Thursday, May 31, 2012




Saturday, June 2nd – PCRFU all-star Sevens tryouts, on Treasure Island. Players interested in competing in the national all-star Sevens should attend this event.

Jordan Bruno has been assigned to ref the scrimmages that will be part of the selection process.


Santa Rosa is the only NorCal team remaining in competition for the 2012 season, as they travel to Glendale, Colo, to play in the national semi-finals.

They are playing against Rocky Gorge. With the immediate success of both Davenport and Lindenwood in the college ranks (from non-existence to national championships in zero flat), Rosa shouldn’t take lightly a team of which we’ve never heard.


2012 IRB Law Changes
May 2012

This week the IRB issued a number of small changes in Law. Implementation dates vary – some go into effect now and others at the start of the next Fifteens season (September 1 or thereabouts). The exact wording of the new Laws can be found on the IRB website.

These changes are on a Trial Basis. After some practical experience has been accumulated, the IRB will be soliciting Union opinions.

Effective immediately (actually went in last January 1)
Law 1 - The Ground
The two lines that delineate the beginning and end of lineouts – the five meter line and the fifteen meter line – are now to be dashed lines. Formerly they were dotted. (They both should look like the 15-meter line has always looked.)

Effective June 1, 2012
Sevens Variations
Law 3.4 – Number of Players
A team may now nominate up to five replacements/substitutes and may use all of them.

Effective at or around September 1, 2012
These changes are not to be implemented in Sevens this summer. They may be used in pre-season matches preparing for the fall 2012 league seasons.

Law 4.2 – Special additional items of clothing for women
Female players may wear cotton blend long tights with single inside leg seam under their shorts and socks.

This is pretty clear…if you are not female, don’t wear tights. The rationale was not included in the information from the IRB.

Law 4.3 – Studs
In Law 4.4, single-toe replaceable studs are prohibited. The IRB has approved, on a trial basis, one particular configuration of single-toe studs. A diagram is on the IRB website. All other forms are still illegal.

It’s basically a triangle of three cleats at the front of the boot, as so (left boot):

Law 9.B.1 – Taking a Conversion Kick
When a try is scored, the scoring team now has one and a half minutes (90 seconds) FROM THE TIME THE TRY IS SCORED to take the conversion. This is playing time, so if there is an injured player who has to be treated or removed before the kick, time is off.

Law 12.1 – Outcome of a Knock-on or Throw Forward
If the ball is knocked-on or thrown forward into touch, the non-offending team may choose the lineout (where it crossed the touch line) or the scrum (where the knock occurred). If they take a quick throw-in, they have made their choice.

Note that unlike previous scrum-lineout options, this scrum is not necessarily fifteen meters from touch. It is where the knock-on occurred, subject to the scrum being five meters from touch and from a goal-line.

And someone has already asked about knocks that go into touch-in-goal (or across the dead ball line). That situation is covered by Law 12.1 (c) and this change is not applicable in that case.

Law 16.7 – Unsuccessful End to a Ruck
This puts a “use it or lose it” requirement on rucks. Once the ball is clearly won and available to be played, the referee will call “use it” after which the ball must be played within five seconds. If not, it is a turnover – scrum to the other team.

Law 19.2 – Quick Throw-In
This change alters where a quick throw can be taken. Currently a quick throw can be taken anywhere from the place the ball crossed the touch line back to the thrower’s goal line. The change allows a quick throw to be taken anywhere from the place of the lineout back to the thrower’s goal line. The gap that used to exist if the ball was kicked out on the fly from in front of the 22 is now gone. [This will probably have a bigger impact in Sevens than it will in Fifteens, but not this summer.]

Law 20.1 – Scrum Engagement
This is the biggie….a change to the process:
Referee says “crouch” and the teams crouch (or remain crouched if already down).
Referee says “touch” and the four props reach out and touch and then withdraw their arms.

When the referee is satisfied that the front rows appear ready to engage AND ARE STABLE, the referee says “set”. The front rows may then come together when ready. This is not a command. It is permission.

(Every team will engage on ‘set’. If they don’t, the other will and they’ll figure it out real quick. This means we finally have a three-count cadence like with every other activity in the world – on your mark, get set, go; ready, aim, fire; hip, hip, hooray!)

Law 21.4 – Penalty and Free Kick Options and Requirements
This change is only for free kicks and penalty kicks awarded at lineouts. A team that is awarded a kick may choose to have a lineout instead of the kick. And of course they may also choose a scrum in lieu of the kick.

Changes for selected International Competitions. These are not for implementation at the local level.

Law 3.4 – Players Nominated as Substitutes
A Union may nominate up to eight replacements/substitutes.
[The USA is already doing this per the provision in Law 3.14.]

Law 6.A.6 (b) – Referee Consulting with Others
This expands the use of the TMO.

These links which may help you keep up to date:
Law Amendment Trials:
Enforcement of current Law:
Five Key areas of Refereeing:


Saturday, May 26:

On a weekend that traditionally has had no rugby in the past, I was more than happy to awake to the rare spectacle of rain in Pelicanland in late May knowing that it was a Rugby Day.

My drive to Santa Cruz is 45 miles. It passes through strawberry and lettuce fields inland, artichokes and Brussels sprouts closer to the Monterey Bay, and then redwood trees as I enter the third climate zone since leaving my home. All God's floral children looked happy in the rain, which was light and warm: not our normal winter precipitation.

There were a lot of people at the pitch, so many cars in the lot that I wondered if there were other events going on. But no, everyone was there for the rugby with two special events: the dedication of a plaque underneath the new scoreboard, and a new Cup for current and former Slug ruggers to contest.

The white marble plaque commemorates Dan Porter, who founded rugby at UCSC as a freshman in 1967 and left us in 2010. The Cup honors Roland Maitland, who coached UCSC for many years and was a fixture at their games until August of last year.

UC Santa Cruz 7 – “ALUMNAE” 89 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR: Neil MacDonald
I recognized too many of the opponents as being from other teams not to place their name in quotes. But presumably all went to school somewhere, so let us grant that they are alumnae.

This game was a lot of fun. After one player cleared another from the tackle zone with alacrity, she was reminded (not by me) that this was an alumni game. We don't change the Laws for these games and don't expect the players necessarily to change their approach either.

Nobody ran any less, that's for sure.

Refereeing current tackle and tackle-assist law was, as always, a treat and especially so with players who haven't played in the last few years.

Ball-carrier gets a knee to ground. I call to the now-tackle assist on her feet to release. But what do you call a player without a number on a team where no two jerseys match? "White t-shirt, release?"

In any event, I called to her using the whistle and halted the proceedings to explain this whole tackle-assist, player who had the ball first has priority, and oh by the way she's tackled even though it was just one knee that touched the ground, mess.

So of course what happens five minutes later? A Motley player goes to ground with the ball as a result of an almost-tackle, is basically knocked down. A player who just happens to be standing right there grabs for the ball. I penalize again - "But that's the same thing you penalized us for!" Another explanation: no, this wasn't a tackle. There was a player on the ground in open play and an opponent who was on her feet. No tackle, no tackle zone, and the player on the ground should have made a better job of staying on her feet if she wanted to keep the ball.

And of course now half-a-dozen other laws are a-changing.

UC Santa Cruz 12 - ALUMNI 15 Referee: JC van Staden
ARs: Neil MacDonald, Bruce Carter
Ref's support team: Carien & Amika
It just happened to be, I needed an excuse to justified my Memorial Day weekend in Santa Cruz...

Trailing Bruce's 80 something to 7, I pulled on my running shoes, knowing that this might add up some miles today... With the "old boys" kicking off, (some in their late 40's and even early 50's), with no stoppages, a few advantages, and advantage gains, the old boys rumbled over the line to score in the first minute... Their intention was clear, they wanted to show the youngsters how things should be done! And the ref apparently.... a loose fist clocked me with about 15 min on the game clock, and I had to use my best footwork to stay up and not go to ground... I'm sure somebody was telling the story after over a beer, how he got one in on the ref, with no consequences... Wonder where my AR's were..? lol...

[AR note: We were keeping up with play. Not sure where you were! ;-) ]

UCSC had a different idea though, and scored in the fourth minute. At half time the score was still tied-up at 7 all. The youngsters stood up to the old boys in every aspect of the game. A drop-goal put the alumni ahead with 20 min on the clock. Reserves came flying up very frequently, and with one more unconverted try each, ended the game as one of the best "alumni" games I've seen.

FYI - The Ref is o.k.... camping with 20+ South Africans, well, I guess I will never hear the end of the story, getting clocked, without knowing who it was....

REDWOOD 24 – Bay Area Chiefs 21 Referee: Sean Peters
I did the tri-city tourney, something Afa is doing with Vallejo, Redwood, and Bay Area Chiefs.

OLYMPIC CLUB OB 24 – Berkeley RFC OB 12 Referee: Giles Wilson
70 minutes of spirited old boys rugby was played between the O Club OBs and Berkeley OBs in bright sunshine on Treasure Island, followed by a BBQ and social at the field.

O Club had a smaller group with several players from their days in the RSL while the larger group of Berkeley players had a wide expat representation with several northern and southern hemisphere countries represented.

A can be expected from players who haven't handled at pace or tackled in anger for quite some time, quite a lot of handling issues were evident. Berkeley displayed grit and determination, while O Club tried things they used to be able to do well but it took a little while to have the hands and feet do what the mind remembered.

O Club came out 24 to 12 ahead scoring four tries to two with each team successful with half of their conversions.

Lady Razorbacks 12 – AMAZONS 41 Referee: Bill Long
I left Fresno under light sprinkles but the weather was a thin overcast in Palo Alto with a light breeze, a perfect day for rugby. At 10, the start time, the Sac team was just beginning to show so we started about 30 minutes late. The Lady Razorbacks stunned the Amazons with some quickness on the outside in the first half to score 2 tries and convert one, the Amazons could only answer with an unconverted try; 12 to 5 at half Razorbacks. That was it for the Razorbacks the drive, size, and determination of the Amazons, a name they lived up to, won the second half and the day with 6 tries and the conversion of 3 and no answer from the Ladies of Palo Alto. Hard running and initiation of contact by Amazons with the ball took the wind out of the Razorbacks and a toll on some of the players. One bin against the Razorbacks for failure to wrap.

Afterwards there were 2 sevens matches, Jordan I ran touch for Chris and I got to do my first sevens match with Chris and Jordan's help. The 19s match was competitive and very exciting and after wards I had to leave. I felt bad abandoning Jordan for the remainder of the sevens matches I hope he survived. All in all a great rugby event. Thanks for giving me a match.

EPA U19 – Islanders U19 (fifteens) Referee: Chris Labozzetta
No report received.

Razorbacks – Sacramento Lions: a series of Sevens matches
No report received.


These same teams will reprise these games in Sacramento on Saturday, June 9.

10AM Lady Razorbacks – Amazons (fifteens)
11:30AM EPA U19 – Islanders U19 (fifteens)
1PM Razorbacks – Sacramento Lions (several games of Sevens)

Refs are needed for these, as well as for the first iteration of the Youth Sevens in Dixon.

Sunday, May 27:

All-Star games: Bay Area Select sides versus Sac Valley Select sides at Sheeran Field, Treasure Island.

SACRAMENTO VALLEY 29 – Bay Area 27 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
I had the privilege reffing the first match of 4 all-star duels matching the best of the Bay Area versus their Sacramento Valley counterparts.

The Bay Area U14 All-stars started strong with 3 unanswered tries making the first of 3 30 minutes periods 17-0. The Sac Valley team came back to go ahead 22-17; followed by a tie at 22 each; with Sac Valley pulling it out in the last period by making their conversion; while the quickest player on the pitch for that match ran into the try zone & for some reason back out for his Bay Area team.--pretty sure he won't do that again.

Girls’ varsity
Bay Area – SAC VALLEY won this one. Referee: Ray Schwartz

Boys’ JV Referee: Preston Gordon
No report received.

Boys’ varsity Referee: Jordan Bruno
No report received.


The Pacific Coast gained promotion to Tier 1 with a 34-0 shutout of the West Sunday at the National Women's All-Star Championships.

Pac Coast finished the weekend 2-0 and in convincing fashion, having defeated Eastern Development 72-8 on Friday.


It’s never too early to raise your hand for summer weekends. It you’d like to ref any or all of these, let us know:

Saturday, 9: Games in Sacramento, XV and VII
Sunday, 10: Youth Sevens in Dixon

Saturday, 16: Loaves and Fishes Sevens at For Pete’s Sake
Sunday, 17: Youth Sevens in Morgan Hill

Saturday, 23: Sacramento Lions Sevens
Sunday, 24: Youth Sevens in Dixon

Saturday, 30: Palo Alto Sevens
Annual NCRRS awards banquet

Sunday, 1: Youth Sevens in Dublin

Saturday, 7: Jackpot Sevens in Reno
Sunday, 8: Youth Sevens in Dixon

Saturday, 14: Palo Alto Sevens
Mt. Shasta Sevens

Sunday, 15: Youth Sevens, Pleasanton

Saturday, 21: Marin Highlanders high-school Sevens
PCRFU Qualifier Sevens for the nationals, Treasure Island

Saturday, 28: Palo Alto Sevens
Sunday, 29: Youth Sevens championships, location TBA

Saturday-Sunday, 4-5: USA Rugby club sevens championships (men and women) at SFGG

Saturday, 25: Fifteens tournament in Reno


Don’t forget to set aside Saturday evening, June 30th, for the Pelican Refs 2012 annual awards banquet. We’ll be returning to Scott’s in Walnut Creek for the festivities.

RSVP to Bjorn Stumer with your menu choices:


Newest NCRRS member Neil MacDonald joins JC and Amika van Staden and Bruce Carter on the pitch that, but for the fog, overlooks the Monterey Bay.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris