Tuesday, May 21, 2013



Penelope and Scriptoris are departing for France (Paris and Toulouse) for two weeks. We’ve been meaning to do this since our first honeymoon in 1982, when we first ate mussels in Toulouse and couscous in Paris.

That was a rugby tour, with the Medical College of Georgia Mad Dogs. This is not.

Enjoy the SFGG - Tonga match without us!

This will be in San Francisco.

Heroes among us, as we remember September 11:


Saturday, June 29:
Palo Alto – two pitches all day
SFGG – NorCal qualifier – one pitch, men and women

Saturday, July 6:
At Stanford – NorCal qualifier hosted by Olympic Club

Saturday, July 13:
Palo Alto, second iteration
Sac Lions hosting the final NorCal qualifier

Saturday, July 27:
Palo Alto, final iteration

Saturday, August 10:
Monterey Beach Sevens by the municipal wharf

Let Pete Smith know which events you can help out at.

Two pitches will be in use on Treasure Island this Saturday and Sunday for the Pacific Coast All-Star tournament, featuring select sides from Hawaii, Utah, Nevada, and California. The Treasure Island tournament has 4 divisions: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity, Boys JV, and Middle School.

Please contact Preston Gordon, the Referee-In-Charge, if you are available.

The annual overhaul of the engagement cadence has been announced.

For those who can recall the resistance of the front rows to the very idea that the wuss-referee would be involved in the scrum engagement, in 1997, this may well prompt a reprise.

This new cadence will apply worldwide to all rugby in competitions that begin on or after August 1. The new cadence will be Crouch Bind Set. As before, Set means Engage.

There will no longer be a ‘hit’ to win. The players bind on Bind without coming together. On Set, they have just a few inches to close.

Every scrum will be the kinds of scrums that teams do in practice, when they don’t want to risk injury. That is probably the idea behind changing the count once again.


SFGG in the Elite Cup final against Life this Saturday in Glendale, Colo.

St. Mary’s finished second to Life College. They were looking very good in the first half, on a dry track, but things changed when a deluge began and they lost by two.

Santa Rosa to the national D2 semis, to be played June 1-2 in Virginia Beach.

SFGG and Sierra Foothills both lost out in the first round of the D3 nationals.

Single-school HS: Jesuit wins title. Dixon appears to have played for seventh, but your scribe cannot find their results anywhere – their own website, NCYRA, the usual rugby ‘news’ sources, even search engines, Utah newspapers, etc.

High school boys club: Danville finished third, Marin seventh.

High school girls: Sacramento Amazons finished fifth, Danville seventh.

We’ll be gathering at Scott’s in Walnut Creek on Saturday, June 22, to celebrate the season gone by and for the presentation of the annual Pelican Awards. Drinks at six, dinner at seven. Free for society members, guests for an amount to be announced.

Please, if you will be attending, let Bjorn know whether you and your guest would like meat, fish or vegetarian: bstumer@comcast.net


SAN FRANCISCO GOLDEN GATE 22 – Seattle OPSB 17 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera Assistant Referees: George O'Neil, Phil Akroyd
#4 Official: Eric Rauscher
Official photographer: John Pohlman

The top two teams in the west battled in a very physical, but relatively sloppy game that went down to the wire. OPSB used the wind to lead 17-8 at half and SFGG used the wind in the 2nd half to score 14 unanswered points. Both teams scored 3 tries. SFGG will meet Life in the Elite Cup final in Glendale, CO. Much thanks to George, Phil, Eric, and John for their assistance.

SFGG Women 0 – BERKELEY ALL BLUES 50 Referee: Preston Gordon Boxer Stadium at Balboa Park, 1145 Saturday
Touch judges provided by the clubs (thanks, ladies)

In this exhibition sevens match played in front of a couple hundred Play Rugby USA kids and their parents, the All Blues scored early and often. They had 4 tries in the first half and one conversion (22-0) and added a further 4 in the second half, converting all of them to reach 50-0. The SFGG ladies took advantage of the few attacking chances they had to use the ball well, but the Berkeley defense always got back in time to force a turnover or capitalize on an error. At the coin toss, I mentioned that the 15 of us were there to show non-rugby folks what the game could be like, and both teams definitely rose to the occasion while I mostly stayed out of the way.

After the match was over, while the kids played the championship round of their flag rugby tournament, the All Blues celebrated their win by doing a 30+ minute fitness workout in one in-goal area with lots of cross-pitch sprints. Everyone noticed. When I commented on this to their coach, she said "that's what it takes to win championships" - well done, ladies. This was their first sevens game of the season and I'm sure they'll continue to do well, as will SFGG's side.

The other referees in the kids' tournament were Casey Bollinger and Mark Griffin, on hand for the first PRUSA tourney in San Francisco. It was pretty cool to see these kids, some of whom I coached last year, get to play teams from other schools. Their skills have improved dramatically and these elementary school students are going to get to college with 7+ years of playing experience - watch out, world!

SAN JOSE STATE 43 – Alumni 20 Referee: James Hinkin
A rare Sunday fixture saw the SJSU men's team forget who pays for the program (to borrow from Dr Carter's oft-repeated story about an old Stanford alumni match) and take it to the old boys. Team captain for the alumni was AJ Laymon, due to the fact he was the oldest player on the field at 73.

Yes, 73. And he played. He is my hero.

With several of the alumni feeling the effects of the San Jose Seahawks end of year kangaroo court the previous night (how many charges were you brought up on, Rashad?) the match, predictably, started 30 minutes late while the alumni trickled and staggered in. The youngsters were all ready and warming up early and had the field marked out nearly perfectly (the center line was definitely not in the middle, and one flag was on it while another flag was on the 10 from the "long side"... not sure which was supposed to be the middle so I picked one and stuck with it). These clever collegians also made sure to mark out a try zone as close the the max of 22 meters that I have seen, obviously expecting to use the extra space. This ended up not being a factor with one exception when it went against the youngsters. A kick went through and into the try zone and kept rolling. The alert SJSU winger let it roll and roll until it came to a stop - a good 5 meters before the end of the try zone. "How big is this ^&*%ing try zone?" he was heard to say as he downed the ball for a 22. The first period of 30 minutes showed off the skill and fitness of both teams (Big Tony - "Hinkin, I didn't think we were supposed to play 40 minute halves?" Me - "You didn't. It just felt like it.") while the second period of 25 minutes saw the tired legs of the collegiates start to give way, no doubt shamed by Dave Richards spending the last 10 minutes asking for more time to be added to the match.

Or maybe I got that backwards...

A fun day with tries on both sides led to some solid collegiate/alumni bonding, which continued at Stanley's bar in the ice rink across the street. A successful day, indeed.

Note: Walking from 80+ degree weather after running around for a couple of hours into an ice rink is a bit of a blow to the system. At least there was plenty of beer available to soften the blow.

The IRB Refereeing Sevens course will be taught at SFGG on Saturday, June 8.

Bruce Carter and Joe Zevin are the instructors.

Sign up now on the USA Rugby website: https://www.allplayers.com/g/referees_certification_courses_level_1_officiating_7s_level_1_7s_june_8th_san_francisco_ca/register/select


Aruna and his ARs, Phil and George, prepare for the Elite Cup final, wherein they kept the boys on side, on their feet, and on the move.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, May 08, 2013




Neil MacDonald has earned promotion to C2. The timing is a bit odd, given that he worked the Pacific Coast playoffs last weekend, but it was felt that he was refereeing well enough, at the end of his first season, to do those playoffs despite his grade.


Boulder, CO – The USA Rugby Referee Department is excited to announce the advent of online Touch Judge & Assistant Referee courses! These courses will allow participants from all over the country to create a collaborative learning environment and become USA Rugby certified.

This is the perfect opportunity for parents, coaches, and players to get involved and to learn more about the game from the comfort of their own home!

Using instructor led discussion, video clips and other course materials participants in the Touch Judge courses will learn when the ball is in touch, Touch Judge signals, places of throw in, positioning and Seven-a-side variations. Participants in the Assistant Referee course will learn how to adjudicate foul play, signaling and reporting, positioning, and how to use communication systems. The courses will culminate with a brief quiz to validate the participant’s certification as a USA Rugby Touch Judge or Assistant Referee.

Courses will be offered monthly in order to fit your busy schedule! It will be given over consecutive evenings, the second Tuesday and the next day of every month at 5:00pm PDT. Each session will last approximately two hours and will be taught by an IRB certified Educator. The cost of the online Touch Judge courses will be $25, as will the Assistant Referee course. Please note that space is limited, so sign up early!

Any questions or concerns can be directed to Brittany Jacobs or Tim Cornelius.

Email: Brittany Jacobs - bjacobs@usarugby.org (303) 539-0300 x111


Tim Cornelius - tcornelius@usarugby.org (303) 539-0300 x135


We’ll be gathering at Scott’s in Walnut Creek on Saturday, June 22, to celebrate the season gone by and for the presentation of the annual Pelican Awards. Drinks at six, dinner at seven. Free for society members, guests for an amount to be announced.


SF/Golden Gate will be hosting OPSB this Saturday at 3 PM in the Elite Cup semi-final. This should be a very good match, and as far as we know there isn’t any other rugby going on to compete with it for your attention and attendance.

SFGG in the Elite Cup
St. Mary’s in D1A
Santa Rosa in men’s D2
SFGG and Sierra Foothills in D3

ST. MARY’S 58 – Cal Poly 24 Referee: Tim Luscombe (USA)
ARs: Bruce Carter, Tom Wright
St. Mary’s will play Life College in North Carolina for the title on May 18.

Curtain Raiser:
Seconds: ST. MARY’S 53 – Cal Poly 50 Referee: Bruce Carter
AR: Tom Wright
It was hot this past weekend, mid-eighties in Moraga for our noon kickoff. Looking over the athletes warming up, I said to Tom, “This could easily be a hundred-point game. The offenses should be clicking this time of year, and the defense might not be as keen in a B-side match. Let’s just hope it’s close.”

Shoulda made book.

It was like refereeing eighty minutes of Sevens. Neither team ever had a lead of more than seven points. It was a ton of fun to referee

The Stanford women came in third, losing the semi-final on a last-play penalty to Norwich.

The California men came in second, losing on a last-play drop-goal to BYU. This was a very good game and you can find the entire thing on-line.

No NorCal teams are alive at this point, with both East Palo Alto teams having lost in SoCal and the Sac Lions having lost at home to OMBAC.

Snake River beat Santa Rosa for the D2 title. Both teams advance to the nationals.

SFGG beat Sierra Foothills for the D3 title. Both teams also advance.

D2 Semi-Final: SANTA ROSA 16 – Oregon RSU 13 Referee: Neil MacDonald
ARs: Preston Gordon and Rich Anderson
Referee Coaches: Mike Malone and Mike King
On a scorching day by Treasure Island standards, Santa Rosa met Oregon Rugby Sports Union from Portland for a place in Sunday's D2 Final. Santa Rosa were in their rose jerseys, and ORSU were in kit that appeared to have been inspired by an explosion in a Crayola factory, offering me a bewildering menu from which I eventually selected blue, the colour of most of the side with the number on it. In a match of physical committed rugby (three blood subs in first half alone), pacy backlines, and both teams willing to run straight and spin the ball wide, Santa Rosa's penalty kick and converted try edged ORSU's two penalty kicks at half time. Led by their battering ram captain whose eyes lit up every time he got the ball and had a chance to run over a defender, ORSU rammed in a try and converted it in the second half, but in the end it wasn't enough to overcome Santa Rosa, who eked out the win by 3.

Credit to both teams for a fast and exciting game, and thanks to Preston and Rich for ARing. Always a treat to have colleagues watching your back and covering the touchlines, and very much appreciated. Thanks too to Mike and Mike for taking the time to watch and coach.

D3 3rd-4th playoff: CORVALIS 22 - Budd Bay 5 (Half time 7-5) - Ref: MacDonald
ARs: Frank Merrill and Tony Levitan
Both teams had clearly restrained themselves on their Saturday night in the Bay Area, and despite a rumour of mixing teams and playing a friendly, they came to play rugby. Or at least 30 minute halves of rugby - perhaps there had been some beer imbibed the previous evening after all. A tightly contested first half saw the difference between the teams a single conversion - a great kick from out wide by Corvallis captain and #15. Late in the game, Corvallis racked up three unconverted tries to stretch their lead and put the game beyond Budd Bay's reach, in a scoreline that belied the competitiveness of the game. Thanks to both teams for a fun match played in good spirits, and to Frank and Tony for their services on the touchline - which neither of them expected to be providing until about 15 minutes before kickoff!

Report by Eric Rauscher:
The NCIT this year was held again at the very nice Cherry Island Soccer Complex just north of Sacramento. The fields are all grass surrounded by grassy little raised areas with trees planted along the tops. Give the fans a place to sit in the shade and be able to get a great view of the games.

There were eight pitches used all Saturday and Sunday. The level of play at this event is noticeably superior to that of the KOT, the beginning of the season tourney, but is much smaller. At the last second I was asked to ref one of the first games on Saturday, but since we were handed 3x5 index cards listing the teams, the time and the field which doubled as a score card to be handed in (a great idea by the way for a tourney), I failed to separately note down the info about the game. If I tried to remember it, I would I am sure make a mistake so there we are. I likewise was asked to do a gem on Sunday at the last minute, but this time I transferred the info (Game report below). I spent the rest of the time doing ref coaching.

JV Gold: Danville Oaks 14 – GRANITE BAY 19 Referee: Eric Rauscher
ARs: Ray Schwartz, Andrew Ngyuen, David Williamson and others.
Thanks to all those that stepped in to fill in ARing during the game. We were under-staffed and did our best to cover championship games (of which this was one). Since I found out that I was doing this game about five min before, I did not have time to round up ARs, but people drifted over to fill in as they could.

The game itself was as they say "a cracker". Both teams were skilled and fast and motivated. The play was fierce, but never spilled over into aggressive activity. This was the type of game I wish that both could have won, they both deserved it. Although it was a "JV" game, the skill level that the players displayed was astounding. This only bodes well for American Rugby. I have the feeling that most of the players on both sides have been with the clubs for a number of years in "youth rugby" before playing at the High School level and it shows. They don't spend a lot of time thinking about what they should be doing, they just do it, and do it well. My congratulations to both sides for a game well played and a pleasure to ref.

Report by Jim Crenshaw:
Friday, Saturday and Sunday are rugby days!!
I had the pleasure of doing 4 matches over the weekend.

Friday evening was hot and muggy in Sacramento for the start of the Northern California Invitational Tournament (NCIT)! Jesuit squared off with C.K. McClatchy at 5pm for the first of the 4 matches played Friday evening.

Temperature at kick-off was in the low 90's, no breeze and humid. Fortunately we had plenty of scoring and the associated water breaks after each score to keep everyone hydrated!!

Jesuit scored 2 tries early to take a 12 point lead, with McClatchy breaking through to get within 5 a little over the 25 minute mark. Jesuit scored another try, McClatchy answered with a penalty kick, but Jesuit finished the first half scoring with another try. Score at halftime Jesuit 24 – McClatchy 10.

The second half was a back and forth affair with Jesuit scoring first and then the teams trading scores the rest of the way. Unfortunately for McClatchy their second score was only a penalty kick and their third score was an unconverted try, while Jesuit tallied 3 converted tries. Final score Jesuit 45 – McClatchy 25

Mendocino 20 – SF FOG 25 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Saturday I jumped into the old jalopy around 10 am and headed off over hill and dale around the north side of Clear Lake to Ukiah, to ref Mendocino playing the Fog.

The 2 pm kick-off meant another mid 90's match and both sides thought it prudent to play 4 20 minute periods to make sure we had enough water breaks. This was more a tale of 2 halves, with the Fog scoring 3 tries to 1 for the Mendo gentlemen and lady in the first half, but Mendo coming back in the second half scoring 3 tries.

Unfortunately for them the Fog scored 2 tries in the second half to hold on for the win.

It seems neither team has a kicker, as none of the tries were converted! Final Score Fog 25 – Mendocino 20

Sunday morning it was back the the NCIT for the final day of fun with the U-19 festivities! My first match I reffed pitted Sierra against Peninsula Green against Sierra.

The first half was a back and forth affair, Sierra scoring an unconverted try, then the teams trading penalty kicks, first Pen G and then Sierra, and Sierra finishing the half with another unconverted try making it 13-3.

The second half was all Sierra scoring 4 tries. Final score Sierra 39 – Pen Green 3.

The last match of the day was the boys Varsity Gold match pitting the Sacramento.

Islanders against Granite Bay. The Islander's won the toss and elected to kick off. This resulted in an Islander no-wrap tackle and yellow card, for a less than auspicious beginning to the match!

Cooler heads prevailed and things settled into a fine match. The Islanders scored first but couldn't convert with Granite Bay answering with a converted try.

The teams traded scores, first the Islanders to make it 10-7 then GB (14-10) and then the Islanders (15-14) about half way through the half.

The rest of the half belonged to GB, with an intercepted pass, with the Islanders threatening near the GB goal, turned into an unconverted try for GB. GB then scored a converted try near the end of the half to make it GB 33 – Islander's 15 at halftime.

The second half was a back and forth affair with the teams trading scores throughout the half. GB started the scoring to make it seem like they were going to make it a runaway, but the Islanders weren't about to give up.

Some shoddy tackling by GB and some inspired play by a tenacious Islander team led to to 2 tries in succession by the Islanders making it GB 40 – Islanders 27.

GB fought back with an unconverted try that the Islanders answered with one of their own to make it 45 - 32. Within 2 converted tries the Islanders stepped up the pressure, but some mishandled passes led to a final try by GB. Final score Granite Bay 50 - Islanders 32

Many thanks to Andrew Lin and Kevin Donnelly for running touch and keeping me out of trouble, they did a great job as my AR's!!!

I owe you guys!!!!

Also many thanks to Dave Williamson and Ray Schwartz for keeping track of the substitutions and to Dave for the excellent feedback after the match!! One last thank you goes to Rob Salabar, Mateo Medrano, Jerry Ahlin, and the rest of the many folks who helped put on a very well run tournament.


The IRB Refereeing Sevens course will be taught at SFGG on Saturday, June 8.

Bruce Carter and David Pelton are the instructors.

Sign up now on the USA Rugby website: https://www.allplayers.com/g/referees_certification_courses_level_1_officiating_7s_level_1_7s_june_8th_san_francisco_ca/register/select


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, May 01, 2013




We’ll be gathering at Scott’s in Walnut Creek on Saturday, June 22, to celebrate the season gone by and for the presentation of the annual Pelican Awards. Drinks at six, dinner at seven. Free for society members, guests for an amount to be announced.

Please mark your calendars and get your good togs to the dry cleaners.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 74, US Naval Academy 6, Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
Assistant Referees: John Coppinger, Scott Wood
#4/5 Officials: Bruce Carter, Eric Rauscher

On a sunny day at Witter Rugby Field, Navy took an early 3-0 lead and were competitive for the first 20 minutes. After that, Cal dominated to lead 34-6 at half with 12 tries in total for the match. Both teams missed scoring opportunities. Much thanks to John, Scott, Bruce, and Eric for their assistance despite technical glitches. Match replay: http://video.pac-12.com/rugby-demand-navy-cal

Cal will meet BYU in the Varsity Cup final, but it's a shame an undisputed national champion will not be crowned this year as top teams like St.Mary's, Arkansas State, and Life will contest the separate college D1A championship.

ST. MARY’S 65 – Colorado 25 Referee: Terry Helmer (USA)
ARs: Tom Zanarini, Matt Hetterman
Evaluator: David Williamson
St. Mary’s will be hosting the national semi-final against Cal Poly on Saturday at 2 PM.

Sierra Foothills – SFGG
The teams agreed not to play, since both advance to the Pacific Coast playoffs anyway.

DANVILLE – Marin Referee
Don’t know the score or who reffed it, but Rugbymag.com reported the winner as Danville.

GRANITE BAY 36 – San Francisco/ Golden Gate 14
Same deal. Score from Rugbymag.com

Peninsula Green – Islanders

This game is going to be played, as it ended in a tie. The ref had the score incorrectly and told Pen Green that they were ahead with time up, so they kicked it into touch.

It turns out that Pen Green would have lost on the tie-breaking criteria, so they should have had a chance to win it in regulation.

Your editor has made this argument now for decades: in a ‘real’ sport, the players have the information they need to make decisions: the score and the time. Until rugby gets to this point (scoreboards, and clocks that are synchronized with the referee), we aren’t a real sport in a very basic sense.

HAYWARD 19 – Sierra 19 Referee: John Pohlman
[Editor’s Note: This game also ended in a tie, but does not need to be replayed as the tie-breaker criteria saved the day.]

Well, it's under 19 playoff time in the Bay area. Always impressed with these games. I got the opportunity to referee Hayward hosting Sierra Friday night. I jumped at the chance.

Hayward’s coach Blane Warhurst offered a fast, hard hitting, open rugby. Yeah, sounds like a fun challenge.

Wednesday I asked Dave Williamson the head of under 19 referees about time and roster requirements for the playoffs. He sent me the following requirements.

The matches are 70 minutes, no overtime. The tie-breaker is: tries scored, converted tries scored, cards issued and finally sudden death drop kicks (alternate kinks from the 22 meter line).

The Varsity Playoff Matches have a limit of 23 man rosters and seven (7) limited substitutions (8 for a front row player only), meaning once the player leaves the field (except for blood) they cannot return.

AR's Kyle and Nick. Both my AR's were quite helpful throughput the game. They helped at half time feedback on cleaning up the off side line infringements.

Hayward’s winger broke free 8 minutes in for the first converted try. Sierra's winger answered with a converted try 9 minutes later.

The game continued to be hard hitting and somewhat frenzied. Both sides going with pick and drives only to be met with physical, determined tackling.

I've always felt the last five minutes of the first half is an important time to step up. So did the players. Hayward’s #13 scored a converted try at 30 minutes. Sierra followed with an unconverted try two minutes later.

Half time score Hayward 14 Sierra 12

Sierra kicked off the second half. Won the ball and after numerous phases scored a converted try by their #5. Score Sierra 19 Hayward 14.

At the 8 minute mark Sierra's #3 tripped the Hayward scrum half while restarting a 22 meter. #9 Pierre was captain and went down hard. I had no choice but to give a yellow card to the #3. Sierra's #3 was my man of the match for Sierra. He seemed to make half of the tackles.

My man of the match was Pierre the #9 and captain for Hayward. He was a strong runner and kept the defense honest with his running.

Pierre stole a ball of the scrum at 13 minutes, broke a couple of tackles and scored the final try of the game. Hayward missed the conversion.

Score Hayward 19 Sierra 19.

The rest of the game was simply played on the edge. Both teams attacking.

Hayward won on the third tie breaker.

Please call if you need a referee for this week’s playoffs. That was a heck of a game.

Thanks to my AR's, both teams’ captains and coaches, who were positive and respectful throughout the game and after.

JV: SFGG 30 – Peninsula Green 24 Referee: Preston Gordon
Sheeran Field on Treasure Island, 1615

The game was scheduled for a 1600 kickoff, but we all agreed to delay it by 15 minutes to ensure that all the Peninsula Green players had time to arrive from their school's earlier varsity playoff game. I heard about that controversy from several of the coaches.

This match was an extremely even contest, and aside from one unfortunate incident, very fairly played. The first 10 minutes were back-and-forth stuff with lots of ball movement and few errors. Peninsula Green got the first try at 12', only for SFGG to answer with a try of their own at 15' (5-5). PG scored another one at 18' and managed to convert it in spite of the stiff cross-field breeze (5-12). The scorecard was not needed for the following 11 minutes of good rugby that followed.

By the 28th minute, SFGG had set up camp in their opponents' 22m area, and after winning a 5m lineout Peninsula Green was attempting to clear the ball away from their own goal line but were making tough work of it. They eventually worked the ball most of the way across the field, remaining under pressure while in or just outside their in-goal area, and managed to kick the ball away. That kick was charged down by a SFGG player, and the ball bounced back into Peninsula Green's in-goal, where SFGG #10 knocked it on while trying to ground it for the try. From only a couple of meters away I awarded a 5-meter scrum to Peninsula Green, over the objections of SFGG #10. When his objections went too far, I changed the scrum to a penalty for dissent. All was quiet for a couple of seconds (on the field; the SFGG coaches on the touchline 15m away were still highly agitated at the non-try decision), with the SFGG players having retreated 10 meters, and then there was an outburst from the SFGG #3 that earned him an immediate red card. I won't repeat his words, but suffice it to say that insulting the referee is never a good idea. That player's teammates were very unhappy with him as he departed, but they fired back only a minute later to score the final try of the half at 29', though it was unconverted (10-12 at halftime).

SFGG, now reduced to 14 men, opened the second-half scoring with another try at 38' to take the lead (15-12). Peninsula Green replied at 44' for another lead change (15-17), and things were looking interesting. The contest heated up further with SFGG scoring again at 50' (20-17) followed by the PG reply, converted, at 54' (20-24). At this point I would not have been surprised to see SFGG start to fall off the pace a bit, but they never really slowed down despite their missing prop. As in the end of the first half, they enjoyed a territorial advantage, and scored another try at 62' (25-24). After some good attacking play by PG, they turned the ball over and ended up back in their own 22m area again, where they conceded 3 quick penalties at the breakdown. I stopped for a moment to have a word to their captain about maintaining discipline, and when SFGG took a tap kick from the last of those penalties they scored in the corner at 67' (30-24).

Peninsula Green knew they had a chance at winning the game, and when they recovered the ball not long after the ensuing kickoff they put tremendous pressure on the SFGG defense. After spending nearly 5 minutes camped within 10m of the goal line trying to break through for the win, the game ended in the 72nd minute when SFGG won a counter-ruck on their own line and put the ball into touch.

With 5 lead changes in the second half, I'm sure that the multitude of parents/fans that showed up got their money's worth. It's great to see that the NorCal high school JV teams have players of this caliber, and this was an excellent game to referee. Thanks as well to the 2 touch judges, and to Dr. Brewin for taking a bunch of great pictures (he did a write-up for rugbymag.com too).

SANTA ROSA 33 – Vallejo 22 Referee: Cary Bertolone

Beautiful day, Vallejo showed up late, game started at 1:30 and Santa Rosa had a little bit of a surprise when Vallejo started breaking tackles and making huge, powerful hits. They surprised Rosa some more when they scored 3 of the first 4 tries, utilizing some unbelievable speed on the outside. In Santa Rosa's defense, they were resting their starters for playoffs next week, but on the other hand, as most of us know, Santa Rosa is so deep that their second side guys are not much of a step down from the starters (Santa Rosa is deep). Vallejo was up 15-8 at the half.

In the second half, I witnessed one of the best rugby games of my year. Hard hitting from both teams, hard running, good passing and Santa Rosa scored the last two tries to win 33-22. Great sportsmanship from both teams and great BBQ afterwards!!

[It must be ‘tour to English Queen’s week!]

Tony Levitan went to Virginia:

An Open Letter to My Fellow Pelicans

If Bjorn ever emails or calls to ask you to go to Virginia on an exchange, do not equivocate, do not hesitate, do not even bother to ask when and for what purpose. Just say “yes” and be prepared for a weekend of gracious hospitality, engaging camaraderie, fine libations and culinary delights, all under the watchful eye of the Virginia Rugby Referee Society’s host-with-the-most, Jeff Anderson.

After a bounce in Dallas, I arrived in Norfolk, Virginia Friday evening to be spirited off for some quality Southern Bar-B-Q at Frankie’s. The VRRS provided weekend accommodations at the lovely Founders Inn, a few minutes from my host/chauffer’s home. The Christian Broadcasting Network conference that occupied most of the hotel certainly made for a different vibe from the everyday pulse of the Peninsula, and yet the difference simply added to the exchange adventure.

With a plan to get picked up at 6:55a Saturday in time for my 8am Tidewater Invitational Tournament (yes, it does abbreviate down to TIT; they are rugby guys… what can I say?) opening round match, I scuttled off to bed as early as I could manage —being on PDT— to the howling winds of a nasty rain storm. With the prior night’s rain abated, Jeff pulled up right before 7a to tell me that opening round kick-offs had been shifted back to noon to enable proper set-up of the four pitches. Off to Starbucks for tea and conversation, I got a quick nap in before heading off to the Princess Anne Athletic Complex in Virginia Beach.

After meeting the remaining crew of tournament refs, under the organization prowess of Les Anderton, the tourney did get under way at noon. My first two Saturday matches were relatively uninteresting affairs, but things picked up with match tres, Washington RFC vs. Quantico. The fit and driven military men from Quantico pressed Washington the entire match in my best run of the day. Curious for me was having to accommodate the deaf Washington loosehead by using hand signals as a complement to scrum commands and watching the entire WRFC squad throw both arms in the air to signal a stoppage to their deaf teammate.

Greek food and pitchers of Yuengling with the referee crew spanned a number of pleasant hours Saturday evening at the Orapax Inn. Our diverse crew included an Aussie, an Irishman, an age span that began late 20s and reached into the 60s, too many former scrumhalves, and Jeff’s delightful wife, all of which made for spirited conversation and bonding.

Sunday’s more considerate mid-morning pick-up time allowed for a proper breakfast before heading back to the athletic complex, where the weather had turned a bit blustery; low 50s with strong, chilling winds. An AR stint for a semifinal match allowed me to both warm up and watch finalist and host, Virginia Beach, whom I had not seen at all the day before.

Under the watchful gaze of assessor Jim Thompson —whose ref whistle I played to way-too-many years ago — and the support of helpful ARs, Jeff Anderson and Peader Little, Norfolk walloped a stout but sorely undermanned Virginia Beach squad.

One more awesome culinary outing, this one with the Anderson family at seafood haven Rockafellers in Virginia Beach — shrimp, scallops, crab cakes, calamari, and more — and all that was left was the early morning departure and relatively hitch-free journey back west.

My thanks to our society for its support and to the VRRS for their magnanimity and warm hospitality.

Ray Schwartz and Favor Taueva went to Vancouver Island:
Reporting Ref: Favor Taueva

We arrived at the Sacramento Airport on time. Ray made sure everything was on schedule to make it to the Vancouver Airport. We prepared ourselves concerning changing from California’s nice and warm weather to the rainy, windy and cold season in Victoria, Canada. I was given some good warm clothes from Kat, representing the Pelican Society Referee Club. I was a very happy ref.

Arrived at Vancouver Airport…next thing was to pick up our belongings and look for a ferry bus to Victoria City. It was so beautiful to see Canada for the first time. It looked a lot like the rural area of New Zealand when I went for the 1989-1990 High School World Cup. Ray got us a bus ticket which takes us to a ferry, then Victoria. What a long trip to Victoria, but very beautiful to see.

John de Goede, (Victoria Exchange Officer, former National Panel Ref Rugby Canada) picked us up at the bus station, and took us straight to watch his “Junior” game (Shawnigan at Oak Bay High 2nds). John mentioned he is also the Society allocation officer, and suddenly the game was going to go off uncovered so he helped out. Shawnigan demolished Oak Bay.

Later we pick up John Buxcey, a former James Bay hooker, now a ref, but down with an injury, so he stepped up to manage the refs at the weekend tournament, and so we continued on our way to the Shawnigan Lake School.

I have never heard of Shawnigan before. We arrived there about 7 p.m. and right before my eyes was this more than five star rating school compound. I took so many pictures, but still can’t describe the beautiful landscaping. Joke was the gardener gets paid more than the school’s Headmaster. John and Buxcey connected us to the right people and from there it’s more than words can describe. People are well trained, much respected individuals.

We had a dinner with all the coaches and Shawnigan Lake School tournament personnel. Pelican Ref Society/KOT was well acknowledged by the tournament director. Ray, the man, had a chance to represent both Pelican Ref and the KOT. Ray made sure everyone had the opportunity to have a taste of California wine. Lots of good connections were established at the moment of good food, smiles and California wine.

Friday…it’s fun time. Ray reffed one of the first games and I was at the second round. I enjoyed myself very well. At the half time of my first match, they handed me the ticket for the final match of the tournament! Shawnigan Lake School rugby pitch is so beautiful and well maintained. Friday ended up very successful and plenty of food, water, oranges, etc. to go around. Dinner nearby at the ‘dirt bird,’ The Black Swan, good pub grub. Tournament Director Mark Hall joined us, as well as the sales team from Kukri Sports, as Shawnigan instructor and rugby assistant Chris Brown was our chauffer.

Saturday I had a chance to get coached by Keith Morrison (reffed in one World Cup). Between Ray and Keith, I have gained another bar of understanding concerning referring skills. I’m a better ref as a result of the Shawnigan Lake Tour.

I took an injury [now better] and was unable to ref the finals, but nothing will take away how much I appreciate those who have helped me and made this trip possible. Thank you so much for believing in me and making this trip happen.

Shawnigan Lake tour was well connected and absolutely a successful trip. I’m looking forward for another chance to represent the Pelican Ref Society/KOT.

Thank you again, Favor

Reporting Ref: Ray Schwartz

Very kind words from Favor. I was looking to go to Victoria and here the timing was right. I put my hand up offering to go, and knew Favor was also ready for the challenge. He has reffed only two seasons, but is coming along nicely and wanting to step up to “the big time.” He checked with work and got the days off. I focused on raising my fitness and on pool sales, and was lucky to close several deals all before travelling.

What we didn’t know until we arrived, was that the Shawnigan Lake School was hosting a 3-day “All Canada Independent Schools” tournament. We were being brought in to ref a ton of games all on this spectacular campus, and would be staying on campus, housed is a decent boarding room, but with shower, kitchen and laundry, and that we’d be in the “Hogwarts meets Frank Lloyd Wright” dining commons each morning.

This boarding school has got to be world class, stunning in every way, the boathouse, the rugby facilities, the gymnasium, to say nothing of the classrooms which we thankfully never saw. The architecture, the landscaping… amazing! But it is the rugby people who fill the place who are most special.

The Thursday night Coaches Dinner was in an awesome faculty lounge, and was our first glimpse of all the hard working staff that helped keep the place running in tip-top shape. Mark Hall, the Tournament Director, the moment I saw him, was happy to see me again, and fondly recalled when I had reffed his girls (vs. Mother Lode) two years earlier. The staff supplying the buffet was awesome. All the coaches were great. Buxcey and John de Goede; delightful. A bit later, the School’s Headmaster, Dave Robertson, joined us from another function, and he too remembered meeting me, in Rotorua and again in Wellington, as we both travelled for the World Cup!

The next morning in the dining commons, the buffet was perfect. I was a bit sad my match was so early I couldn’t eat a lot. I also couldn’t help but notice, the staff was busy making bagged lunches. Later that day, and for the next two days, not just the refs, but all the players and coaches from all visiting teams (18 sides in all) were fed through the hard work of this staff, w/ boxed lunched delivered up to the rugby clubhouse.

Shawnigan Lake School is a remote place, but they worked extra hard to make everyone feel at home. Their ‘set up’ was world class, and a direct reflection of Dave Robertson.

I helped ref coach Chris Brown and Ander Munroe, two Shawnigan coaches who also ref some. Seems they are so remote, they hardly ever get ref coached. And the Shawnigan sides are usually so dominant, they’re rarely challenged as refs. I encouraged them to raise their game. Ander was the star flyhalf for Canada in the last RWC. At 31, he’s retired from play, and could now enjoy a very good run as a ref. He is thinking seriously about that possibility.

The fields (four in total) were near perfect, the games were good, still preseason for most teams visiting from Ontario, Ottawa and Quebec, but some very good rugby was on display. Several of Shawnigan’s top ruggers are clearly All Canada players. I reffed (6) 40-minute matches on the weekend, swam in the Lake after my first match each day. The ice immersion therapy helped keep me feeling as fresh as can be by Sunday. It rained a good bit Friday afternoon (a nice change from Sacramento weather!), and so the washer and dryer in our dorm came in quite handy.

As I returned from the Lake midday Saturday, I knew Favor was reffing on the main field. I had served as AR for him earlier in the day, and joined the de-brief aftermatch with assessor/ref coach Keith Morrison. As I approached, I could hear the crowd roar off and on. I came up the hill to see the picturesque clubhouse and then the field with the two sides separate. Play was stopped, and the medics were hovering over a player down… right in front of me... But wait, it was Favor!

His boots and socks were off, and he wasn’t moving. This was disconcerting. But as I came upon him, I could see he was alive. I bent over and slapped him on the cheek. He opened his eyes and laughed. The poor guy had leapt out of the way from a tackle, had caught a boot in his calf, and sustained a deep bruise. He would limp the rest of the way… and into Tuesday… no more rugby for Favor on this trip, which is a real shame as Keith Morrison likened him to “young Aruna,” and they were lining up Mel Jones to drive in to watch him ref the Finals.

Saturday night we enjoyed a gourmet buffet with the Tournament coaches at the Headmaster’s house. Seems Dave Robertson has long-term plans that include a major commercial swimming pool installation, and I know just the guy to build it! Getting to know the other coaches proved delightful. Several had played pro rugby around the world. Many friends in common.

Sunday I got to ref a girl’s consolation match on the main pitch (Shawnigan beat Country Day School), then ran touch for the boy’s consolation (Shanwigan B v Brentwood), before relaxing to watch the Brentwood Girls lose to Bishops in that final, and then John de Goede more than capably handle the Final (Shawnigan crushed SAC, St. Andrews College). That tall man can still get around the field well.

Sounds like he, and others in the (tiny) Victoria Society (only 12 members?!), are excited about the KOT for next year as a Referee Development Vehicle, and they know I will take good care of them. Also, sounds like we will see several sides try and visit from Canada.

The Tourney all done, all smiles and warm glows, de Goede whisked Buxcey, Favor and I back to Victoria, and then on to the airport. The bus/ferry/bus in, the flight out, is the way to go, if you can find the time. Thanks massively to Bjorn and Bruce and the Pelicanrefs for helping Favor and I enjoy a trip of a lifetime! Exhausted when we got home, but all well worth it! --Ray

At Stanford. Four games each day.

Sacramento Lions – OMBAC Ref: Pete Smith
Needs another AR.

1PM D2 Snake River – Diablo Gaels Referee: Tony Maphosa (PNW)
1PM D2 ORSU – Santa Rosa Referee: Neil MacDonald
3PM D3 Corvalis – SFGG Referee: Jonathan Pasque (PNW)
3PM D3 Budd Bay – Sierra Foothills Referee: Jordan Bruno
At Sheeran Field at SFGG.


The IRB Refereeing Sevens course will be taught at SFGG on Saturday, June 8.

Bruce Carter and David Pelton are the instructors.

Sign up now on the USA Rugby website: https://www.allplayers.com/g/referees_certification_courses_level_1_officiating_7s_level_1_7s_june_8th_san_francisco_ca/register/select


The Shawnigan Stag is flanked by Ray Schwartz and Favor Taueva, with recent NorCal visitor Mike Moss to Favor’s left.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris