/ Pelicans 5 Referee: Eric Rauscher
There were two girls’ teams both of which appeared to be made up of girls from all over, with mixed results. There were however enough to have two full U19 games and an U17 game. Oregon seemed to have more players and were ready to go at the start time. The Pelicans had to finish up a game and quickly put together a team for the next game. This meant the some of the Pelicans went straight from one game to the next. Oregon was also able to sub in 4/5 players twice in the game (two 22 min halfs). I was impressed with Oregon's ability to win at the breakdown by rucking cleanly over the ball at least three times. The game was played in good spirit, and was fun to ref.

Redwood boys 10/ Sac Valley 29 Ref: Rauscher
I was afraid that this game was going to be a blow-out having watched a little bit of both teams play earlier. To my surprise and delight, Redwood played a very decent game and made Sac Valley earn all of their points. The skill levels displayed by both sides were good. There was a little hand-bag stuff, so a quick talk to both captains put a lid on it and no more was seen from then on. Good, solid play made this another fun game. All in all it was a good day at TI.

BAY 25 – Sac Valley 0 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referees: JC Van Staden, Mark Godfrey
This was a U19 semi-final, featuring two very good teams, both well-coached, but Bay moved forward throughout the match through their size and speed. They were not seriously challenged. Bay had size and strength in the forward, and pace in the backline, and a talented flyhalf (whose name I believe was Augie) with a big boot who directed things well and kept Sac Valley under pressure throughout. Five unconverted tries for Bay.

FINAL: BAY 33 – Hawaii 0 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referees: JC Van Staden, Preston Gordon/Mike King
The U19 final was played on Rocca Field in front of a large crowd, at a serious pace. These were teams with power and speed. Right at kickoff, the pace was fast and furious, much higher than the semi-final I had refereed about an hour and a half before. Bay featured a center who took over this game and used his long legs and physical strength to run through tackles and then outrun everyone. He scored a couple of breakaway tries that did not start out that way. Very impressive. Five tries for Bay, with four of them converted. A dominating performance on the day by a team that looked for all the world like a very good college side. Congratulations to them and to coaches Blaine Warhurst and Tony Wells.

By Joe Androvich

I arrived in Mexico City on Friday, June 4 2010 and was gathered at the airport by Aida Arellano, the Mexican Rugby Federation’s President (I think). She was extremely friendly and a great tour guide. My main goal on Friday was to stay hydrated and rested, as Mexico City is at over 7200 feet of elevation with suffocating pollution. I was taken out to dinner across the street from my hotel by Antonio, one of my ARs for Saturday’s match. After watching Spanish TV, I went to bed.

The captain’s meeting was arranged for the next morning. Both captains spoke English, which was nice because I speak very little Spanish. As a matter of fact, my Spanish consists of knowing colors, numbers, and the words "stop" "hands" and "shut-up," which became handy during the match. If you are ever to referee in Mexico, please understand one thing: the traffic in Mexico is so bad that it completely eliminates any accuracy on predicting time. For example, when the captains or your ride tells you "I will be at your hotel at 7:00pm" that really means "I will be at your hotel sometime between 7:00pm and 8:000pm."

We arrived at the International University of Mexico City one hour before the match. We were fortunate that the weather was slightly overcast - but it was still 80+ degrees F. There were an estimated 500 people in attendance, but it seemed louder because of their songs, cheers and horn blowing. The first half of the match was sloppy, but the sloppiness was not due to lack of intensity. Both teams wanted to win and were passionate about the match. Both teams also appeared nervous, and we had 20 scrums. However, the second half was a different story. With 15 minutes left, the Wallabies from Mexico City were leading by 5 points, but the Rhinos from Guadalajara were attacking inside the 22. More handling errors, and the Wallabies scored on a break-away try with no time left to win the National Championship by 10 points.

They had a nice trophy presentation and after-party. I must say many thanks to all who hosted me, especially Aida. The trip was a great experience.

Alberta Exchange Report June 9-12
By Joe Leisek

On Wednesday, driving to SFO, I received an e-mail from Andrew Petti, an Alberta panel referee who was scheduled to pick me up at Calgary International Airport. He told me my plane was running late and asked me to update him. Upon check-in, I learned the flight was delayed by nearly two hours, which meant I would likely not make it to referee my first game of the exchange: a Wednesday night U16 boys contest. Just before take-off I learned that the game had been canceled due to rain. When I finally arrived and cleared customs, I met Andrew, who took me to dinner in a boisterous restaurant. All restaurants in Canada were probably boisterous that night, considering the fact that it was the final game of the Stanley Cup. We were met after dinner by David Robinson, another Alberta panel referee who was my host for the first two nights of the exchange. It was rainy and cold.

I stayed with David and his family on Wednesday and Thursday nights. David and his family – wife Lisa, twin daughters Danica and Caprice, and daughter Bailey – are the most gracious, generous hosts a referee could hope to have. Nowhere else does a referee find a Lindt chocolate on his or her pillow, nor have Eggs Benedict for breakfast on the morning of a tournament. Lisa Robinson makes this happen. David is an experienced referee and coach, gives most of his time to rugby, and is well-respected in the rugby community. His 16-year-old daughter Danica is a rugby player and referee.

On Thursday I met David for lunch at a downtown restaurant, where we were joined by erstwhile USA International Panel referee Graeme Bullen. Like David, Graeme works in the energy industry. David owns an energy services company and Graeme is a banker. Graeme had recently moved to Calgary from Texas, and for you followers of his refereeing career, he is starting to run again. His goal is to referee local games whenever his work travel schedule permits. He is a delightful guy, and the three of us had a really nice time at lunch. After lunch, I wandered the streets of Calgary while David attended an industry trade show.

The work part of my exchange began that night with a high school selects game (see The Rugby). We returned to the Robinson home for chili and conversation with Lisa and David. BC referee Drew Sagar arrived late at night; he was to join us in Lethbridge the next day.

On Friday morning we were up early and out the door for the two-hour drive to Lethbridge, for the Alberta Provincial High School Championships. After a long day at the venue, the referees had a great dinner at a local restaurant, paid for by the Rugby Alberta Match Officials Association and organized by Don Whidden. We drove back to Calgary, where David dropped me off with my next host: Jared Morrison, a Kiwi expat and Calgary referee. Jared and his wife Roxanne were also wonderful hosts, along with their very young sons Zack and Will. On Saturday morning, Roxanne saw us off with bagels and cream cheese, with tomato and Canadian back bacon. Again, what more could a visiting referee need?

Saturday was a rugby day, and it started with Jared and me watching much of the All Black-Ireland match. We then took a short morning drive to the Calgary Rugby Union Park, where Andrew presented an Assistant Referee clinic for new referees. David and Jared and I helped out (with David's daughter Danica one of the students). Andrew did a great job on teaching the course, as evidenced by the fact that two members of the class were quickly put to work in my Alberta Cup match that afternoon.

The CRU includes three pitches, with the main pitch bordered by a grandstand on each sideline, and a clubhouse with six changing rooms for players, plus one for referees. A clubhouse upstairs features a restaurant and bar, three flat screen televisions, and a deck that overlooks one of the in-goal areas. Referees do not want to make mistakes in that in-goal.

There were Alberta Cup matches, Women’s Premier matches, and D2 and D3 matches played that day. It was a rugby festival to me, and just another rugby Saturday to everyone else. The number of games played at the CRU wasn’t even all of the rugby played that day in Calgary! In talking to Andrew, David, and Jared, the number of matches that referees cover in Calgary is phenomenal, with high school rugby making up about two-thirds of the total. It is possible for a ref to do five weekday games and one or two club matches on the weekend.

On Saturday night, Jared and Roxanne hosted a barbeque with Andrew and his wife Sarah-Jane Petti, local coach and referee Dion Roach, and referee John Schelske. Zack was an enthusiastic host as well, pulling out each guest for individual play sessions around the back yard. It was a great evening with good friends and lots of laughter, and delicious food prepared by Jared and Roxanne.

On Sunday morning, Jared and Zack took me to the airport, where I shook Zack’s hand and boarded the plane back to SFO. This exchange was a highlight of my refereeing career. Thanks to all who hosted and looked after me while I was there.

The Rugby

Thursday, June 10
Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association Boys Rugby Selects Game
Henry Wise Wood High School, Calgary
NORTH 29 – South 12 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referees: Duncan McLean, Daniel Wahba
Just a couple of days after the Calgary finals, two boys all-star teams played before an appreciative audience of friends, family, schoolteachers and administrators, along with local and territorial rugby coaches who were there to observe and evaluate players. All braved cold, wet conditions. The game followed the girls’ selects, which was refereed by Andrew Petti. The boys’ game was fast and entertaining despite the wet weather, as the players were committed to having fun and running with the ball. A total of seven tries were scored. The feeling around the pitch was very enjoyable. Thanks to Duncan and Daniel for their very capable assistance.

Friday, June 11
Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association
Provincial Rugby Championships
Sherring Park, Lethbridge
The territorial championships took place on four pitches, with 32 games played on Friday. It was a busy day at a great venue, and we referees were given the use of a new RV as our tournament headquarters. I refereed three games (two boys’ matches and one girls match) and served as assistant referee for two others. My last match of the day featured the local girls’ high school team. This match was played in front of a large crowd that saw their team win and book an appearance in the finals the next day. Credit to Don Whidden, who organized the referees and assignments very well.

The refereeing crew:

Match Official Manager: Don Whidden (Edmonton)

Dave Crisp (Edmonton)
Paul Howe (Medicine Hat)
Dave Hunter (Edmonton)
Rob Kossuth (Lethbridge)
Jason Kwasny (Lethbridge)
Joe Leisek (Northern California)
Terry Laniuk (Edmonton)
Mike Laporte (Edmonton)
Dave Robinson (Calgary)
Drew Sagar (Delta, B.C.)
Craig Whitehead (Lethbridge)

Assistant Referees:
Al Barton (Medicine Hat)
Shawn Johnsrude (Lethbridge)
Rory McKeown (Lethbridge)
Kyle Snee (Raymond)

Saturday, June 12
Calgary Rugby Union Park, Calgary
DRUIDS (Edmonton) 34 – Saints (Calgary) 19 Referee: Joe Leisek
Assistant Referees: Dave Stocker, Eric Willis
The opening score was a try by the Druids which was handed to them by a blind, behind the back pass when clearly the support was not in place. This was at 6 minutes and was converted. At eighteen minute, a penalty kick was awarded to the Druids. Dissention moved the ball ten meters closer and therefore more kickable, which it was. Twenty minutes into the half a penalty kick to the Druids resulted in a lineout five meters from the Saints goal line which was won by the Druids and driven over for a try. It was converted. At halftime the score was Druids 22 – Saints nil.

At the forty-four minute mark the Druids outflanked the Saints in the backs following a line-out. The Saints, who had played reasonably in attack, finally scored following a thrust down the left side, which was stopped just short of the line, but a pick and go, by Mike Andrews scored a try on 48 minutes. At fifty three minutes Mozac Sampson burst through from halfway to score under the posts. Christian Wulff converted. At this point the Saints were down to thirteen men at a result of a yellow card issued to Kolino Waqa, the reason for which remains unclear. Soon after the Druids were over the line again but failed to ground the ball to the referee’s satisfaction; however they did score a try at sixty-six minutes. This was not converted. Almost on time, Josh Kelly went in for a try, converted by Christian Wulff.

(Note: Report excerpted from the Saints website.)

Attached is my Nations Cup week 1 report for the NCRRS newsletter.
By Aruna Ranaweera

Bucharest, Romania

Week 1


After a 17-hour trip from San Francisco to Bucharest (via Frankfurt), I was welcomed at the airport by Emil Pirtoc (President of Romanian rugby referees) who shuttled two other arriving match officials and me to the Ramada Plaza, a comfortable hotel with chic decor. Outside, the Romanian summer was in full force with daytime highs in the 90-100F range.

I will be here from June 9-21 as one of four referees at the iRB Nations Cup, an annual tournament held in Europe for Tier 2 rugby nations and Tier-1 nation ‘A’ sides. This year’s tournament consists of three rounds in which six teams play three matches each with no knockout stage. Defending champions Scotland A are joined by Argentina Jaguars, Italy A, Romania, Georgia, and Namibia.

I soon met the other iRB match officials who are in-town for this year’s Nations Cup: referee manager Dave McHugh (Ireland); referees Marius Jonker (South Africa), Neil “Patty” Paterson (Scotland), and Bryan Arciero (Canada); and assistant referees James Jones (Wales) and Andrew MacPherson (Scotland). I know Bryan from iRB TIP4 in Stellenbosch last year and I have worked with both Patty and James at the iRB San Diego sevens in previous years. This is quite an accomplished group: Marius is of course an iRB elite panel and top Super 14 referee who has refereed over 30 international matches, Dave is a former iRB elite panel referee, and Patty, James, and Andy are international referees who work full-time in the Magners league.

There are some connections with NCRRS: Dave spent time officiating in the Bay Area in the mid-2000’s and remembers Ed Todd. He is also in touch with Tony Redmond (Ireland), another NCRRS alumnus who is now an iRB TMO. Bryan of course has refereed several times in NorCal on exchange from Alberta.

Dave announced the appointments for the first round of matches on Friday: I am to referee the opening match between the host nation Romania and Namibia. This is very exciting: my first full international! Namibia is ranked #22 in the world and have already qualified for RWC 2011, while Romania is ranked #18 in the world and are in the process of qualifying for RWC 2011. (Note: USA is currently #16.)

I didn’t have much time to adjust to the 10-hour time difference as we were whisked away to an elegant open-air restaurant where Emil treated us to a hearty dinner of pasta and wine. We were also joined by Horatiu Barguanas, one of the top referees in Romania who also happened to be my roommate in Stellenbosch last year. In fact, the Nations Cup has turned into a mini-reunion for some of the participants of TIP4 in Stellenbosch: in addition to Bryan and Horatiu, the head coach of Namibia (John Diergaardt), the forwards coach of Romania (former All-Black Steve McDowell), the forwards coach of Georgia (Ilia Maisuradze), and the technical advisor to Georgia/Namibia (former Scotland coach Richie Dixon) are all familiar faces from TIP4.

Horatio took the match officials to downtown Bucharest for a quick drink, where a large number of locals were seen hanging out even on a Wednesday night.

I slept through my jet-lag, but woke up in time for the afternoon match officials photo (attached), which was taken in front of the Arc de Triomphe near the main Rugby Stadium, conveniently located just 5 minutes from the hotel. We were joined by the Romanian match officials Gabriel Seitan, Vlad Iordachescu, and Danut Frasineanu. Some of the referees did a brief workout and we then played 4-on-4 soccer at the practice field, but soon retired back to the hotel to escape the relentless sun.

In the afternoon, all match officials walked to the hotel next door for Dave’s presentation about refereeing policies and technical details for the tournament. We were also each provided a DVD illustrating the decisions made at the iRB Tier 1 coaches/referee managers meeting in May which are now in effect. It was particularly valuable to hear the senior referee Marius Jonker’s insights about refereeing techniques and approach.

Our Romanian hosts took us to dinner at a swanky, open-air restaurant in downtown Bucharest.

FRIDAY June 11, 2010

Match day. 95F degrees and sunny. Kickoff at 3pm. I did my best to stay hydrated and arrived at the stadium 90 minutes before kickoff where a bevy of Romanian officials greeted us and made sure we were looked after. James livened up the referee locker room with his boombox/ipod (and singing) and the Romanians provided beverages, food, and communication equipment. I greeted my coaching friends from Stellenbosch who were to be on opposite sides of my match, Steve McDowell (Romania) and Johan Diergaardt (Namibia), and I felt well-prepared for the match with assistant referees James Jones and Andy MacPherson in support. A large crowd was on hand, probably 2000-3000.

Round 1 Match results:
3pm: Namibia 21, Romania 17; Referee: Aruna Ranaweera (USA)
5pm: Italy A 22, Argentina Jaguars 20; Referee: Bryan Arciero (Canada)
7pm: Georgia 22, Scotland A 21; Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

All three matches went down to the wire and are considered upsets. Media reports:

Overall, I was happy with my first full international match. Naturally, there are areas that can be improved, but I felt good about my performance and really enjoyed the experience. Dave game me some quick pointers after the match and also a copy of the match DVD, which we will review in more detail on a later date. My Romanian friends were disappointed that they lost the match, but were gracious in defeat. (Namibia led 16-10 late in the 2nd half before Romania drove in a maul and kicked a difficult conversion to lead 16-17 with under 2 minutes left, which set-off wild celebrations in the stands. Off the ensuing restart, Namibia stunned everyone by recovering a perfectly timed restart kick which they flung out wide to their wing who ran around 3 defenders to touch down 21-17 with seconds remaining. Romania actually managed to regain possession off the final restart, but could not sustain their final desperate drive.)

After getting cleaned up at the hotel, the match officials had dinner at yet another swanky restaurant and were later taken out by our Romanian colleagues. The group had a great time celebrating an exciting first round of rugby in Bucharest.


Although we were exhausted from the previous day’s rugby and celebrations, we dragged ourselves out of bed to the “Dubliner”, an Irish pub in downtown Bucharest, where we spent the afternoon playing darts and watching rugby on Sky Sports: New Zealand vs Ireland, Australia vs England, and South Africa vs France. It was great watching the rugby, but what made it even more enjoyable was listening and discussing the matches with the other iRB referees who were full of (educated) opinions and funny anecdotes. Although we weren’t able to watch Scotland vs Argentina, both Andy and Patty were overjoyed when Scotland emerged as the weekend’s northern hemisphere victor.

After a few hours of sleep at the hotel, the match officials went to the downtown Radisson for an excellent poolside dinner. Later that night, at the Hard Rock café, all six match officials cheered for the USA in its 1-1 draw with England at the Soccer World Cup on TV.

SUNDAY June 13

Emil drove all of us to the Romanian Olympic Training Center just outside of Bucharest for a day of relaxation in the sun. On the way, Dave announced the referee appointments for the second round of matches on Tuesday: I will be the reserve referee for all three matches.

After playing some 3-on-3 touch rugby on the ultra-hot synthetic turf, we retired to the pool which was full of vacationers. Lunch hit the spot and we ended the afternoon lounging by the pool and poking fun at various things. We then went back to the Dubliner to watch the England vs Australia U20 World Championship match on Sky Sports over dinner and ended the night back at the Hard Rock café for dessert where wagers were made about Germany’s victory over Australia in the Soccer World Cup.

MONDAY June 14, 2010

We spent the morning exchanging more stories and anecdotes about the world of rugby, but later visited former Romanian President Nicolai Ceausescu’s palace, which is advertised as the 2nd largest building in the world after the Pentagon. After some shopping in a downtown Bucharest mall, we did separate workouts and were taken to dinner by Emil. Overall, I have to say central Bucharest looks like Paris, but with some sections not completed. It’s a very clean city.

More later!


Link courtesy of Mike Gadoua:


JC van Staden experiences synchronicity:

“I have an announcement, that the Pelican Family got extended Saturday morning, 8:23am, (half way in the Super14 final first half) Amika Hillet van Staden was born, 6lb 13oz.”

Key Scrum
Paul Bretz referees the national D2 championship between the Tampa Bay Krewe (stripes) and Doylestown at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo, on June 6.

Paul enjoyed this match so much that he took it into overtime.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Thursday, June 03, 2010




Our annual banquet is only three-and-a-half weeks away and the flock remains relatively small for what should be a feeding frenzy, with 23 having made their reservations.

We will congregate at Scott’s Seafood in Walnut Creek on Saturday, June 26, beginning at 6:30 PM. This year it will also double as the retirement party for Bryan Porter, who has stepped down from the National Panel of Evaluators.

Dinner is paid for by the Society for its members. Your guests and your drinks are on you. It’s a pelicious deal.

Please mark your calendars and let Bjorn Stumer know how many you’ll be bringing:


Just a few words in this abbreviated missive.

For those of us who moved to Northern California specifically because it’s where the best rugby is, Sunday at Rocca Field affirmed that we made a good decision.

The best team on the day might have been from New York City but the atmosphere at the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse and the crowd at the pitch demonstrated what hard work and commitment can do with a fringe sport over several decades.

It was a proud day for any rugger.

As curtain-raisers to the day, the Señors hosted the Faded Roses and then the SFGG U19 played an Idaho school.

SF/Golden Gate 7 - CAPITAL 32 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Mike King, John Pohlman
Capital HS of Boise, Idaho, defeated an underclassmen side of SFGG, literally running away with the victory in the second half on the strength of long breaks by several players.

It was only the second game Capital had ever played with contested scrums, leading to some unusual questions for the referee such as this one by the halfback: "Do I have to put the ball in the middle or can I just give it to my guys?"

We are told that the Capital team lost to Lamorinda prior to this match, but that will have to remain a rumor given no confirmation on the Lamo website or any knowledge of who might have refereed it.


In NorCal:
Talisker Shield in Sunnyvale, a XV tournament
U17 and U19 All-Star Tournament at SFGG – two pitches, all day Saturday and Sunday, with teams from the four NorCal conferences, SoCal, Oregon and Hawaii

In Glendale, Colo:
Churchill Cup
USA Rugby Men’s D1, 2 and 3 final fours
The SFGG Colts will play for the D2 championship, among other teams

In Columbus, Ohio:
First-ever College Championship Invitational of Sevens. Sixteen teams over three days, with NBC televising on Saturday and Sunday. Cal is one of the competitors

From Buzz McClain:
Can you tell all your true believers that I'm doing a blog at NBC Sports and to take a look and leave comments -- it's only running, I fear, until the College 7s is over in June. If we get enough hits, who knows?
See it at

Video Review
George O’Neil gets dissected at a video review of one of his matches, while David Williamson can’t help smiling knowing there’s a camera around.

L-R: Pete Smith, David Williamson, Preston Gordon, George O’Neil, Tom Zanarini, Mike Gadoua


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris