Wednesday, November 17, 2010




We’ve got the alumni games at Stanford this Sunday, November 21. Please respond if you would be available.


The basic rugby referee course will be offered in Sacramento on Sunday, January 9.

Any coach of a college team who attends with one or two players from that team will have their course fees reimbursed at the meeting, courtesy of a friendly donor.

The lead instructor will be Matt Eason: Let him know if you plan to attend. On-line registration is not yet available (as of November 18).

November 13
Report by David Williamson:

We were honored to have three of the best coaches in the US join us: Paul Keeler from SFGG, Tom Billups from Cal, and Tony McKenzie from Lamorinda. The coaches discussed what they expect to see from referees at various times during Game Day. Preston Gordon moderated the panel.

Overall, the coaches were very complimentary of the level of refereeing in NorCal. But, as Tom stated, "the best can always get better." Tony appreciates seeing more discipline in HS matches, and seeing refs working the Frosh and JV matches. Paul noted the need
for more HS refs.

Before the game, Tony wants refs to provide a good briefing that covers interpretations such as "when is the ball out?" Tom is looking for a high level of professionalism. Paul stressed the ref being on time. "On Time" means 45 minutes to an hour before kickoff for high school, 1 hour for college, and 1.5 hours for Super League.

During the game, Tony is looking for tougher management of the game, which helps the players as they progress. He wants refs to work with the captains. Tom emphasized "life lessons" that can be learned in rugby, and asked referees not to coach the players. Paul said, "continuity is everything." Coaches want to keep the ball alive, and sometimes referees kill it by looking for an infraction. He encouraged refs to find a way to keep the game going.

At scrums, Paul urged refs to line up players in slots with their opposite numbers in the front row--the correct distance apart—to avoid collapses. Tom supports a slower cadence and utilizing input from the ARs to manage the contest. He stressed safety and recognized a dominant scrum's responsibility to manage it. Tony pointed out the different sizes of HS players.

After the match, Tony appreciates a 5 minute discussion with the referee regarding law interpretations. Tom prefers to review the video before engaging in a discussion. Paul said the post-match discussion "comes down to personalities." The discussion is much more productive if the ref has good "people skills" and is truly interested in the coach's perspective.

Finally, it was enlightening to hear how captains are selected: The Lamorinda players select their captain for the season, and the coaches encourage the players to look to him for on-field guidance. It takes a while to assume leadership at this level. At Cal, the captain has a defined role to manage team’s relationship with the referee. At SFGG, the captain may be selected based on who the referee is that week.

We're very appreciative of the time and energy the coaches devoted to the panel, and their candid remarks. Their efforts help make us better referees.


Friday, November 12:
Maritime Academy 6 – SANTA ROSA 22 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Maritime's Friday Night Lights. Hey, new refs, if you are offered one of these matches, take it. It is great college D2, wonderfully venued.

This was the first match for both clubs-and like football, the defense tends to be ahead of the offence. The first half was 6-0-all Keelhaulers. They kept it in the pack and spent a lot of time parked on the Rosa goal line.

For the second half, Rosa changed tactics-deeply angle the backs, swing the pill out wide right to the outside center/wing, and let them ponies run. Run straight, at full sprint. Support. It worked. A missed tackle and they were downfield for big gainers-and tries.

Seconds: MARITIME ACADEMY 19 – Santa Rosa 10 Ref: Byrnes
A bit of a shambles but a happy one. This was the first match for many if not most of the Maritime seconds players, so uncontested scrums. The challenge with these games is to keep it safe, work on stuff, but give everyone a run. So that is what we did.


SOUTH VALLEY 47 – San Francisco State 0 Referee: Cary Bertolone
On 11/13/10, a gorgeous day in Morgan Hill, South Valley kicked off to SF State at 1:00PM. South Valley is a new Div. 3 team from Morgan Hill featuring several graduates of Live Oak H.S. They have a lot of youth mixed in with some sizeable, more experienced players that make the core of a really good team. This being early in the year, a lot of mistakes were made by the bigger, faster men's team, keeping them in check. I was tough on the high tacklers as well as the players diving over killing rucks. I even yellow carded one player for playing the man (ripping a lock out of a maul and throwing him aside) to keep things civil. S.F. State, on the other hand, played with urgency and determination and we had a really close game for the entire first half, with the score being only 5-0 in favor of South Valley. In the second half, however, we had an entirely different game. South Valley scored 42 unanswered points for a total score of 47-0. They rucked and ran and passed and their backs completely dominated the S.F. backs. (I believe S.F. lost a couple of backs to substitution and those subs were not up to the task.) One back scored 4 times with some great running. Both teams had reason to be proud and we all had a great run.

Santa Clara 6 – SAN JOSE STATE 71 Referee: Terry Ryan

Seconds: SANTA CLARA 21 – San Jose State 15 Ref: Bertolone
Afterwards, I reffed Santa Clara B side against San Jose State B's. I know San Jose State won the first side game, I think rather handedly. My B side game was evenly matched. The smaller, faster Santa Clara side beat San Jose 21-15 with each side scoring three tries, but Santa Clara making their conversions. I awarded one penalty try to San Jose State, along with a yellow card, for a high tackle on the two meter line with the ball carrier appearing like he was going in. Everyone, even the Santa Clara coach, thought this was appropriate, even though it was not malicious or intentional. Everyone had a good run, once again!

SF/GOLDEN GATE 46 – Vancouver Rowing Club 6 Referee: Bruce Carter
This is a fixture that dates back to the Rowers’ annual trips to the old Golden Gate Tournament at the polo field thirty years ago. Some of the fellas on the pitch may have some shared memories with the ref.

But not most of them: youth was served alongside experience.

The different was in the front rows, Golden Gate having relative vigor, power and pace to make it a one-sided affair.

The referee meeting having ended in the clubhouse, the players were free to enjoy the fruits of the brand-new bar that now graces dining area.

Coaches Panel
Tony McKenzie, Tom Billups, Paul Keeler and Preston Gordon at the Pelican Refs annual training meeting.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris