Thursday, January 27, 2011




But they seem to want to play it the same way.

Used to be, ‘the player on his feet is king’. No more.

Here’s the situation, which only happens a couple of dozen times a game:
I have the ball. You put me to ground but you stay on your feet. Both of us have our hands on the ball while I am on the ground.

Until this year, I had to let go of the ball so that you could have it.

Now, YOU have to let go of the ball and demonstrate two things to the referee: that you have indeed let go of the ball and that none of your weight is supported by your hands/arms. And both of your feet have to be on your team’s side of my body before you can reach for the ball again.

You may have tackled me but you are not a tackler: you are a ‘tackle assist’.

You need to demonstrate the release of the ball and the absence of weight on the upper extremities by either SHOWING the referee the palms of both your hands or by SPREADING your arms apart. (This one is referred to as the ‘butterfly’ as you read about this issue.)

The citation is here:

We don’t make this stuff up: Ruling 1-2010, issued 10 March 2010
“Players who were attached to the player who is tackled, and who remain on their feet, must release the player and the ball (Law 15.6 (c)) and then may play the ball in accordance with Law 15.6 (b).”


For February 5th we have 31 games and 21 refs. Two or our stalwarts were lost for the next month or so due to injuries sustained last weekend.

If you would like to referee YOU HAVE TO LET US KNOW. Pretty please. We can’t assign games hoping people will fulfill the assignments, but we dread the thought that someone is sitting at home wondering why they don’t get to ref and five miles away some old boy is blowing a game.

From Chris Tucker:

“I got confirmation from Ed Todd that he's going to be giving an hour-ish clinic for the more experienced refs on how to coach newer refs. Part of our strategy in Sac Valley is to try to get the active society refs to hold the hands of the newly-minted L3's as they take their first faltering steps with the whistle, and this is to help us along. Refs from other parts of NorCal are, of course, welcome and encouraged to attend.

“5.30pm at the KOT pitch at Granite Regional Park off Power Inn Road (where Sac State vs. Davis is taking place).”

MARITIME ACADEMY 36 – Western Oregon 19 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Friday night was another perfect evening for rugby - cool crisp and no wind (a pleasant surprise) in Vallejo.

The first half looked like it was going to be a Maritime runaway after they scored 19 unanswered points, but the Oregon men made it respectable, with the halftime score 19 to 12.

In the second half, Maritime scored 12 points before Western Oregon answered with a try, but it was all they could muster.

Maritime scored another try near the end of the match, to finish the scoring.

Seconds: Maritime Academy – SF Fog Referee: Rich Boyer
No report received.

SFGG 38 – James Bay 13 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
The weather was perfect on Treasure Island on Saturday for some pre-game tanning. Highs in the mid 60s and sunshine.

There were approximately ten past and current internationals on the field and the quality showed in the pace of the game. There was a lot of action in the first half but also a lot of mistakes, allowing for extended periods of advantage but not many points scored. San Francisco scored first, about half way through the first half, but James Bay continued to apply pressure and gained several penalties in the opposition 22. They managed to slot one for three points.

Golden Gate were on the border line of legality in terms of dangerous play for most of the first half. After being warned for high tackles, a stiff arm tackle from the Gate number 8 and an ensuing dust up left two Gate players (Pulu and Manoa) in the bin going into half time. James Bay took the opportunity on the stroke of half time to score in the corner and lead 7-8 at the break.

Gate really got it together in the second half and made their passes stick and to their support runners. Once across the gain line, backs and forwards were lined up to take the ball on further and out muscle the visitors. They scored five second half tries, mainly in their backs as the out-stretched the Canadian Premier side time after time. The Bay center Smith scored the last points of the game with a break down the left wing from just under half way to finish up the game.

SFGG COLTS 79 – Berkeley RFC 5 Referee: John Pohlman
AR's/TJ's: Shawn from Berkeley, Bjorn Stumer first half Mose Timoteo second half. Thanks to all three for the help
Dixon Smith Assessor/Coach

This Saturday took me to the Treasure Island Golden Gate rugby experience. The James Bay's Canadian Captain who had played for the national team commented on how great it is to play rugby on Treasure Island. You know you have a nice venue when a capped international player is impressed.

I always like crossing the Bay Bridge and seeing San Francisco Bay. But the ride home saw the city of San Francisco with a sunsetting red sky which made me want to sing some Tony Bennett.

My game saw SFGG's Colts side hosting Berkeley's first side. I had refereed a Berkeley/Marin game last year and thought this could be a fun, fast and competitive game. Well two out of three ain't bad.

Well I expected two well-coached teams with good athletes and some early season rust. What I got was a SFGG back line which was electric. Once in the first half and once in the second half the SFGG back-line scored 3 trys in 6 minutes of running time. SFGG captain Joe started the scoring with circus pass between his legs. This was not showboating. He received a bad pass that fell before him and with one motion passed between his legs to a bursting center.

One of the trys of the day came from the Cody brothers. These two backs made a side line try which consisted of each passing and receiving the ball at least two to three times.

And this was all against a Berkeley side which was good. Berkeley's captain Joe scored a try off a blocked kick towards the end of the game.

So second division be warned the SFGG team has good forwards with a great work rate and backs who can finish.

SFGG COLTS seconds 58 – Berkeley RFC seconds 0 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Even the second side of San Francisco Golden Gate's Colts was too much for a short Berkeley B side, further depleted by injuries. Although they never gave up, the Berkeley lads were at the receiving end of a flurry of tries from San Francisco. Five tries were scored per half which, augmented by 4 conversions ended in the uneven score. The action belied the score as both teams went at it with gusto. Fun for all!

Sac Capitals 17 –OLYMPIC CLUB 48 Referee: George O'Neil

Seconds: Sac Capitals 5 – OLYMPIC CLUB 25 Ref: O’Neil

San Mateo 0 – EPA BULLDOGS 32 Referee: Preston Gordon
AR: Bruce Bernstein

Seconds: SAN MATEO 19 – EPA Bulldogs 17 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Hard to know this was "seconds" & only a scrimmage with 6 pretty spectacular tries & only one more conversation for the winner.

EPA Razorbacks 20 – BARBARIANS 29 Referee: John Coppinger
Saturday, in Palo Alto, Bay Barbarians I's quickly fell behind a fired-up EPA Razorback I's side. Bay Barbarians took a 17-15 lead just at halftime. Bay Barbarians went out 29-20 winners as the tiring Razorbacks made numerous errors and penalties allowing Bay Barbarians to kick four penalty goals in the second half to ice the game. Good, hard hitting match played in good spirits.

Seconds: EPA RAZORBACKS 31 – Barbarians 26 Referee: Bruce Ricard
The game started one hour late because teams were not ready, on a beautiful sunny and not too hot weather: perfect for playing rugby. A lot of players from both teams already played the first game, their legs were already starting to hurt.

[Editor’s synopsis of the report: Suffice it to say that there were a lot of disciplinary problems.]

Chico 31 – Baracus 31 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
The Oaks seemed to be in control in the first half with a 24 to 12 lead at half time, but they couldn't hold on to it.

Baracus came back to tie it about half way through the second half.

Chico scored a try to retake the lead, but gave up a late score to end the match.

Seems the match ended with both teams having scored approximately the same amount of points... bummer!! :-o :-)

It also seems that both teams weren't quite up to speed about releasing the tackled player, but a couple of yellow cards seemed to resolve the problem.

That and a number of discussions at the Bear about what the law says!!

Seconds: CHICO 21 – Baracus 14 Referee: Beau McSwain
I had my debut at officiating a full real game this last weekend. The final result was Chico B beating Baracus three tries to two with all conversions being made.

Vallejo – Diablo Gaels
Not sure whether this one was played.

SHASTA by forfeit over Reno Academy Would-Be Referee: Dave Ellis
THURSDAY- Game confirmed by Shasta. Go for a run, polish up the boots, boil the whistle. FRIDAY- Game cancelled by Reno. Go for another run, pack up the boots and whistle for another week. SATURDAY- Should be a rugby day but isn't. Major disappointment for 20+ Shasta ruggers who needed the game to prepare for their season and 1 ref.

South Valley – Redwood
Not sure whether this one was played, either.

St. Mary's thirds 5 – VACAVILLE 32 Referee: Eric Rauscher
AR: Ron De Causemaker
Sacramento State field, firm and sunny
This game was originally supposed to be vs Seahawks U23 at St Mary’s. One thing I have learned as I go along is to be flexible; it makes life a lot easier.
The game consisted of three 20min periods, with open subs, ie, it was a learning game. St Mary’s displayed some fine scrum work (albeit being a little earlier on the engage that had to be worked out). Vacaville however was able to distribute the ball out of rucks quickly and send it across the field in a coordinated way. It still being early in the season, many of the penalties were just due to inexperience.

Sac State 29 – ST. MARY’S 49 Referee: Chris Tucker
ARs: Eric Rauscher, Ron Decausemaker
Bright, sunny spring-like day in Sacramento for a game that could almost be described with the same 3 adjectives. Both teams played positive, but error-prone rugby, with St. Mary's moving the ball very well, scoring 9 tries in all, but only converting 2 in a poor display of kicking. They also gave the home side 3 of their 5 tries, gift wrapped with a little bow on top. Of course you still need to take the opportunity, and full marks for doing so. The game changed once the St. Mary's full back left the game with an injury, because his replacement was unsure of how to play one of the most complex positions on the field. Sac kicked to him every chance they got, and put up their last two tries from subsequent pressure. But the visitors held on to their lead in spite of losing their captain to a sin bin for an elbow to the head of the kicker late in the game. Close to a red, lucky for him it was close to the end of the game.

Thanks to eric and ron for holding down the lines for me.

Seconds: Sac State 27 – ST. MARY’S 40 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Immediately following the firsts in Sacramento-the Valley at its wintry best; clear and balmy.

Early season at this level, it takes a bit to figure stuff out. The Gaels figured it out first-swinging the ball wide to the wing-and scored at 15 minutes in. And then often; it was 26-0 at half.

The last half was a horse of a different color (there were substitutions); the Hornets themselves swing it wide and score 27 points. The Gaels get two more with conversations to notch it. The best part of the game? An absolutely ferocious Sac forward attack from 5 meters out, gallantly but barely thwarted by the Gael pack. Finally, finally, the ball goes out to the backs; a try; full time.

CALIFORNIA 95 – Chico State 5 Referee: James Hinkin
ARs: Tom Zanarini, Rich Boyer/JC Van Staden
Evaluator: Mike Malone

An absolutely gorgeous day on Treasure Island was the setting for Cal v Chico St. Tom Zanarini and Rich Boyer graciously offered to AR the match, with JC Van Staden stepping in at the half for Rich so he could warm up and prepare for the B side match. It is a luxury to have trained ARs and is a great help for a match such as this. Thanks goes to all of you.

The match itself went according to the form book. Relentless Cal pressure saw Chico constantly defending and while they tackled hard initially they didn't have an answer to the 3rd and 4th wave of Cal ruggers. The Chico back line missed several assignments early on and were duly punished. Chico had a couple of penalty attempts go wide but aside from that never really threatened the Cal line. And what can you say about Cal? It seemed that at every tackle there were options available and almost always the correct one was taken.

The second half saw Cal change the team en masse displaying the depth that has become the hallmark of their program. The game evened out somewhat at this point so that while Cal was still dominant Chico were able to make some headway towards the Cal line. They were rewarded late on with a forward try after attacking the Cal line for a sustained period which included a drive over the line that was initially ruled held up by myself, but changed to a full penalty based on input from JC (ARs are sooooo nice). The subsequent penalty was tapped and, after several phases, the try was scored. A little solace in a match that saw Cal score 15 tries (10 converted).

Special note should be made of the behavior of the teams, and especially the captains Derek and Charlie (Cal) and Tony (Chico). Both sides were disciplined and respectful and were concentrating on playing rugby. Scorelines such as this can sometimes lead to frustration but a penalty count of less than 10 with no scuffles/dirty play reflects very well on the character of both teams. My hat, if I were to wear one, would be off to them.

Seconds: California – Chico State Referee: Tom Zanarini
No report received.

STANFORD 29 – UC Davis 12 Referee: Rich Anderson
In a stunning result, Stanford defeated UC Davis 29-12 in their home opener. Stanford featured an explosive offense and tight defense. Davis was unable to cross the try line until the final minutes of the match.

Seconds: Stanford 10 – UC DAVIS 41 Referee: Sandy Robertson
One of Stanford's props was injured on Friday, so uncontested scrums were the order of the day. Made for a wide open running afternoon. Davis was too big and too skilled for Stanford, but the game remained a contest throughout.

Nevada – Fresno State CANCELED

UC SANTA CRUZ 74 – U. of the Pacific 5 Referee: Chris Fisher

SIERRA JC 66 – Humboldt State 0 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Nathan Jones (Sierra), Jerry Soho (Humboldt)
Location: Eureka School, Granite Bay

A beautiful, sunny day. The pitch was well marked, albeit the 22s were a bit shy, and very serviceable.

Sierra College has huge numbers. Humboldt State arrived with 16. Both teams played with positive attitudes. The hosts scored early and often in the first half. Humboldt had problems with tackling and killing the ball. The second half only had three tries but that may be attributed to Sierra College trying different things rather than just running up the score.

Seconds: Sierra JC – Humboldt State
Your guess is as good as ours.
[Webmaster's note: HSU had too many injured, etc players and cancelled this match later in the week.]

Chico State women 17 – UC Davis 17 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Chico State women played to a draw against their valley rivals UC Davis women in a well played, evenly matched game in Chico. The pitch was firm, the sun was out, although the modest but steady north wind blowing almost straight down the pitch gave an advantage to the team with the wind at their backs, and Davis used it to their advantage to come back in the second half. Chico surprised everyone with a back line dropped goal before half time.

CALIFORNIA women 60 – UC Santa Cruz 0 Referee: Sean Peters
A beautiful day at the Tom Bates Field Complex in Berkley, where both teams were real early to arrive before game time.

After I gave instructions to both front rows and captains, the kick off was ready. Slugs received the kicked and went on the quick attack but were over-matched by Berkeley's big forwards overpowering them in the scrums and counter attacking off the rucks.

At half the slugs were not giving up and staged several big runs from their #8 and #12 but just couldn’t finish , at half 17-0.

The second half of the game Berkeley made some adjustments and came out hard and fast , Berkeley's forwards dominated in the loose play from their big #4 ,#8 and #18 that set up a couple more trys and created lots of room for their backline to start having huge runs from their #15 and #20.

But the Slugs never gave up ,they fought with their heads up , both teams were well coached and disciplined ......end score 60-0 Berkley

Stanford women 20 – FRESNO STATE 25 Referee: Liz Palmer
Stanford won the coin toss, chose to receive and defend North end of the pitch. Fresno gave warning of very new front row, and in the 4th minute a prop needed a blood sub for a head wound needing stitches. At the 7th minute by the request of a Stanford prop and the coach, I chatted with both coaches and decided that uncontested scrums would be safest for the rest of the match.

Stanford was the more experienced and fit team, with Fresno getting offside, not releasing ball/player, and playing the ball on the ground penalties. However Stanford had many knock-ons and forward passes, essentially providing Fresno with possession b/c of uncontested scrums. Fresno defense was stronger than their offense, thus although the majority of the match was played in Fresno's end of the pitch they were able to hold Stanford to 4 tries. At halftime the score was Stanford 10, Fresno 5. At the 78th minute Fresno scored their 4th try; tying the match 20-20. I added the time lost (3:30) and Fresno was able to make a 90-meter run to score on the final play at 83 minutes. Final score Fresno 25, Stanford 20.

Had Stanford not had so many knock-ons and forward passes, they would probably have scored a few more tries.

Humboldt State women 5 –SANTA CLARA 14 Referee: Cary Bertolone
I arrived at the Island (Peninsula) of Manila, next to Eureka, a little early, at 9:30 am to find the sun coming through and the field full of players warming up and seemingly ready to go, an hour and half before game time. Impressive on both counts! The game started at 11:00 am, and Humboldt controlled the beginning of the game. They have several individual players that are quite athletic and they controlled the rucking. With still no score, Santa Clara's #10 and team captain, Angelina, intercepted a pass, made a couple of cuts and ran in a center try, followed by her own conversion. Santa Clara then started to exert their skills, working really well together as a team. They had one almost try "held up" and missed a couple of pretty makeable penalty kicks. They started winning most of the rucks and had more attacking ball. The half ended with Santa Clara up only 7-0. The second half began with Santa Clara dominating the game by playing as a team. They scored on third or fourth phase ball and had the game in hand, 14-0. Humboldt fought hard but made a lot of penalty mistakes and even had to play down for 10 minutes because of repeated infringements after too many warnings. And then, with 5 minutes to go, Humboldt fought for field position with several phases with great rucking of their own. With 30 seconds to go, I called last play at a scrum down on about the 30 meter line. Humboldt proceeded to take the ball to the goal line where they tried to put it in 8-10 times with Santa Clara making every tackle. Humboldt kept winning the rucks and the game must of went on for 3 minutes before Humboldt's tall lock got it down for a last play try for Humboldt, the final score being 14-5, Santa Clara. A great rugby sequence definitely enjoyed by the crowds!! Lots of fun and the Eel River was gorgeous on the drive to and fro!!

JV: Elsie Allen 12 – SANTA ROSA 15 Referee: Cary Bertolone
ARs: Mike King, Tom Zanarini
Elsie kicked off at 6:00 PM, under the lights of Elsie Allen High School, to a youthful Rosa team and off they went. Mostly freshman and sophomores, there was a lot of enthusiasm from both sides and some pretty good speed by some, making for an exciting rugby game. Cardinal Newman/Rosa scored the first two tries to take a 10-0 halftime lead. Elsie came back with a try to close the gap. In the end, Rosa held Elsie off for a 15-12 victory. Mike King and I were then AR's for the Hayward High vs Elsie Allen game that Tom Zanarini took care of. That did not end until after 9:00 PM.

Varsity: Elsie Allen 8 – HAYWARD 48 Referee: Tom Zanarini
ARs: Mike King and Cary Bertolone
A beautiful night on the all-weather pitch at Elsie Allen High School. Cary had a great match at 6pm refereeing the Elsie Allen JV's v Santa Rosa and was kind enough to run touch for the varsity match. Mike King also made it to run touch at both matches to make everything look official for a nice Friday night of rugby.

Both teams put up a great match but the athleticism of Hayward overcame the technique of EA. If the EA boys get some more time in the weight room they will be extremely competitive. A pleasure to referee both teams and hope I see them again this season.

Golden Gate – Lamorinda Referee: John Coppinger
I was asked to cover a 10 am Sunday match at TI between Lamorinda and SF/GG Academy. The coaches decided to treat it as a scrimmage with 4-20 minute periods. Because of the format and a delay in the kick-off, I could only referee the first three periods. The match featured lots of good rugby, albeit with some rust in the set pieces, SF/GG was leading 17-10 when I departed.

Sevens Lovers
Photograph by Scriptoris, at the Uprising Sevens in Suva, Fiji:
Standing: Tori and John Tyler, Bill ‘Stretcher’ Satala, Greg Stoehr, DigiCel players Michael Nabuliwaqa and Marika Vunibaka, Ben Green (San Luis Obispo), Waisale Serevi, Suipele Sakalia (EPA Razorbacks/SFGG), Jack Halalilo (San Mateo), Volney Rouse (SFGG)
Squatting: Saia Vainuku (Provo), Folau Niua (EPA Bulldogs/SFGG)

Serevi you know. He cannot walk ten meters without being asked to pose for a photo, even in the Nadi Airport.

Vunibaka had a nice career with the All Blacks and Canterbury.

Satala literally cannot walk down the street in Fiji without cars stopping to ask if he needs a ride.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris