Wednesday, February 16, 2011




St. Mary’s will be hosting the University of British Columbia today at 3:30 at SFGG’s Sheeran Field.

Come early, watch the match, and stay around for our Society meeting this evening.


We have forty club and college games on March 5. So far eight people have responded with availability for March, and three of those are not available on the 5th.

We cannot make bricks without straw. Let us know if you can referee next month.

PLEASE RESPOND: Y or N Able to Travel?
March 5
March 12
March 19
March 26


The 2011 Game Management Guidelines for USA Rugby have been released. There are multiple edits so please do review them and apply across all competitions with immediate effect. They can also be downloaded here:


Because weekend days are precious this time of year, the course will be taught on two weekday evenings:

Dates: Monday, February 28, 2011, and Wed, March 2, 2011 from 6:00 to 9:00.
Location: Greater Sacramento area, place to be determined.
Contact: Matt Eason:


Friday, Feb. 4
Christian Brothers 15 – MCCLATCHY 22 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Mason Gunn, Casey Spaich
Location: Granite Regional Park, Sacramento

What a difference a week can make. The temperature warmed by 20+ degrees from the previous weekend so fans were out en masse. Having driven 1.5 hours from a client's office to the pitch, I was worried how well my legs would hold out. Fortunately, they were tested at the first whistle. Both teams traded the ball back and forth and ran around the pitch (between the 22s) for three or four minutes before the ball finally landed in touch. Phew. Legs? Check. Lungs? Somewhere out there. Oh, well, time to run again.

Both teams seem to be matched in size. McClatchy had more agile athletes but CB tackled well and contested the breakdowns. Silly penalties and ball handling errors resulted in a low scoring half. McClatchy led at the break 12-5.

The second half had more continuity and movement of the ball. The teams were willing to work the forwards and spin the ball wide but defenses were in place (on an 80m wide pitch...) to minimize easy breakaways. The teams traded two unconverted tries apiece. With under a minute remaining, CB moved down the field with a penalty kick to touch. They won the ensuing lineout but a knock-on by both teams ended their run for the evening. If CB's kicker slotted the three conversion opportunities we would have ended in a (shudder) tie.

Thanks to both teams and coaches for having a positive attitude. Additional kudos to Mason Gunn and Casey Spaich for running touch.

Saturday, Feb. 5

STANFORD 38 – Sacramento State 27 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Jake (Stanford), Malachai (Sac St)
Location: Steuber Stadium, Stanford

After running around for 70 minutes the prior evening, my legs were feeling pretty good. My concern was the heat. The temperature by kickoff was 74F! Quite a difference from the prior week’s highs in the 50s. The teams were raring to go by kickoff time and it showed when the game got underway. Sacramento scored easily off the kickoff but was quickly answered by Stanford running in a try several minutes later. Around the 20th minute, Sacramento scored a try in the corner and their kicker slotted a very difficult conversion. Stanford was undeterred and, after both several possession changes, battled down the pitch to score a near-centered try. With time running out for the half, Sacramento was awarded a penalty on Stanford's five meter line, about 15 meters from touch. After the kicker moved the spot back about 20 meters, the hosts had to be instructed they were to stand no closer than the goal line. The kicker lined up and as he approached to kick the defenders charged forward. The kick missed and Sacramento elected to try again. This time there was no charge but the result was the same. Halftime score: 14-14.

Matt Sherman's talk during halftime must have been inspirational. Stanford came out gunning and dominated the next 25 minutes of play scoring 24 points to Sacramento's one penalty goal. Entering the final ten minutes, Stanford led 38-17. Sacramento was able to regroup and fought down the field to score two unconverted tries. However, Stanford maintained possession on the final restart and was able to clear the ball to touch to finish the match.

Both teams should be congratulated for playing an intense and highly competitive match.

Tuesday, Feb. 8
STANFORD women 85 – Sacramento State 0 Referee: Pete Smith

Wednesday, Feb. 9
Maritime Academy 0 – CALIFORNIA 85 Referee: George O’Neil


Chico State 24 – STANFORD 34 Referee: Joe Androvich
These teams battled at every phase of the match. Chico took an early lead. Stanford didn't give up and eventually took a sizable lead.

Chico mounted a late comeback, and the game was tied at 24 in the 70th minute and it looked like Chico would win. However, two late scores by Stanford sealed the match.

Seconds: Chico State – Stanford Referee: Dave Ellis
No report received.

San Francisco State – USF Referee: Sam Davis
No report received.

Sierra College 15 –SANTA ROSA JC 19 Referee: JC Van Staden
AR: Ray Schwartz
We almost thought the summer is here, with a 68F on a beautiful field at Wood creek high...So, while the USA 7’s was well on its way, (and the Boks had everything under control of course) these two 2nd division teams left it on the pitch. Both sized up pretty good, and the ball was swinging across the pitched early on. With Santa Rosa pulling first blood, the half time score was 12-3 and the coaching sides were on fire. Sierra hit back fast, and with only 5 min left, moved into the lead with 15-12. Big tackles caused a few turn over balls, and a few missed placed kicks, brought Santa Rosa back from the dead, and with some hard running, squeezed one out right behind the post with only 2 min to spare. Great day for rugby, and very well-coached teams, have made up for the fact that I could not be at the 7’s...maybe next year :)

Seconds: Sierra College – SANTA ROSA JC Referee: Ray Schwartz
The Battle of the JCs!
Played at Woodcreek Oaks High, Roseville
Brilliant sunshine, no breeze, a typical February afternoon!

JC Van Staden reffed the A Side in this "Battle of the JCs". I hope the right team won. Jim Crenshaw watched as I ran touch.

Santa Rosa is the longer standing program, and with a few more veteran players (a lot of Cardinal Newman kids), but Sierra has ambition and on this day had the numbers as well. Rosa brought 25, Sierra perhaps 32 players. I tried to squeeze (2) 30-minute halves out of them. Rosa begged for 20-minute halves (or less), while Sierra wanted a full 80-minute match!

The game was fast and fun, Sierra jumping out front, Rosa storming back. I tried not to blow the whistle, but stopped play at 4 different types of tackles that varied from fairly to very dangerous and helped the boys learn what they could or should not do. Rosa scored more points, but the last points came from a talented wing wearing Sierra maroon socks and a red Rosa jersey! At the end of 60 minutes of play the lads on both sides surprised me and begged for more time! It was actually heartwarming. Though I awarded 5 more, they kept it alive for 8 minutes, until Rosa's big prop finished the day with another thunderous try.

SAN JOSE STATE 25 – Nevada 24 Referee: Rich Anderson
In a match between two evenly talented opponents, it is generally the little things that decide the outcome. That was certainly the case at Spartan Field, where a nice sideline crowd enjoyed the sun and the rugby as San Jose State took on Nevada.

State took a slim lead at half, 13-12, with both sides missing 2 kicks. In the second half, State scored 2 unconverted tries, allowing Nevada to still be lurking, down 6 with 2 minutes remaining. A Nevada back emerged from some attempted tackles at the State 22m line and scored a try under the posts. The conversion, however failed (the seventh missed kick by both teams), and San Jose State held on for a 25-24 win and kept themselves undefeated on the season.

Seconds: SAN JOSE STATE 46 – Nevada 10 Referee: Jeff Jury

California women 12 – STANFORD 30 Referee: Stephanie Bruce
Referee Coaches: Lois Bukowski, Dixon Smith

Seconds: California women 12 – STANFORD 15 Referee: Lois Bukowski
Close game between 2 spirited sides. Stanford's A side filled in some numbers for their B side and at least one alum was spotted playing fly half in the first half.

Cal mounted a good comeback but was fell short. Overall, good rugby on a beautiful day at multi-purpose Witter Field.

SF BATs women 20 –HUMBOLDT STATE 45 Referee: Cary Bertolone
A gorgeous sunny day in San Francisco. 1:00 PM kick-off and Humboldt wasted no time as their #8 picked the ball up from a scrum and went weakside for a try at the one minute mark. They scored again at the seven minute mark and so on; it was 31-8 at the half as USF closed the gap with a last minute emotional try while Humboldt was playing short. The second half was much more even. USF really started rucking better and had a couple of trys as their reward. Humboldt State won 45-20.

Seconds: Humboldt State 14 – SF BATS 15 Ref: Bertolone
In a short second game, new players got a taste of rugby ala 10's rugby. Humboldt State scored two quick tries, but USF came back at the end to post a win 15-14 on three unconverted tries. Everybody had a good run!!

SANTA CLARA women 43 – Nevada 7 Referee: Bruce Ricard
Game started around noon under a beautiful weather. So one hour late because I realized only this morning that I had a game today, by receiving an e-mail from the host team at 10AM. Hopefully a coach assistant came to pick me up and we had a good game.

During the first half, the game was really balanced; score was 7-7 after 20 minutes. Santa Clara was stronger, but made a lot of infringements at tackles and rucks, especially coming from the side. I talked their captain and they did less, but still sometimes. As they started infringing less, they kept the ball, and scored 2 more converted tries before the break.

The second half was pretty much unilateral, although the possession of the ball seemed to be even, Santa Clara was much more realistic and scored 4 tries against 0 for Nevada.

HS SL: Lamorinda 13 – JESUIT 37 Referee: Paul Bretz
At halftime Lamo was up 12-13. Overall a very good game with both sides listening and responding to directives. It’s nice when players react.

PLEASANTON 12 – Oak Grove 0 Ref: Bretz
There was a bit of a scare as 2 Pleasanton players had to be taken away to the hospital, one in an ambulance and one in a helicopter, from injuries sustained from a head-to-head collision. Both players were attempting to tackle the same opponent. One of them was knocked unconscious.

Both players are fine at home as of Monday afternoon.

McClatchy 10 (2T 0C) – JESUIT (7T 6C 2P) Referee: Scott Wood
Location: McClatchy High School
I arrived early enough to witness a breakdown in communication. The game was scheduled (or so I was told) for a 4 pm kickoff on the football field. Apparently, the girls’ soccer team scheduled practice for around the same time on the same field. Shouting was heard, permits were displayed, emotions ran high, the athletic director was called. In the course of civil discussion, clearer heads should be heard. Much to the consternation of the round-ballers (or at least their coach), rugby won out. However, I wonder if any collateral damage incurred as a result.

On to rugby. Jesuit struck early with a penalty goal. Then a try. And another. And another (conversion missed). And finished the half with a second penalty goal. 25-0
McClatchy defended the breakdown very well but their tackling was somewhat lacking at times when it seemed most important (e.g. whenever Jesuit backs had space). When on the attack, poor ball handling and marginal decisions led to McClatchy's downfall. This is not to say Jesuit had an easy run. Their game plan was broken up and they had to capitalize off their initiative.

The second half was nearly similar to the first. Jesuit scored a try. And another. And another. Then McClatchy scored (unconverted). Jesuit scored a fourth try for the half before McClatchy was able to break into the goal area for a second try (unconverted).

Kudos to both teams for providing me with another intense, multi-phased match. I definitely slept well that night.

BELLARMINE 19 – Alameda 10 Referee: Chris Fisher

Eric Rauscher had fun:
So I was assigned to the woman's open sevens. I ended up reffing nine games over Thursday and Friday along with ARing 16. A lot of the play was pretty industrial stuff with an occasional standout player on a team that was very good. There were however at least five teams down from Canada. The Canadian Maple Leafs had two, the red and black teams. On Thursday I predicted that they would play each other in the final. About halfway through Friday I was assigned to do the final and my prediction turned out to be true. The game was an absolute joy to ref. The penalty count was low, and readily acknowledged as such by the offender (usually). The play was fast and open and back and forth, just like Sevens should be. final Black 17 / Red 7

As far as I could gather the teams came from a rugby academy of some sort, not the national team, but a feeder to it. I guess I could have found out more, but there was a lot to do and enjoy that weekend.

So did Bruce Carter:
There were a lot of games needing referees on more than a dozen pitches over three days: perfect for a superannuated carpetbagger looking for another big score in the city of his youth.

The College Challenge featured 28 teams competing for one slot at the made-for-TV event in Philadelphia this June.

Eventual winners Central Washington opened with a clinical dissection, 54-0 over a nameless foe, for which I was AR. One Waisale Serevi was spotted in their halftime huddle, keeping them on script.

I was then assigned to referee their second match, with an also-strong Stony Brook (SUNY) team. So I reached into the sideline flock for some good ARs.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON 12 – Stony Brook 8 Referee: Bruce Carter
ARs: Preston Gordon, Tom Zanarini
A good crowd gathered for this second-round matchup. SUNY surprised by taking an eight-to-nil lead into the eleventh minute.

CWU kept their composure, scored one try with two minutes left and another at the death of SUNY.

In such a close and fiercely-contested game, I was very happy to have timely and reliable input via the Pelican Radio Network from both touchlines.

I also refereed Cal Poly in a blowout victory.

Friday I was at a rugby medical conference at the MGM Grand, sponsored by USA Rugby and Ohio State University, missing (but not missing) a lot of great games.

Saturday morning I was the match physician for the Women’s International bracket, so I was available to ref during breaks in the schedule

Saturday was perhaps the best day ever for referee ‘hobos’: most of the referees in attendance wanted to watch the HSBC Sevens in the stadium. Those who could live without seeing the Eagles get smacked around by South Africa and Samoa were treated to some excellent assignments.

The Club Championship Series was played among teams that won qualifying events across the country over the past year.

Quarter-final: DENVER 7 – Humless 5 Ref: Carter
ARs: Brad Dieringer, Leah Berard
This game was intense, fast and furious. A try was called back due to foul play. A drop-goal which the dead-ball-line denizens thought was good was waved off by the confident referee, positioned right where he should be.

Every call mattered. Referees my age have a name for games like this: the fountain of youth. Great stuff.

Semi-final: CHICAGO LIONS 38 – Denver 7 Ref: Carter
The Lions went on to avenge last year’s loss to Belmont Shore in the final. They were not to be denied this year.

And I got into the stadium in time to see the USA beat Japan on their way to the Shield for the second week in a row.


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