Thursday, October 28, 2010




The teams and players in NorCal would appreciate your help:

Oct. 30 2 tournaments plus six games 15 11 ½ (one ‘maybe’ due to illness)
Nov. 6 3 tournaments and 7 other games 17-20 7

For this coming Saturday, we particularly need a ref in Fresno as well as several more for the Stanford Tens.

You won’t be unless you reply to this e-mail and say, “I am available to referee on the following Saturdays" (list as many as you like!)

Nobody who is available doesn’t get a game. Raise your hand!


If you are interested in taking the beep test for fitness level measurement the morning of the AGM meeting, November 13 at Treasure Island, please contact Dave Williamson to confirm.

This is strongly encouraged for anyone who would like territorial assignments or who hopes to receive national appointments this year or in the future.


Our readers will have had the experience of people asking when referee and touch judge courses will be offered. Our readers will have faithfully asked their interlocutors to let Rob Hendrickson know of their interest, so that Rob could let them know when courses were scheduled.

Rob has lists of such folk, and duly informs them as requested.

Two weeks ago the NCRRS offered the Level One referee course in San Jose. Advance registration is offered on-line and strongly encouraged: course materials need to be ordered two weeks in advance of the course.

This course had four registrants. Twenty-three people showed up. We are still trying to straighten out the after-the-fact distribution of course materials to people who paid for the course and passed the test, but who live all across Pelicanland.

Another Level One course was scheduled for this weekend in Sacramento. A week after course materials needed to be ordered, no-one had signed up. The course has been canceled. We have no doubt that a dozen or two people may well have planned to attend, but you certainly cannot plan for unannounced visitors: a room needs to be reserved which is big enough, food has to be arranged, training aids brought along, and even the number of instructors needs to be proportionate to the audience.

We also just canceled a TJ and AR course for want of a second.

Please remember in the future to continue to refer inquiring minds to Rob Hendrickson for courses, but emphasize to them that THEY HAVE TO SIGN UP IN ADVANCE once the course is announced.

Report by Bjorn Stumer:

As I am in the Boston area for a month for some training, I contacted the North East Society to see if they needed any help with minor action. I made clear my qualifications and answered truthfully when asked about my age (old), and speed (slow). Regardless of this fact, I was assigned the Tufts University vs. Wentworth Institute of Technology match. This was a 3rd division college affair, played under sunny skies at the Tufts university sports complex where, all at once, one could have enjoyed American football, Rugby, a women's soccer match, and a women's field hockey match.

Players were all there an hour before the match, and took the field at the allotted time well kitted out, and obviously well coached. A notice had just come out from their Society about not tolerating foul or dangerous play, something obviously needed because both sides had to be penalized quickly to keep them from tackling high (I awarded a yellow card for this offence in the b-side match that followed). To their credit the players settled quickly and humored this referee's need to have all players on their feet, coming from the correct side, and tackling below the neck. Thus settled we had a nice match on tap.

Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT), a small Boston based university, was no match for a well drilled and capable Tufts side but, to their credit, the WIT players never gave up and fought throughout with determination and self-belief. Alas this was not enough, as Tufts' superior skills and speed saw them away with 46 points to 7. Interestingly the converted try scored by WIT was due to a cheeky quick run from restart, following a try, which saw a WIT player run under the posts while most of the Tufts players were walking slowly away with their backs turned. There were some distinct differences in the way they play here, namely the heavy reliance on the maul and what appeared to be a true appreciation for the efforts of referees, the latter evident by the behavior of players and coaches alike.

It was so much fun, I stayed on to do the second sides. The B-side was an altogether even more scrappy affair with much referee input needed to keep the match safe, and players on side and on their feet. Again problems with high tackles, so after a penalty for the first, a penalty and a warning for the second, the third episode resulted in a yellow card. This kept the foul play at bay and kept spirits and the match under control. Overall a great day of Rugby. Scheduling and the reporting of matches and disciplinary actions are all computerized here, making the job a bit easier for the ref.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity.


USF women 18 – Chico State 10 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Job Corps field, overcast and blowing from the south.
The field was firm at the beginning of the game but it unfortunately began to rain, and by the end of the game we had standing water in various locations.

The game was a friendly played in four 20 min periods. We started with uncontested scrums due to new players. The interesting thing about this game was usually when it rains the play degrades, but with both of these teams, play seemed to develop as we went along. The first quarter was a lot of broken play and scrum restarts, but by the end even with the rain I felt that play had improved. Both teams had players that displayed a good head for the game and made good decisions based on circumstances.

For example, I observed backs on both teams kick the ball into clear space in attack. Once from a free kick penalty at a 5m scrum, USF took a quick tap and ran it in for a try before Chico could respond. It was good heads up play.

I look forward to seeing both teams progress this year.

Seahawks U23, 24 – SOUTH VALLEY 48 Referee: John Pohlman
Saturday I dusted off the referee kit, shook out the cobwebs and grabbed my whistle. I headed for Santa Teresa High School for a 1:30 PM kickoff.

San Jose Seahawks Under 23 team was hosting a new team from Morgan Hill, Live Oak ex-pats. I think they are going by the name South Valley and will be playing in the third division.

For a new team they played pretty well and had some good players whom I recognized. The field was right behind the Santa Teresa High School football field.

Santa Teresa was hosting Leigh High School in their homecoming football game, which was due to start at 1:30. Around 1:00 the Leigh players took over the pitch to warm up. We all gave them the space they needed for their 15 minute warm up.

This made for a fun and interesting environment. I believe Santa Teresa won, yeah Homecoming. The rugby field we played on was used for soccer and worked. I was not sure what to expect for this preseason game.

By 1:00 both teams had at least 15 players warming up. Great no 10's game today. By game time both teams had what looked like 25 players dressed.

San Jose had only started practice a week or two ago. The South Bay team looked like they may have logged a bit more time on the practice pitch.

The coaches and I finally decided we would play two forties with pretty free substitutions.

The game had some very long well worked tries. Both team had moments of both individual and team brilliance.

San Jose scored first when a rookie S. Valley player caught a ball in goal and ran out of the try zone, then booted a kick into to arms of a San Jose player who ran it in from 10 meters out. Hopefully he won't do that again.

S. Valley dominated the scrums all day. They were better organized at the line outs. But the first half was pretty fast with the lead changing back and forth. Half time score was S. Valley 26 Seahawks 24. A converted try the difference.

I did give two yellow cards in the first half. The first when a S. Valley prop lifted a player’s leg and didn't properly return him to the ground. The second was when a Seahawk rookie dove on a ball at the back of the ruck thus killing a potential try opportunity within the 22.

The second half got sloppy at the tackle. Early season fatigue led to some "flopping about" at the tackle. The South Valley team was fitter and their better organization which led to 24 additional points. The Seahawks were held scoreless in the second half for a final score, South Valley 48 Seahawks Under 23

I had two good TJ's for the game, a coach from South Valley and a coach from the Seahawks. Thanks!


Fiji Day started late as expected.

It opened with hymns, prayers, and a short speech by Waisale Serevi.

It was mostly a rugby tournament, but there was a volleyball competition run all day also, along with food stalls and such.

The round-robin schedule was unworkable from the get-go( I figured it would take 10 hours to get to the semis), so three rounds were played (seven teams).

We each did three games. The teams were mostly combined teams from the Bay area.

The rugby, was great all day long. No blow-outs, many close games. Mike King, Chris Labozzetta, and I did round games. Bruce Bernstein and Tom Zanarini did semis, and the final was done by a ref from Fiji as the sun went down.

This is the second Polynesian tourney I have been to and I hope to be at many more.

Nor Cal Triple Threat 0 - BELMONT 41 Referee: Greg Lundell
The Nor Cal Triple Threat hosted Belmont at Pioneer Park in Davis on Saturday. Conditions were perfect, if even unseasonably warm. The game did not feel as one-sided as the score suggests. Both teams put a great effort in, Belmont was just better able to capitalize on offensive position and Nor Cal did not have Belmont’s breakaway ability.

U. of the Pacific – SANTA ROSA JC 54 Referee: Rich Boyer
This was my first time on the UOP campus and hopefully not the last. The pitch was absolutely perfect!

Rosa JC came out swinging and passed the ball to the wings at every opportunity. A sight for sore eyes for a back!!!

UOP were game, but Rosa had the more experienced players and it showed in the scoreline: Rosa 54-UOP 0. The Rosa boys were helpful with the newer UOP players and would pack down lightly and instruct their opposites how to bind, etc. Great sportsmanship.

I witnessed something I have never seen in 30 years of rugby. The Rosa winger made a break for the corner flag but was approaching the touch line. He blindly passed back infield, but a UOP player (prop, at that) new to the game caught the ball. His momentum then took him in goal, where he "turtled" with the ball on his chest. The Rosa winger meanwhile could not believe his good luck and plucked the ball off the UOP player's chest and touched down for a very interesting try.

Good play by all.

Thursday, October 14
Stanford v Santa Clara
Referee: James Hinkin

Late Thursday I got a call from the Santa Clara coach and ex UCSB man Gabe Calebotta to see if I could oversee a scrimmage at Stanford. As I had been running on my injured foot and not feeling (much) pain I agreed, so Saturday morning saw me at the familiar facilities of Stanford University. The scrimmage was in 3 parts and I will address them as such:

Part 1:
Stanford Vets 5 - Santa Clara Vets 7
The first action of the day saw the veteran performers line up to knock some of the rust off each other. Expecting to run into old friends Chris Kron (former San Jose Seahawk and Los Gatos teammate) and Chris O'Brien (former Old Blue adversary and Pelican/Grizzly teammate) I was surprised to find the fields completely innocent of a Coach Chris. Apparently Chris O'Brien has taken a position with the US Eagles in preparation for the World Cup and Chris Kron has taken on new responsibilities as Director of Rugby at Santa Clara. Is that news to you? It was news to me. Good luck to them both in their new roles.

In any case we kicked off promptly at 11:00:00 and had our first of many knock-ons at 11:00:04. This was to be expected as both teams were in early preseason and looked it. The teams showed promise and had some active and influential players but both sides seemed to be lacking structure - also to be expected at this stage. Play went back and forth as both sides saw enticing runs end with forced and unforced errors until finally Santa Clara was able to convert a turnover into a 50 meter break for the try. The conversion was crucially awarded because soon after Stanford began to use some of their forward dominance and was able to respond with a try of their own. This one was out wide and the difficult conversion was missed.

One must note that the referee was also doing his first match in some months and was a bit rusty at the start, reacting to penalties rather than preventing them. Back to work...

Final Score: Stanford Vets 5 - Santa Clara Vets 7

Part 2:
Stanford Mixers 12 - Santa Clara Mixers 5
The second period saw several rookies appear in both sides. Also, in one of those "only in preseason" situations Stanford had not practiced any lineouts while Santa Clara wanted to work on their lifting. So the captains agreed that neither team would lift defensively while Santa Clara would still lift on offense. The result was some lineouts straight out of the 70s without all the facial hair. With Santa Clara having a larger squad to deal with they kept fewer experienced players in the game and we saw the action tilt more towards Stanford. Two tries, including an opportunistic Rookie Try for Stanford when Santa Clara wasn't able to properly secure a bouncing kick near their try line, were enough to see off the solitary try scored by the Broncos. With the mix of players and experience the rugby itself was what one would expect, though there were some solid phases put together. Both sides are going to need handling practice.

Final Score: Stanford Mixers 12 - Santa Clara Mixers 5

Part 3:
Stanford Rookies 5 - Santa Clara Rookies 5
The rookie game was full of young, eager ruggers, many of whom were in their first action ever. I will say that this was the first time I have ever had to reset an uncontested scrum. Several potential penalties were overlooked with shouted warnings because while, for example, a player was badly off side, it wasn't material. Both sides have young players with good instincts and it will be interesting to see how they develop as they learn the game and get introduced into the subtle nuances of the Game They Play In Heaven.

Final Score: Stanford Rookies 5 - Santa Clara Rookies 5


The NCRRS pre-season meeting and AGM HAS BEEN MOVED to November 13.

The Level Two referee course has swapped weekends with it: the course will now be given on November 6-7.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, October 05, 2010




The IRB courses for those who would work with a flag in one hand, aiding and abetting the performance of Rugby in Northern California, should sign up for the TJ/AR courses which are being offered in Vallejo on Sunday, October 17.

We seem to have a great demand for such courses throughout the year but here we are less than two weeks out from a course offering and not one person has signed up for it.

Please publicize this to anyone you know who has expressed an interest, or whom you think should be expressing an interest.

Signing up is done through the USA Rugby website at Click on Officiate the Game in the left-hand column, then click on Training Courses, then Register for a Course down at the bottom of the page.

Contact lead instructor Mike Malone with any questions, but register on-line.


We are VERY thin on the ground for the foreseeable future.

Here are the number of refs needed each weekend and the number who have said they can ref that weekend:

Oct. 9 2 tournaments, five games 17 12
Oct. 16 three games 3 0
Oct. 23 tournament, two games 9 4
Oct. 30 2 tournaments, six games 15 4
Nov. 6 tournament, 7 games 10 0

For this Saturday, October 9, we have two college games in Fresno that need a ref, and the Reno tournament needs 3-4 more refs. Hotel rooms will be provided for Friday night.


The referee turnout has been pathetic (see above). When your writer moved here from Georgia, where we played most of the year, I wondered why the California teams did not play in the gorgeous autumn weather.

Now I know: the refs take the bulk of the year off.

Last weekend we had two games and one referee. Lee Salgado drove to Chico for their alumni games:

The weather was hot and muggy, but everyone was excited to play. The Chico Women's team won with a decent margin even playing one down. I reffed part of the men's game so I don't remember the score from the women's game. The Chico men also won by a large margin with many subs to supplement the game. The game started off rough with small scuffles, but, in each of the 20 minute quarters the game got cleaner and more exciting.


The NCRRS pre-season meeting and AGM HAS BEEN MOVED to November 13.

The Level Two referee course has swapped weekends with it: the course will now be given on November 6-7.


The main computer at the Pelicans’ Nest is on the fritz. We’re cobbling this together using old telegraph keys, tin cans and string. Forget pictures.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris