Wednesday, July 18, 2012




A handful of years ago we had four sevens tournaments per summer. Now we have four per Saturday. And so, of course, we need refs.

High School Sevens at Corte Madera: two pitches, thirty games
Fog Women Sevens at Treasure Island
For Pete’s Sake Luau Sevens in Santa Rosa
Pacific Coast Qualifier at Sheeran Field

If you’re carrying an injury or simply would rather not referee sevens but can help out, we could use in-goal judges and fourth officials at the qualifier. This one will be brutal: the Pacific Coast only has two slots in the national event, and Serevi will be here with OPSB and should take one of them.

That leaves a lot of good sides to fight for the other.

Report by Bruce Bernstein

Pretty hard to put in words how nice the refs from Alberta treated me (although I was warned) & the beauty of the Canadian Rockies which I went between two tournaments first in Calgary & then Edmonton. From the second I got picked up at the airport by Jay Macdonald to the minute Sandy Nesbit dropped me off.

Did the Calgary Stampede 7's both Friday evening plus all day Saturday with nice ref parties after each day & then ventured to the "tourny party" at Ranchman's celebrating the Stampede festivities. The 2nd weekend I did an U-18 & 16 Boys & Girls Allstar tourny in Edmonton.

In between I spent 5 days going to & from Banff, Lake Louise & Jasper, all high in the Rockies which had unusually hot weather while I was there. But it didn't stop me from hitting 2 hot springs, going mountain biking, hiking & driving to see incredible canyons, waterfalls, lookouts & glaciers.

I highly recommend this incredible exchange to anyone who has not been up there; & to meet some of the Alberta refs when they're here for the KOT Tourny in Sacto in January. Thanks for the experience & exchange!


The props in sevens want to grab each other instead of their hooker, so that the hooker can bind underneath their shoulders (rather than over) and slip out easier, like a number eight.

They can’t do this.

Sure, the hooker can bind under – a hooker could do this in fifteens should the mood strike.

This ruse happens every sevens tournament, every sevens game, and it’ll happen every scrum if you let it. But scrum players are required to bind onto a teammate, and this isn’t binding.

Last week we had a referee challenge the prohibition against props ‘binding’ each other, saying, “Where it is in the law book?”

Glad he asked:

“When a player binds on a team-mate that player must use the whole arm from hand to shoulder to grasp the team-mate’s body at or below the level of the armpit. Placing only a hand on another player is not satisfactory binding.”

So, I’m a tighthead prop. My left shoulder is against my hooker. My left hand is grasping the shirt of my loosehead. To whom am I bound?

Not to the hooker – my hand isn’t grasping him. Not to the prop – my shoulder is not against him.

Answer: I’m not bound to anyone; I’m not bound at all. I’m not participating in the scrum – I was never bound in!

Penalty against me. And penalty against any referee who doesn’t read the Definitions when studying the Laws.


If you would like to be part of an attempt to make the Guinness Book of World Records, mark your calendar for Reno beginning Friday, September 14 at 6 PM. To succeed, the effort will have to last until about 7 PM on Saturday, the 15th.

This will be for the longest rugby match ever played. It has to be played using the normal number of players (maximum of 23 per side), but the Guinness regulations do not speak to the officiating – so we can rotate refs.

(There is a glitch in the regs that perhaps we shouldn’t point out, but this is the way referees think: the requirements specify that the number of players has to conform to the sport’s normal maximum AND minimum.

(Well, the minimum is five. They could play five-on-five in four shifts and get plenty of rest. But we’re guessing the kind of rugger who wants to go for this sort of record doesn’t want to take advantage of loop-holes and rest.)

Lots of chances here for refs to set records as well: highest penalty count, most score cards required, most advantages-gained, etc.

This could be a chance to fly the Pelican flag high. Think about it, and let us know if you’d like to be a part.

July 14
Report by Ray Schwartz

Mt. Shasta 7s - Dunsmuir
Refs: Sean Peters, Ray Schwartz, Kevin Brown, Bo Kaihau

Nice green and spongy pitch (barely 50 meters wide), surrounded by trees and beyond them mountains. Just over the hill, the Dunsmuir Botanic Gardens (site of the after party), the Sacramento River and sweet flyfishing.

6 teams came out to compete: Shasta. Mendocino, the Highwayman, State of Jefferson, Oregon Institute of Technology and Rogue River (I had never even heard of hese last 3 clubs!). Bo and I traveled up from Sacramento, knowing the weather would be sweet and Bo would have lots of learning opportunities. He reffed (4) 7s matches, then scored a try in the Old Boys match that concluded the play. Some good players and fine spirits on display.

July 14

The flock responded commendably to the call to arms last Saturday: we had four refs in Dunsmuir, four at SFGG, and twelve at Palo Alto.

A six-team Pacific Coast qualifier was played to select three teams for the nationals, which will be hosted August 4-5 by SFGG. These games were played on field one while the high school bracket was played out on field two, with the sixteen-team men’s tournament beginning just after noon.

Seattle Breakers upset the All Blues in the final to take their top seed, with Seattle Mudhens securing the third entry by defeating the Sacramento Amazons. We were able to provide teams of five for these key games.

In the men’s competition, there is a fair amount of parity at the top. At the first iteration, in June, EPA Bulldogs came top. But this time they were in a pool with and lost to both rivals EPA Razorbacks and the West Coast Elite, who played each other to a tie.

The Elite seem to be Bay Area residents who go to college in Oregon. (This is a conclusion that was jumped to, not the result of any sort of investigative endeavor. And no, the fact-checker was not involved.)

The weather was perfect. The rugby was fast and friendly. John Tyler wasn’t there and things ran smoothly. (They also run smoothly when he’s there.) The refs enjoyed it all.

July 14

No report received, but reports that SFGG took the final over the Bay Area Vipers.

July 7
Report by Eric Rauscher

Job Corps field, a little chilly with the wind. Field was an interesting mixture of swampy sections with mosquito larvae swimming around and baked hard savanna. Refs that showed up to do games Eric Rauscher 2. Mike King 2, Sam Davis 3, and Stephen Valerio 3. The teams; SF Fog, San Jose/Reno, West Bay Angels, All Blues A, All Blues B. Games in order as follows. Unknown scores because I left before those games were played.
SF Fog 5 / San Jose Reno 14
West Bay 0 / All Blues A 41
San Jose 5 / All Blues B 17
All Blues A 19 / SF Fog 0
West Bay 5 / All Blues B 26
All Blues A 43 / San Jose 0
SF Fog 34 / West Bay 5
All Blues B ? / All Blues A ?
San Jose 22 / West Bay 5
All Blues B ? / SF Fog ?
No body walked away with a goose egg over-all, and the All Blues both A and B were pretty dominant. The West Bay Angels were pretty unstoppable 20 meters from goal, they just weren't there very often. Mike King and I both did two games and left to help out over at SFGG, leaving the final three games in the capable hands of Steve and Sam.

July 7

Tom Zanarini, Preston Gordon, Matt Hetterman, Bruce Carter, Gene Baker with guest appearances by Mike King, Eric Rauscher, and Stephen Valerio

July 7
Robla Park, Sacramento
Report by Ray Schwartz

Refs: Chris Tucker, Bo Kaihau, Anthony Nguyen, Bruce Ricard, Ray Schwartz

Hot and getting hotter all day, but a gentle breeze kept the temp below 100. Sac Lions won their tourney, over San Mateo. EPA Bulldogs and Razorbacks were also strong reaching the semis. UC Davis, River City, Sac Lions IIs, and two strong high school sides rounded out the field. Very good rugby, played in good spirits, all day long, but for an odd moment here and there.

Anthony, Bruce and I reffed most of the games, and each had a player run into us deliberately, or so these isolated incidents seemed. I'm a big guy, and merely chuckled mine off, but Anthony got wacked on the shin and had to sit out a bit, while Bruce had to award a red card in the final to a San Mateo player.

I reffed a semi between the Bulldogs and the Lions that came down to a tie, 21-21. The best ref on the pitch, Sione Tanoa, playing for the Lions, scored a minute into sudden death to advance.

Sunday, July 8

Report by Eric Rauscher
Sunday at Dixon. Not enough refs. I set a personal best doing 9 1/2 games. Not to boast, just to be glad I can do it. Chris Dempster (now at Cal Poly SLO) and I were assigned to the two pitches at the nearby Middle School and proceeded to do back to back games with the occasional relief from a coach or from Ron Salabar. Chris came out to relieve me half way through a third game in a row. After that, we went back over to the main sight and did a couple more. All in all I am pretty impressed with the level of play of most of the high school students. This can only bode well for the future of rugby in America.

A few more refs next time would be nice.

[Editor’s Note: Next time is Sunday, July 29, for the NCYRA Championships.]

Report by David Williamson
On a sizzling summer Sunday, Dixon hosted nearly 80 youth and high school 7s matches.

The 5 Pelicans--Anthony Nguyen, Eric Rauscher, Ray Schwartz, Neil MacDonald, and Mark Godfrey--were stretched to the breaking point to cover matches taking place on six fields. Fortunately, approximately 10 coaches and players (both adults and students) were persuaded to pick up the whistle--even if they didn't have one. Three refs used mine.

An even larger tournament is planned for Sunday, July 29. Pelicans are encouraged to attend. Good food plus cold water is provided, plus $25 for refereeing 2 or more matches.


Saturday, July 28:
Palo Alto Sevens
Tight-Five Sevens at SFGG

Sunday, July 29:
Youth Sevens championships, Dixon

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

Just Added:
Saturday, August 18:
Chico Sevens

Saturday, August 25:
Fifteens tournament in Reno


Sean Peters, Ray Schwartz, Kevin Brown and Bo Kaihau in front of Mt. Shasta at the Dunsmuir Sevens.


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