Wednesday, November 09, 2011




Fifty people were in attendance at one point Saturday during our pre-season training meeting and AGM. This high-water mark would have been right about the time Koko Ohanessian served us lunch from the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse kitchen.

Six folks arrived early for the beep test. Phil Akroyd came to encourage, having met the international referee standard three weeks earlier at a referee camp in Albuquerque.

Congratulations to Rich Boyer, George O’Neil, Anthony Nguyen, Bruce Ricard, Lee Salgado and Chris Tucker for meeting the challenge.

The day’s focus was on the tackle and the Coaches Panel. This year we had Jack Clark of Cal, John Compaglia of the Diablo Gaels and Ryan Luis of De La Salle to offer us their views of our game and the referee’s art.

We also had some new referees, the surest sign of a healthy society. Please do all you can to encourage and support those who take up the whistle.

Our next meeting will be Wednesday, December 14, from 7 until 9 PM at SFGG on Treasure Island. Mark your calendars!


Once again on Saturday at our society training meeting we encountered consternation from some that players are often on the ground – such as at tackles/rucks in the recent World Cup – and are not penalized for it.

Please bear in mind: there’s no penalty for going to ground as long as it is not the first intent of the player and as long as access to the ball by either team is not impeded thereby.

Here’s what might happen to lead to a player being off the feet:

Fall on the ball

Be tackled
Be a tackler
Slip and fall
Be cleared from the tackle zone
Clear someone from the tackle zone
Attempt to ruck but meet no opposition
Lose footing while rucking
Be pushed over from behind by an arriving teammate

You may be able to think of more. Have some empathy for those who are playing the game, contesting the ball, as long as their actions don’t illegally decide the contest.


There are a number of games coming up that are not on Saturdays. Please have a look. We’d love nothing more than to assign all of these in the next couple of days and put the schedule to bed for a while.

REDDING – need 3-4 more referees
Mittry Memorial Tournament
The Shasta club will provide hotel rooms Friday and/or Saturday for refs in need. There will be two pitches in play from 9 until 5 or so.

We also have a need for at least half a dozen refs in the Bay Area.

STANFORD Need two refs

STANFORD Four full games beginning at 4 PM. Need four refs.

CHICO Chico Holiday Classic. Four refs so far. Need that many more.
Rooms available for refs. Let us know.

MONTEREY Four games at Cal State – Monterey Bay. Need at least two refs.

ST. MARY’S Need three refs

UC DAVIS Need two refs

FOG ROUND-ROBIN Two refs should be enough

UC DAVIS Round-robin – needs two refs

VALLEJO – Small-college playoff game

STANFORD One game, afternoon or evening

STANFORD One game at 4 PM


Saturday, November 5:
UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, RENO 27 – University of Pacific 10 Ref: Phil Ulibarri
Cold and breezy conditions welcomed the UOP Tigers when they got off their team bus at UNR’s John Salas Field. Thank goodness the snow in the Sierra never descended below 5,000 feet. The UNR pack had difficulty all game long, losing several of their own put-ins and almost all of Pacific’s; however, weak UOP defense - when Reno did get the ball - allowed five tries.

Abbreviated seconds game: UNR 47 – UOP 0

Sunday, November 6:
UC Davis 29 – Sac State 29 Referee: Phil Akroyd
ARs: Donal Walsh & Anthony Nguyen (Oldest and youngest active Pelican refs)
The overnight rain didn’t seem to affect the field and the clouds parted in time to make for a warm, dry Sunday morning on Russell field.

Davis scored in the second minute, running through a non-existent defense and again eight minutes later under similar circumstances. Twelve – nil. Looked like a long morning was in store for Sac.

The game then settled into a structure less pattern. Sac were dominant at the scrums, but had trouble putting together an attack. They had three goal-line stands in the first-half – literally inches from the goal line – but could not score points. Their issues stemmed from forwards making short bursts and getting isolated, then holding on. Davis were comfortable in defense but were consistently and unnecessarily infringing at the tackle. Sac scored points from Davis mistakes and turnovers, leaving it 19-5 at half in favor of Davis.

Given that Davis had their 10 in the bin from too many red-zone penalties, Sac scored two tries with the one-man advantage, getting it back to 19-17. Davis always maintained the lead but there were exchanges of try scoring several times, until it was tied up at 29s with about five minutes to go. Again, Sac had a long goal-line stand but failed to score after crossing a few meters out, after choosing to run a penalty in a kickable position.

Seconds: UC DAVIS 33 - Sac State 27 Referee: JC Van Staden
So, Saturday we talked about getting your head right before a game... Driving to the field, in the rain, to do 2 second side, did not help.... BUT, I arrived in the most perfect weather conditions you can imagine... Watching Phil work hard to buy us all a round next meeting ;) and having 2 teams that tried their best, made my head switch to overdrive....

Sac State came out swinging but Davis turned the tables quickly, and at half time, was leading 21 - 5. At that time it looked like Davis was going to show their first side how it was supposed to be done, but Sac State had another plan. Maybe it was the halftime speech, or the change-up in a couple of players, but the second half was a different story. Davis made more mistakes around the tackle and rucks, and Sac started to fight back... With a minute on the clock the score was 28-27 Davis, after Sac missed 4 conversion kicks.... and played a man down most of the second half. Davis did apply the pressure at the right time though, and ran in a last turn over try to make the score board look better.

California Maritime Academy scrimmage
Referee: Lee Salgado
It went well. We played three 20 minute halves and everyone got some playing time. Open field play was fast and exciting. Scrums took a few resets but started to look really strong. Fun to ref and the team looks to be coming along well.


Stanford 10s Tournament, 10/29/11 by John Pohlman

When I was younger my mother would tell me to come in, I would beg to play longer. She would say you’re going to run those legs right off. Well at Stanford myself and a few of my age-grade referees almost did.

It was the Stanford tens. Sixteen teams, two fields and forty five games...six referees. Fortunately the games were 24 minutes started and stopped with the hooter. Tony Levitan, Sandy Robertson, Aussie Bill Gillies (from Melbourne), Bruce Ricard, Brad Richey, Jen Tetler and Jeff Ferguson joined me. Tony was king for the day and ran everything smoothly.

I think everyone refereed at least 7 games. I did seven and the final between East Palo Alto Razorbacks and San Mateo Warriors. Two women's brackets and two men's brackets. Jen Tetler did the Woman's final (NorCal Triple Threat 31, Santa Clara Women 0) along with playing a few games.

Lots of rugby. A couple of highlights. San Mateo young versus San Mateo Old in a semi final. Not sure who won but a lot of respect shown to the Master Warriors. Refreshing breath of difference in the semi-finals was the Stanford GSB which lost to EPA 24-5 but came back to defeat San Mateo B for 3rd place, 24-22.

SAN MATEO WARRIORS 21 – Razorbacks 12
The Warriors combined players from both sides to play EPA in the finals.

San Mateo scored the first two converted trys only to have EPA come back with two trys and one conversion.

The final ten minutes was played at a furious pace and looked more like a mid-season game. San Mateo scored a final try to put the game out of reach from EPA.

Final San Mateo 21 East Palo Alto 12.

Brad and I joined the St. Mary's crew the next day for the 7's competition.

Hey Mom my legs didn't fall off...yet.

Full results at

Running Refs
At the California Sevens at St. Mary’s on October 30:
Scott Wood, JC Van Staden, John Pohlman, Eugene Baker, Tim Day, Brad Richey, Eric Rauscher, Jim Crenshaw

Not pictured: Chris Draper


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris