Thursday, February 03, 2011




Bruce Ricard has released the beta version of a forum for all to use:

Registration is easy. You informant went there and found an ‘authoritative’ comment just begging to be corrected, about the number of replacements allowed. [webmaster note: the comment has since been amended]

If you enjoy such interactions and have questions or ideas regarding our craft, browse on over, and give Bruce any feedback on the experience.


It’s going to happen, and it’s probably going to happen more this season than it has since your reporter has been involved in the referee match assignments: you won’t have an appointed referee at your game.

This past weekend it was due to car trouble. In future weekends, including this one, it will be because the number of teams and fixtures has outstripped the growth of the NCRRS. We are always a few refs short and any number of folks double up, doing two games routinely. But teams cannot expect the first-side ref automatically to cover two games – refs have other commitments, and some are aware that multiple-game weekends jeopardize their ability to continue to referee every weekend.

Always recall that the average age of officials is significantly higher than that of players.

When you don’t have an ‘official’ ref, the IRB states in the Laws of the Game:

The referee is appointed by the match organizer. If no referee has been appointed the two teams may agree upon a referee. If they cannot agree, the home team appoints a referee.
If the referee is unable to complete the match, the referee’s replacement is appointed according to the instructions of the match organizer. If the match organizer has given no instructions, the referee appoints the replacement. If the referee cannot do so, the home team appoints a replacement.

Of course, it is best if the referee appointed by the home team has taken and passed the Level One Refereeing course and is a member of the NCRRS. (Membership costs $10 a year.) EVERY TEAM SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST ONE QUALIFIED REFEREE AMONG ITS MEMBERSHIP OR FOLLOWERSHIP.


Our February meeting will be on the third Wednesday of the month due to the fact that the hundreds of rugby games on tap in Las Vegas beginning at nine AM on the second Thursday will siphon off a significant layer or our members.

So: Wednesday, February 16, from 7 to 9 PM at the Golden Gate clubhouse.

If you can play hooky for a half-day, swing by St. Mary’s for their 3:30 PM kickoff with the University of British Columbia that afternoon.


Friday at the KOT

Seconds: UC Davis 20 –SACRAMENTO STATE 31 Referee: Phil Akroyd
The first game to start the Kick Off tournament in Sacramento on Friday night. Played under the lights in front of a good crowd, containing many referees, referee coaches and USA Rugby top brass.

The game stayed close through about two-thirds of the 80 minutes. Lots of continuous play and 10-12 at half, 15-24 with twenty minutes remaining. Toward the end, Sac picked up the pace and won 20-31.

UC Davis 19 –SACRAMENTO STATE 41 Referee: Joe Androvich
Decausemaker Wood

Olympic Club 5 – SFGG SL 48 Referee: Chris Tucker
Evaluator: Dixon Smith

Olympic Club seconds 7 – SFGG COLTS 34 Referee: Rich Anderson

SFGG Colts 2 – Seahawks Referee: Rich Anderson
No report received.

DIABLO GAELS 34 – Sac Capitals 17 Referee: John Coppinger
At Morton Field in Vallejo, Diablo Gaels ran past Sac Caps 34-17. Sac Caps had their opportunities, but squandered them. Sac Caps appeared to missing some players. A chirpy game with the players having a go at each other and the referee. Things eventually settled down and some good rugby was played.

EPA Razorbacks 24 – FRESNO 26 Referee: James Hinkin

Seconds: EPA RAZORBACKS 44 – Fresno 0 Referee: Sean Peters
Referee Coach: Bryant Byrnes
Second game was full of young players for a big E.P.A team this year, fast and fearless from the front row to the fly half.

Fresno didn’t really have much of a second side due to preseason , so they also grabbed from the E.P.A side line.

E.P.A was too big and fast for Fresno's seconds.

SACRAMENTO LIONS 89 - San Bruno Saints 12 Referee: Phil Akroyd
One of those "grass roots rugby" kind of games. The pitch at Earl Warren Park in South Sacramento was perfect for a U14 team - well lined, good surface and decent posts, but just too small. San Bruno showed with nine players, Sac with at least twenty, so this became a light-hearted scrimmage pretty quickly.

The Lions wanted to run their moves and get some fitness in before league play and they got better as the game progressed. The San Bruno select side were still in it with five to go in the first half at 20-12, but it was really the Lions players on the opposition side who made all the running. It appeared as though they gave up just before half time and the second half was not as competitive.

The Lions ran in nine unanswered second half tries.

The banter was very good between the two teams and I certainly laughed a lot, plus the barbecue feast after was worth it. Not sure how much Super League referee coach Peter Simpson got out of it, but the New York Met representative got to see a bit of Nor Cal rugby played in good Polynesian spirit.

ST. MARY’S seconds 62 – Santa Clara 19 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR: Preston Gordon
St. Mary’s attacks like a house afire, with everyone coming from every angle. The first option for most position players with almost any quality of ball seems to be turn it up and have a go.

Unless a defense is organized, relentless, and reconstitutes quickly, it is doomed.

ST. MARY’S 71 – Chico State 13 Referee: Preston Gordon
ARs: Stephanie Bruce, John Fouts
Videographer: Bruce Carter

As sometimes happens in Moraga, the sunlight disappeared a few minutes before kickoff and a slow but steady drizzle began. Luckily this didn't have too much impact on the game other than to keep everybody wet, and those who weren't running around cold. Both teams had full squads and there was a decent amount of sideline support.

St. Mary's opened the scoring with unconverted tries at 3' and 6'. The second one was a scrum pushover. After that it was pretty even for the next 20 minutes or so, with Chico State kicking a penalty goal at 17'. The Gaels answered with 2 more tries at 27' and 37', converting the last one. CSU scored a well-worked (unconverted) try at 41' in the corner after repeatedly driving at the line with their forwards, leaving the halftime score at 22-8 to the home side.

The second half was pretty much one-way traffic however. St. Mary's got tries at 42, 49, 55, 59 (converted), 61, 65, 70, 77, and 78 (converted) minutes. Chico State got one more, unconverted, at 72', with the game finishing at 71-13 to the hosts.

Both sides did a good job using the width of the field, and counterattacking from turnovers. The game was generally a pleasure to referee, especially with the assistance of Stephanie and John on the touchlines. Thanks to both of them, and to Bruce, for enduring the wind and cold on the scissor lift while videotaping the game.

ST. MARY’S thirds over Chico State seconds Referee: Stephanie Bruce

Stanford 0 – CALIFORNIA 74 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
The bay area rivalry match was played under partly cloudy skies on a 55F day in front of a considerable crowd at Steuber Rugby Field at Stanford. Cal started with a bang and scored regularly and with variety to lead 48-0 at half, 8 tries. Both teams played structured and enterprising rugby, but Cal appeared to have a significant size advantage in most positions. Cal's backs were particularly incisive, but Stanford was able to steal occasional set-piece ball and were competitive in the rucks. When necessary, Cal was able to muscle forward both scrums and mauls. Stanford missed a kickable penalty in the first half. In the second half, Cal made wholesale substitutions (three different captains), but still managed to score 4 more tries to notch a total of 12 tries for the match. Cal's reserve players were less disciplined than the starters, which resulted in numerous tackle and ruck penalties (and one yellow card), but Stanford did not have enough offense to capitalize. Stanford came close to scoring twice in each half, but knocked on within inches of the try line under heavy defensive pressure. The match video revealed an astounding statistic: of the 17 penalties in the match, 16 were against Cal and only 1 was against Stanford. Several Stanford infringements were not enforced because Cal gained advantage, but even then, the penalty ratio is unusual. Much thanks to Cal's professional media staff for providing a copy of the match DVD soon after the match.

Seconds: Stanford 0 – CALIFORNIA 128 Referee: Tony Levitan

Fresno State 5 – MARITIME ACADEMY 57 Referee: Jeff Jury

Seconds: Fresno State 0 – MARITIME ACADEMY 50 Ref: Jury

SAN JOSE STATE 57 – U. of the Pacific 0 Referee: Stephen Moore
Powerful performance by San Jose. Many UOP players new to the game with lots of mistakes due to ignorance. Good clean game nonetheless that was played in good spirit with no incidents, but no real contest.

NEVADA 22 – UC Santa Cruz 20 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Left the Woodland dreary fog Saturday morning a little before 9 and by 10, I'd hit Auburn and the bright sunshine appeared. It was a perfect day in Reno, sunny, mild and just right for rugby.

UC Santa Cruz had driven up the night before and their bus was already at UNR's artificial pitch when I arrived a little before noon.

The match was a closely fought affair, with UNR leading 12 to 10 at half and winning 22 to 20.

UC Santa Cruz scored last, with no time left, but missed the kick to tie and thereby avoiding a second week in a row problem for me.

I am glad that the latest Hail, Pelicus discussed the tackle law, as it took a couple of yellow cards for the teams to realize that the tackle is being refereed differently than in the past.

San Francisco State – Sierra JC CANCELED

U. of San Francisco 0 –SANTA ROSA JC 74 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Santa Rosa JC looks like it is going to be one of the teams at or near the head of the Division II pack this year, as they simply overpowered USF on Saturday under foggy/drizzly skies at Negoesco Field [game start was delayed slightly by advance permission from the coaches to allow the ref to watch his freshman son’s team (Cal B side) overwhelm Stanford down at the farm.] The game was actually closer than the score, with the bulk of Santa Rosa’s scoring coming from line breaks and fancy jukes down field. A well-played game by both sides, with very few penalties.

UC DAVIS women 30 – California 10 Referee: Scott Wood
AR: Donal Walsh
Location: Russell Field, UC Davis
Weather: Forecast for 60+ and partly cloudy. It must be nice to be wrong more than 50% of the time and keep your job...

Both teams have good numbers and played well. UC Davis used its forwards to move the ball around the pitch, occasionally letting the backs play the ball. Cal tried the opposite but they had fewer opportunities. All things considered, the score doesn't reflect the fact that Cal was in the match for the full 80 minutes.

CHICO STATE women 54 – Sac State 12
Referee Dave Ellis’ car wouldn’t start, and he lives a long way from Chico. Thus is invoked Law 6, as discussed above.

Not sure who ended up refereeing the match.

Nevada women 5 – SF BATS 27 Referee: Blake Crawley
TJs: Siletti, Flores
On a really nice rugby day, the USF/Bats women ran in five tries against the UNR women. The match was closer than the score indicates as the UNR women squandered several real opportunities and allowed a couple of gift scores. After three high tackle penalties, the UNR side was warned that any more would result in yellow cards. Two second half yellow cards were awarded, though the tackles were the result of poor form and ill-discipline rather than malicious. Having to play short most of the final quarter made any comeback too difficult for the UNR women.

Round Robin in SF

Bay Area Baracus seconds – San Francisco State
No report received.

BAY AREA BARACUS 35 – Samoa 21 Referee: Jen Tetler
What was supposed to be a pre-season round-robin turned into two full games on Saturday in the spitting rain in San Francisco. After the Baracus 2nd side played San Francisco State, the Baracus 1st side took on Samoa, a newer team in San Francisco. The first 20 minutes was a lot of back and forth with some hard hits and good running from both sides. Baracus scored first, but Samoa answered back quickly with a try of their own. Baracus had control of the ball most of the first half, but gave away a lot of possession with knock-ons or forward passes. Samoa got two more tries in before the half, and converted all of them. Baracus took a penalty kick for points, an unconverted try, and a converted try at the last minute of the half to make the halftime score 22-21. The second half had a lot of kicking but didn't have much scoring until the end of the game when Samoa was clearly getting tired and Baracus was able to get a penalty kick and two tries before the game was called. Overall, there were several mistakes but a lot of promising play from both teams.

SAN FRANCISCO STATE 20 – Baracus II 17 Referee: John Pohlman
AR: Jen Tetler. TJ: Baracus dudes

Baracus was supposed to be hosting a round robin with South Valley and United Samoa. But South Valley could not make the game.

Fortunately SFS was practicing at the field and agreed to play the Baracus II in a game. Both teams were fielding some new players. But the game flowed well with SFS looking to be the better-organized team.

Early play was back and forth with a lot of scrums. SFS got a well-earned try 13 minutes in, finished by their winger.

Baracus followed with a try 5 minutes later.

Half time score 5-5.

SFSU pretty much dominated possession throughout the second half and were rewarded with a penalty kick early in the half.

Baracus had some experienced players sub in and scored two more try s in the second half to take a 17-13 lead.

SFSU fought hard and scored a late try to go up 20-17.

With 7 minutes remaining SFS controlled possession and the clock for a well-earned win.

SAN JOSE STATE women 22 – Fresno State 20 Referee: Chris Fisher



Report by Eric Rauscher:
Ended up refing five "games" (30 min). Doing under 12 and under 10 games is a trip. It is a bit of reffing, a lot of coaching and a bit of crowd control with the teams on the field. Had an interesting case in an under 10 game. Did my front row talk and noticed that the hooker was wearing "safety glasses".

They were soft frames but still had hard lenses. I said he had to take them off to play. After the game back at the ref tent, the father was pleading his sons case. It turned out that the lenses corrected for double vision, not blurry vision. It broke my heart.

In another U10 game I had a little kid (3'2" max) that was in my face about almost every call all game. I love ya kid, but get outta my face. He was however a very good player. He would take the ball out of the back of the scrum and box kick it to clear space, then chase it down. They had the put-in at the scrum when the hooter went. He looked at me and asked "What's the score?". He wanted to know if they were in the lead so that he could kick it to touch to win the game. Quite impressive. Keep an eye out for this kid. He plays for Granite Bay, soon for the Eagles. I wish I had got his name.

KOT U19 International Varsity Final
LIBERTY 34 - Glendale Raptors 14 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Back to the turf field that I ran on Friday night. Having two ARs on hand certainly helped in this game (thanks R. S. Wood and T. Franzoia).

Glendale had a lot of aggression but did not channel it in a productive fashion. In fact, they directed it into the kind of behavior that earned their team three yellow cards and the disapproval of most spectators. Liberty were not totally innocent in the whole game and got themselves a yellow.

One of the first plays involved a Glendale player streaking toward the try line on a breakaway run when out of leftfield, a defending player came across with a 'chop-block' kind of a tackle. Easy penalty try. Been a while since I last awarded one of those.

When I finally got the thirty angry teenage boys around to my way of thinking, the game developed quite nicely. To the surprise of many pre-match prognosticators, Liberty had the better backs (even though they looked smaller and slower), fed by a salty scrumhalf, providing a good platform on which to go forward.

A good game to finish the weekend, but I was ready for an extended sofa visit by Sunday lunch-time.

Report by Cary Bertolone:

SFGG Gold 50 – Marin 3
A last minute cancellation w/ San Francisco State gave me the opportunity to ref on Treasure Island. This high school matchup was competitive and fun to ref. The final score was lopsided, but it did not seem so one sided while we played. The game was 19-3 at the half, but Golden Gate kept on scoring in the second half for the final 50-3 margin.

Elk Grove High 17 – Marin B side 5
The mist turned into rain and we got pretty wet during this game, helping provide a lot of knock ons. Elk Grove is a new high school team and they have some very good players. They have size and they played hard, making a lot of rookie mistakes because they were raw, but they played tough and took a 17 -5 halftime lead and held on for a win. I did a lot of preventive coaching to keep the whistle from dominating the game

SFGG Silver 37 – Elk Grove 12
I had just reffed two games and was walking off the field when the Golden Gate coach asked if I could ref one more. I said no. He said every other ref is in Sacramento and I was his only hope. I told him it was my birthday and I just turned 50 and I couldn't ref a third game. He said it was no excuse because he was 53 and I was too young to complain, so back out I went. Golden Gate had a 20-0 halftime lead, but Elk Grove made a couple of second half tries to end the day on a positive note. Their first try came off a penalty when they gave the ball to their 300 L.B. prop and he crashed in for a score and the last try, on the last play, was after 4-5 phases of power rucking got the ball over the try line for them. A very good day of Treasure Island rugby and the clubhouse generously bought me two beers after the last game, making the fact that I was an hour and a half late for my birthday dinner less painful.

At the Kick-Off Tournament, a team of three with the average age of a new college graduate: Shawn Allison, age 12, Paul Bretz, not age 12, Liam Bretz, age 12.


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