HAIL PELICUS!

We Won The Lineout But Lost The Ruck

This week’s Hail Pelicus is a bit on the tardy side but in my defense, 3 days in Vegas can often last a week. Looking back on the USA 7s all I can say is what a weekend it was! There was great rugby all around, especially on Sunday. Starting with the USA’s quarterfinal against Argentina and going all the way to the final, what I witnessed was some of the best rugby I have ever seen. Every game seemed to balance on a knife edge and when any team opened up a big lead the opposition came storming back – often to win (see: USA v Argentina and USA v South Africa). Our semifinal loss on Sunday was particularly torturous theater as we jumped out to a deserved early lead (by actually using the wind instead of being baffled by it as we did last year) and when South Africa came back we battled back and forth exchanging tries and the lead until the final seconds with the BlitzBokke throwing in a lineout 5m from their own goal. We had to steal the lineout or the game was over – end of story – and as the ball came in Danny Barrett rose with perfect timing and STOLE THE LINEOUT! HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY! South Africa is not the championship side they are without their own never give up qualities so they hit the ensuing ruck with vigor and pushed us over the ball to resecure it and, with a simple kick, end the game. Wow. Emotions flowed from elation to despair over the course of the game and even more so in those final seconds as we stole a sure victory from South Africa and then they stole it right back. After all, who didn’t believe that we would have scored from that position had we retained the ball?

We won the lineout but lost the ruck – the knife edge of sport that made this tournament so compelling.

It is a truism in rugby that any time you can beat New Zealand you have done a great thing and the USA did just that in the 3rd place game with (yet another) come from behind victory being settled in the final seconds. Anyone who watched that spectacle and wasn’t thrilled, excited and enthused probably is already clinically dead but just doesn’t know it yet. With yet another record crowd (80,691) filling Sam Boyd stadium over the three days of the tournament the USA 7s has firmly established itself as the clear #2 stop on the World Sevens Series, trailing only The Grand Daddy Of Them All, the Rose Bowl. Sorry, I meant The Grand Daddy Of Them All, the Hong Kong 7s. The size of the stadium in Hong Kong combined with the decades of tradition means that the title of Best Attended World Sevens Stop will remain out of reach unless something stupid and unlikely happens, such as an NFL team run by an incompetent and increasingly desperate owner tries to build a stadium in Las Vegas for the 2 year boost it would give his attendance numbers before they plummet.

But that would never happen.

Pelicans Dominant In Vegas

Not only did our own Danny Barrett (Cal) make the Dream Team (again) with his usual bruising yet subtle performance but Folau Niua (EPA) had a monster tournament and can feel slighted not to have also made the Dream Team. With his signature ‘fro flapping in the wind he was easily identifiable on the pitch and essentially ran the team with his ball handling and decision making, mixing in some tries for good measure. The dummy against South Africa was a perfect example as the defense had to respect his passing and didn’t commit in case he found a runner as soon as they broke the defensive line. Once he showed the ball and they bought it he gratefully waltzed through the ensuing gap to score under the posts. All of that was set up by his previous work throughout this and other tournaments and it is a weapon now honed to perfection.

Make no mistake, Madison Hughes is deservedly our captain, but Folau Niua runs the team.

What can I say about Danny Barrett that hasn’t already been said before? Just this: he is more than a bruising runner and defensive enforcer but is a complete rugby player. The ball skills and work rate have always been there and are assumed at this level but what really stands out now is at only 6’ 2” he has become a surprisingly effecting lineout option on offense and, even more surprisingly, a consistent stealer of the opposition’s lineouts. The end of our South African semifinal was just the latest case in point, but he was all over the opposition all weekend. The timing of his jump is perfect and the supporters get him up and in the ball’s path quickly. Once he has his hands on the ball his strength takes over and he just rips the ball to his side. This is yet another reason why Danny is a consistent Dream Teamer.

The USA 7s Women also had a strong showing with a fantastic win over Fiji and a tight loss to eventual champs New Zealand in the semis to finish 4th. Kelly Griffin, Bulou Mataitoga and Joanne Fa’avesi all come from Pelicanland (how many local unions regularly contribute ¼ or more of the national teams?) and especially dominant was the Sacramento Amazon’s Joanne Fa’avesi who seemed to be everywhere on the pitch.

It wasn’t just the players that represented Pelicanland well but our own referee society, The Greatest Referee Society On The Planet, provided Phil Akroyd and Lee Bryant as ARs for the event and they seemed to be chosen for some of the top matches involving Fiji, New Zealand, England and South Africa – the top sides not named “USA” which I assume they are ineligible for. Also representing were Steve Fenaroli as well as John Coppinger, the Hardest Working Man on the Judiciary Committee (not!). Mr Coppinger spend the entire weekend drinking fruity rum drinks with his feet up in the press box knowing that nobody had been red carded all weekend… until one was finally given with 3 seconds left in the final ruining his perfect vacation and requiring him to do some work after all.

And finally, Pelicanland was well represented at the ancillary events as well was yours truly entered the I’Maul In Poker Tournament hosted by Brian “do it for the kiddies” Vizard to benefit the US Rugby Foundation. Using the never back down decision making and keen analytical skills honed as a referee I managed to take 2nd in the tournament, winning a tidy sum of money that was subsequently donated back to the Monte Carlo over the rest of the weekend.

Champions Again At Last!

A hugely successful weekend for American rugby continued as our 15s side claimed their first major international trophy since the 1924 Olympics. It looked like we would need to beat Argentina in Argentina – a tall task indeed – to win the competition because of the point differential advantage that the Pumas had but with a try at full time the USA not only tied Argentina but unexpectedly secured a vital bonus point to edge out the Argies for the title. Yes. the Americas Rugby Championship is finally America’s.

Question Of The Week #1

If the ball travels 10 meters in the air but is blown back by the wind is it a live ball? (Answer: Yes. The ball just has to reach the 10m line, be it in the air or on the ground. After that play on. Law 13.5)

Question Of The Week #2

(Looking up at the light towers swaying in the wind on Sunday) I wonder what the harmonic period of a light tower is?

Question Of The Week #3

(A lady at the charity poker tournament trying to sell raffle tickets to Dan Payne to fundraise for her club) So are you involved in rugby at all?

Dan Payne: No, I’m in sales.

Lady: Oh? What do you sell?

Dan: Memberships.

Between Two Pelicans

Yes, our Pulitzer worthy segment Between Two Pelicans was in high gear this week with yet another high profile interview that will be presented in the next issue of Hail Pelicus because when the questions are that hard hitting everyone needs time to heal. Hail Pelicus also managed a few on the spot interviews with prominent rugby figures as well as “fans in the stands”. Here is a brief excerpt that I swear is true.

Hail Pelicus: We are here with CSUMB and San Jose Seahawk stalwart Matai Leuta after winning 3rd place with the USA in front of the home fans. Matai, you have worked with a few high profile coaches over the years so I have to ask, who is more likely to take his shirt off during a match, Mike Friday or Tory Golino?

Matai Leuta: Tory Golino, definitely.

HP: We asked fans to send in questions and Ryan Scott of Monterey, CA asks “Who is your favorite teammate ever?”

ML: My favorite teammate? That would be Ryan Scott of Monterey.

I tell ya, you can’t get that kind of journalism just anywhere these days.

New Kit

If you weren’t at the last Society Meeting then you missed out on a chance to get your kit, including the kit bags. The (astonishingly stylish) new kit will be distributed if I see you at some point in the next couple of weeks and at the Society meetings. I will do my best to find someone to distribute kit to those who can not make the meetings but feel free to reach out to me at hailpelicus@pelicanrefs.com if you plan to be in the San Jose area.

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

The various competitions all have their own disciplinary chairs and this will make it difficult to centralize the communication and data. To help Scott Wood has developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition. The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.

When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident. He/she may contact you latter for more details.

If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 02/24/2017
Cal Maritime B 10 – SRJC B 27
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

Kickoff was close to 8pm on a cloudless crisp and nearly cold Friday night. Perfect winter rugby conditions. Both Santa Rosa and Cal Maritime were ready for a competitive match. Clearly they knew each other well. At half time it was a try a piece with Santa Rosa having also kicked a conversion and pk for a 10-5 lead. From then Santa Rosa’s backs shone with some lovey tries. Three tries to one in the second half.

Date: 02/25/2017
All Blues 12 – Life West Women 100
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

Well that escalated quickly. On a beautiful, crisp, clear day at the Tom Bates fields Berkeley hosted Life West. The score was fairly close at half time, standing at 7 – 26 in favor of the visitors. Berkeley seemed to be coming on late in the frame, and a score or two early on after the break seemed possible. It was not to be. Life came screaming out of the gates after halftime and ran away with match. Berkeley showed the sportsmanship and positive attitude one would expect from such a storied program right through the end. Many thanks to both sides for a good run.

Date: 02/25/2017
Baracus 12 – Fresno 25
Referee: Gordon, Preston

The fields at the Ward Recreation Center in San Francisco have been totally redone in the recent past, with 2 baseball diamonds and 2 full-size soccer fields laid out, all on artificial turf, where there used to be a lumpy, muddy, mess. This is great for rugby, once everyone is clear about which lines will be used for our sport. We didn’t have any problems with this, but I’d suggest insisting that flags/cones/etc be used before playing rugby on these fields.

On to the game: Fresno traveled with a roster of 20, while Baracus put out a side of 23. Both looked to be evenly matched. Fresno had a large share of possession in the Baracus 22 to begin the game and scored their first converted try after just 4 minutes. Baracus responded with some good counterattacking and got a try of their own at 15′ but were unable to convert it. For about the next 20 minutes, there was no scoring, just a handful of penalties and a fairly high number of scrums and lineouts. Fresno got another unconverted try at 33′, and then padded their lead with a penalty goal at 38′ to go into halftime up 15-5.

Baracus had a stronger second half, with their defense limiting Fresno to another penalty goal at 48′ before we spent the next 30 minutes largely going back and forth in the middle of the field with neither team able to get over the line. At 66′ the Baracus #10 was shown yellow for an unnecessary late tackle, but still nobody scored any points for the next 10 minutes. As the game wrapped up, Fresno scored a converted try at 78′ to seal their win, but Baracus, to their credit, responded with their second (converted) try at 82′ to leave things at 25-12 to the visitors.

In the B side game, which was tens for 20 minutes, Baracus scored 5 tries to 2 if I recall correctly. This was a good warm-down and everyone seemed to have fun. Thanks to all for a nice Saturday.

Date: 02/25/2017
Berkeley 14 – Napa 57
Referee: Bretz, Paul

Napa scored 28 points in the first half and 29 in the second and in the process won their 5th straight match. Berkeley scored their 14 points in the second half. Napa used their speed out wide to control the pace of the game.

Date: 02/25/2017
Cal Poly SLO 7 – St. Mary’s College 94
Referee: Lew, Tim

#1 vs #14. At the slightly soggy SMC stadium, SMC took on Cal Poly. After SMC scored 3 tries in the first 6 minutes I knew which type of game it would be. There was some issues with the scrums stemming from the SMC loosehead and CP tighthead. CP’s only points came from a penalty try on collapsed scrum. Thanks to Scott & Peter helping sort out the scrums.

Date: 02/25/2017
Cal Poly SLO B 7 – St. Mary’s College B 83
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

After being AR for the A game which was well reffed by Tim Lew in which St Mary’s dominated, a similar tone was set in the B side game, which began with a quick try to St Mary’s. The St Marys pack was dominant with some nice rolling maul play, dominant srummaging on occasion winning against the head purely with power and by pushing. St Mary’s backs were on song with some slick passing and solid defense. Cal Poly was impressive in that they were playing hard, all in, until the final whistle.

Date: 02/25/2017
Colusa 82 – San Joaquin 15
Referee: Bryant, Lee

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
Colusa Women 0 – SFGG Women 109
Referee: Godfrey, Mark

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
CSU Monterey Bay WR 27 – Univ San Francisco WR 24
Referee: Freitas, Larry

Drove down Highway 1 to Fort Ord on a blustery and cool Saturday for a match of these D2 women squads, the Otters of Monterey Bay and the Dons of San Francisco. Indicative of the recent weather was the fact that I could see snow on the higher peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains as I headed south. CSUMB hadn’t played a game on their home turf since early November, and their only win of the season so far was way back in early October against USF in The City. USF had brought down exactly 15 players, and CSUMB had their starting 15 plus another 5 on the touchlines, the most they’ve had dressed out for a match, and something to note as two other players from the past two or three seasons were in street clothes.
The game started under sunny skies that would eventually turn grey, and for about the first ten minutes both teams seemed not able to function, making passing and handling errors, meaning numerous scrums that were uncontested. Finally USF scored at 20 minutes from a lineout in CSUMB’s quarter, when Catroina Clohessy, inside center, took a pass from the flyhalf and found a nice gap to run through. The conversion failed. CSUMB’s Jannicke Stien scored a try from some loose play in the USF half of the pitch five minutes later, the ball placed near to the posts for an easy conversion made by herself. Stien had switched to playing inside center, a position better suited for her speed and handling ability than flanker or #8. Another five minutes of play saw Sydney Abel score a try for five more points. Abel was all over the pitch at breakdowns, and instigating counter rucks for turnovers at times, and smuggling ball away from CSUMB’s ball carrier’s, whether in a stand up tackle in a maul or on the ground at the tackle. The half would end with a penalty given against USF for an offside infringement as one back was standing in defense well past the hindmost foot at a ruck, and playing advantage two of their players collided in a tackle attempt, the scrum half getting a head knock that would take her out of the match, leaving them with 14 for the second half. CSUMB choose to kick a goal, as the attempt was some 25 meters out, but Stien’s kick was short of the posts, and USF’s attempt to run out of their own end failed with a knock from which CSUMB did not accrue an advantage, ending the first half of play with a 10-7 lead for the visitors.

CSUMB scored an uncoverted try from loose play within a few minutes of play to open the second half, this time full back Golden Sekai doing the honors. At this point in the match passes were finding hands, and play was more fluid overall, and at 52 minutes USF would score what I would have said was the try of the match, as a ball that was turned over at half way gave some USF’s backs a chance to break away, with Clohessy taking a pass from wing Sapphire Dedrick some twenty meters out to scamper into the in-goal and round her way past the last defender to place the ball right under the posts. The conversion was good and USF had a 17-12 lead. It didn’t last long, as Stien would score another try as the game was near three quarters gone, this time taking a ball from a ruck just a few meters out from USF’s goal line. CSUMB started to use their one player advantage, putting pressure on USF and keeping possession of the ball for longer phases of play. CSUMB would then lose Clohessy with an injury, taking their numbers down to 13. Five minutes before time scrum half Alyson Carpenter would score an unconverted try near the left hand corner. A few minutes later Terree Okabe, one of CSUMB’s veteran players, would score from loose play deep in USF’s quarter, dragging a few USF players with her over the goal line. I checked to make sure the ball had been grounded and not held up off the ground, and awarded the try. CSUMB had scored three tries and added 15 points in 18 minutes of play. With no time left USF would add 5 more points and score another try by Sydney Abel, after some great efforts by the Lady Dons to keep the ball alive and drive downfield against a tiring Lady Otter side. Final score: CSUMB 27, USF 24.

After walking off the pitch and taking a seat at halfway, and cooling off from the match, I noticed how cold it felt, getting into my sweats and bundling up. I’m heading to the UK for a good part of March, and thought to myself that the day’s weather had a UK feel to it. So my next match should be a U-16 game at Bredon Rugby Club in the West Midlands, and then on March 12 a women’s club side match, Paignton the home side versus Exonian Ladies in South Devon.

CSUMB will next be taking a road trip in early April to play in a tournament up in Oregon, though some of their players expressed a desire to play St. Mary’s and make up the cancelled game from a week prior. Having seen them play quite often these last two seasons, I see a lot of improvement on their side, and next season they should have one of their best back line players back from spending a year studying in Spain. USF hasn’t had as good a season as last, as they beat CSUMB twice, and as with Santa Clara, seems to be lacking in players overall with little depth to their roster. I have to say they certainly played with a lot of effort, and they have some players with talent, especially Clohessy and Abel.

Date: 02/25/2017
CSUMB 5 – USF 28
Referee: Hinkin, James

A fun game amongst two disciplined sides. The weather held off nicely and the CSUMB pitch was in excellent condition. The score does not indicate the even tenor of the match (the score was 5-6 at half time), however in the second half USF was more precise and lethal in the attacking third.

Date: 02/25/2017
Google 74 – Central Coast 22
Referee: Pohlman, John

It’s 8:00PM on a Saturday night and I am blowing the whistle to start the Google verses Aptos/Central Coast Rugby game at Google’s artificial turf field in Mt. View. Aptos received the opening kick and hard charging #8 Tui Tuivailia scored a multi phase try at 3 minutes. The score woke up Google, who had close to thirty players, which responded by scoring six first half tries lead by #3 captain Peter Danenberg’s score at 26 minutes. Half time score Google 38 Aptos 5.
Aptos has some talented players but thin on numbers. Aptos lost almost every scrum which simply led to Googles backs getting numerously more opportunities.
Second half Google substituted in some new CIPP’ed players especially a beast at inside center who either scored or assisted in at least three of Googles six second half try s. Aptos game to the end, scored three second half tries led by their speedy backs. Final score Google 74 Aptos 22.
Watch out Division three, if Google keeps this team together we could be looking at a Division 3 national champ.

Date: 02/25/2017
Jesuit 37 – Mother Lode Varsity 12
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

Played on the football field that has less than standard lines, teams were slipping on the turf. This game pitted a highly ranked single school versus a highly ranked club team. Both teams had errors at the breakdown and too many uncontrolled errors.

Date: 02/25/2017
Life West 53 – SFGG Green 24
Referee: Pescetti, David

The rain spared us, but the pitch did not want to fully cooperate. Unfortunately numbers didnt show up for SFGG and they forfeited before we began, but that didnt mean we still didnt play. After being lent a few players by Life we had ourselves a match.

Much to everyone’s surprise SFGG made the best of their borrowed players and opened up the games first score, a try in the corner. But Life turned right around and scored right bac,k. This was the story of the days match. Whenever GG scored Life responded within minutes. Slowly, Life built their lead. And they put up 24 – 12 in the first half and then another 29 – 12 second half. Putting the final score at 53 – 24.

Date: 02/25/2017
Marin 38 – Mendocino 10
Referee: Labozzetta, Chris

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
Redwood 53 – Shasta 15
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

4 games at For Petes Sake in Santa Rosa. High School, womens rugby, my game and a college game after. Shasta showed up with about 12-13 players, but the ones that did were good players. Redwood loaned them a couple of guys and everyone had a great time with big hits, nice passing, good rucking and a few really fast guys. Redwood was up 29-5 at half, then outscored Shasta 4 tries to 2 in the second half. No foul play; good clean rugby from everyone. It was a pleasure to ref. Good food and beer too.

Date: 02/25/2017
Reno 12 – Chico 49
Referee: Ulibarri, Phillip

Chico ran away with this match from the opening whistle.

Date: 02/25/2017
Sacramento Blackhawks 82 – Silicon Valley 21
Referee: Taueva, Favor

Blackhawks shows very good ball skills from the get go. First try was 1.46 minutes from the kick off. Silicon Valley did not just let Sac Blackhawks to put score on the board. Blackhawks got their skill together and scored 50-7 at the half time. Ben Parker clear up his bench with most of his B players and still produce 32 more points. Is was very good, to see Silicon Valley put up a fight all the way 80 minutes game. Thanks to both coaches and team mate for a very clean and fun rugby time. After match was a BOMB !!!

Thanks Ben.

Date: 02/25/2017
Sacramento Capitols 40 – San Jose 12
Referee: Boyer, Rich

This match was played on an all weather pitch. San Jose marched straight down for the opening try on a nice run down the sidelines by the wing. Sacramento quickly righted itself and stayed that way the remainder of the day. Flyhalf Eric poached a SJ ball and quick ball out to a crashing fullback resulted in the first of many tries. Both teams played smart rugby at the breakdown but Sacramento proved too explosive in the backs, which resulted in tries for quick stepping winger Isaac and inside center DJ. Strong forward play rewarded Sacramento with another try. 26-5 at halftime. SJ relied not enough on their tank of an inside center, who always required 3 players to bring to ground. They had good one off runners, notably number 5, but their phases were left wanting for mishandling errors. Sacramento brought on subs early in the second half. The match see sawed back and forth with good phases of play from both teams but they were repelled always near the try lines. Finally a good break by Eric resulted in the first try of the second half for Sacramento. SJ responded with multiple phases allowing their flyhalf to slice through the defense for SJs second try. Luke Sauser from Sacramento scored a great individual try at the death on a bullocking run. Great game, very few penalties.

Date: 02/25/2017
Sacramento State 29 – Santa Clara 53
Referee: Tucker, Chris

Really fun, competitive game played in the early spring sunshine at Sac State. Both teams were playing loose — not much structure, but a whole lot of energy and creativity going on, which kept me on my toes for the full 80 minutes. Sac State pinched an early try before anybody really got started, but Santa Clara got on the board themselves after 8 minutes. Another penalty by Sac State took the score to 10-5 after 10 minutes.

After the restart, I had my 3rd penalty against Sac State in the first 12 minutes, all for not rolling away, all by #7. He promptly left for a ten minute relaxation break (he got lucky sometime after he came back on, when he deliberately killed the play again — I was mulling whether this was now enough and he could leave permanently, but Santa Clara quick-tapped and ran in for a try, so I never got to a decision). Santa Clara pressured, but came up empty from their man advantage, only to score immediately upon his return. The first couple of restarts had been 2 feet over the line, so before the restart I asked the kicker to ensure he wasn’t kicking in front of the line — his reply was that “this isn’t aussie rules, I can do what I want.” I told him to go right ahead…

Ultimately we went into the half with the hosts up 17-10.

The second half remained tight for the first thirty seconds or so, then the game went back to its fast and loose character, with Santa Clara scoring twice in the first 5 minutes and taking the lead. We went back and forth, with two more tries to each side, and with ten minutes to go, Sac State were within 3 points with a man advantage. It was shaping up for a barn-burning finish, but then Sac State ran out of gas, and Santa Clara ran over three tries in the last 10 minutes. The score ultimately 53-29, but full credit to both sides for a fun match to referee.

[Footnote: every other restart by Sac State was from right on the line. He might have a bit of an attitude, but he’s at least smart enough not to challenge the guy with the whistle. Also 13.1.a]

Date: 02/25/2017
Sacramento State Women 15 – St. Mary’s College WR 31
Referee: Hosley, David

Everyone was glad for a sunny day and dry pitch at CSU Sacramento. Nice crowd with a new coach doing a good job for the Hornets, and my first time reffing St. Mary’s College. Even match early, but St. Mary’s picked and drove to a good margin of victory.

Date: 02/25/2017
Santa Rosa Black Roses 24 – Life West Women B 32
Referee: Hammack, Robert

Santa Rosa punched Life West B in the mouth with two early tries. LWB fought back well and scored several of their own. Only a conversion separated the score at half. 3rd quarter was a stalemate as exhaustion took over. LWB’s fitness and experience showed in the final quarter with several tries to pull away. Very competitive match and a joy to referee.

Date: 02/25/2017
SF Fog 17 – South Valley 71
Referee: Anderson, Rich

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
Solano-Yolo 55 – Lamorinda Varsity 27
Referee: Coppinger, John

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
Sonoma St 5 – American River College 32
Referee: Barfels, Ed

American River College’s (AR) forwards dominated the game. The Sonoma State (SSU) scum was outsized and outmatched. AR won all their own scrums and most of SSUs. The score at half was SSU 0 : AR 22 {4 tries, 1 conversion}. AR sent in their forward reserves for most of the second half. AR scored 2 more tries in the second half (no conversions). SSU did manage to punch it in on the last play of the game (1 try, no conversion). Final score SSU 5 : AR 32.

Date: 02/25/2017
St. Mary’s College C 46 – Cal Poly SLO C 7
Referee: Wood, Scott

St. Mary’s was ahead 17-0 before Cal Poly got on the board. HT 22-7. Second half was a continuation of the first. Both teams played a well-disciplined match but the Mustangs left too many holes exposed in the back line for the Gaels to exploit. FT SMC 46-7.

NB: If you are a trainer/medic and the prone player you are tending to says he has a headache, it shouldn’t take the referee to determine he should be replaced and seek further evaluation.

Kudos to both teams for a great match.

Date: 02/25/2017
Stanford B 56 – Fresno State B 5
Referee: Turner, Jessica

This was my first game ever as a referee. I was a little bit tired because I ran touch for the first 2 games because of my nerves. I was trying to calm down and get my mind working in referee mode, since it’s not a mode I’m used to thinking in (especially as a recently “retired” player). I definitely need to work on my positioning, mostly getting closer to the breakdowns quickly and staying even with the ball. Prior to starting my biggest concern was being in the way, so it doesn’t shock me that I was further away than I would’ve liked/needed to be. I felt pretty confident about the laws and even making calls, although several times things got a mess and I wasn’t sure how to call it because there was a lot going on. At the end of the day, I feel like I did well asserting my authority–especially since a couple of the Fresno men were questioning me and harassing me during the match about calls and things I missed, etc. That was the most frustrating actually, being badgered about calls and feeling disrespected. I don’t have the law book memorized to a tee, but I do know most of the laws much better than most, and I feel correct with my judgment. Additionally, I truly did enjoy running around in the mix! I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, and I even cried afterwards trying to process all my feelings about what just happened. However, I do see it as a fun challenge for myself to learn more and do better every time 🙂

The game itself was low skill, especially on the part of Fresno State with a lot of new players. I did try to play a lot of advantage to keep a flow of play, which seemed to be good for a first timer. Even though Stanford played with 14 and we had uncontested scrums due to a lack of front row personnel, and the halves were cut short because of the players being beat up and tired, they had the smarter sense of play and were able to capitalize on their opportunities to score. Stanford received more penalties than Fresno, mostly surrounding slowing the ball down at the breakdown with the first player and then adding a 2nd and 3rd in to contest the ball which then led to a turnover. I saw this as an unfair advantage and blew them up. They were asking me to look at Fresno State sealing, which I did see but Stanford was the first continuous offender by slowing the ball down, which caused Fresno State to have to seal to win the breakdowns fairly (partly due to lack of skill, partly due to Stanford deliberately slowing the ball down). On the next occasion I’m looking forward to having live scrums!

Date: 02/25/2017
Stanford Women A 46 – California Women A 12
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

It was a wonderful day for rugby at Stanford’s Steuber Rugby Field. I was hoping for a high intensity, closely contested match between Cal and Stanford for Stanford’s parents weekend, but I was slightly disappointed. Stanford scored on a breakaway only 2 minutes into the first half and stayed in the driver’s seat for the rest of the match. They forced multiple turnovers with aggressive counter rucking, and had a massive advantage over the Cal scrum. Cal was able to score twice in the first half, keeping it close at 36-12 after the first half, but they were shut out in the second half due to excellent goal line defense by Stanford (Stanford held the ball up on 3 separate occasions). Stanford managed to score twice more in the second half, but it seemed as though they were content to sit back and play defense rather then press their already sizable lead. In the end, it was Stanford pleasing their home crowd 46-12 over the Cal Golden Bears.

Date: 02/25/2017
UC Davis 53 – UC Santa Cruz 19
Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

Great day for rugby in Davis, warming to the mid 50s, but felt warmer in the sun.
Pretty much all UCD in the first half with score at halftime 29 to 7. Second half was closer but UCD out scored Santa Cruz 24 to 12.
Jim

Date: 02/25/2017
UC Davis B – UC Santa Cruz B
Referee: Crenshaw, Jim

Martin had a nice match. Scrums and lineouts were good. Needs to improve penalty timing and signals. Talks a little more than necessary. Overall a nice controlled match .

Date: 02/25/2017
UC Davis B 30 – UC Santa Cruz B 14
Referee: Carmody, Martin

It was a brisk afternoon at UC Davis Russell Field and the pitch was in good shape. Davis started strong and looked set to run up a big score but Santa Cruz hung in there and fought back with two converted tries. One yellow card for repeated high tackles but other that that it was a spirited well contested competition.

Date: 02/25/2017
UC Davis Women A 50 – Chico State Women A 17
Referee: Carney, Mark

No report received

Date: 02/25/2017
UC Davis Women B 67 – Chico State Women B 5
Referee: Heil, Duane

Bright clear day! Pitch was soft but firm…perfect. The B side women asked to have 4 20 min quarters. Davis also asked to have as many subs as they liked at the quarters, and they had many more players so I reminded Chico that this was to their disadvantage since they had fewer players, but the captain agreed to the Davis request.
Davis won the toss and elected to receive.

Davis consistently out ran the Chico backs, but the forwards were pretty well matched. Both sides ran and hit hard.

I had to make a very controversial call at a goal-line ruck. Chico was defending and recovered the ball, however in order to move the ball away from the goal line, she crawled along the ground with the ball. I gave a failure to release penalty which resulted in a score by Davis. The Chico coach came onto the pitch and argued with me on this point..but I was 2 meters from the play and he was 50 meters…soooo

(EDITOR’S NOTE: You got that call correct – a player may not crawl on the ground with the ball. I am more concerned with the coach coming on the field as it sounds like this was during the match.)

There were 2 high tackle penalties called. I gave verbal warnings as well as the penalties.

There were several rucks where the ball exited to the side, so the ball was out. But the women kept up the wrestling match, which ended up in some coming off the feet…however, the ball was out…so what happens after is just noise. Right?
I called lots of other penalties: hands in the ruck, not releasing, obstruction. And second row collapsing the scrum. This was after a warning to Chico that if you can’t handle the pressure, you need to just move backwards

Date: 03/04/2017
California Women A 5 – UC Davis Women A 79
Referee: Anderson, Rich

No report received

Date: 03/04/2017
CSUMB 60 – UOP 27
Referee: Wood, Scott

31 penalties (as reported by CSUMB coach all deserved), two (could have been 5-6) yellow cards (repeated team infringements), one case of handbags that even the individuals involved can’t figure out why, two opportunities for medics to enter the field of play. Both teams walking away satisfied: Priceless. Glad I have access to a TENS unit.

Date: 03/04/2017
Fresno State B 24 – UC Davis B 43
Referee: Wilson, Giles

Fresno started strongly and had some strong sections to their game, overall UC Davis had better game management and better organization overall. At half time the visitors led 21-12 (3 tries to 2), in the second half the visitors added another 4 tries to the home side 2 additional scores for a final of 43-24.

Date: 03/04/2017
SFSU 19 – Chico State 73
Referee: Gordon, Preston

What looked to be a rainy afternoon turned into great weather for rugby, with scattered clouds, sunshine, and a cool breeze at Cal Maritime. The teams didn’t disappoint, playing a fast game and scoring 92 points in aggregate, while also listening well – there were perhaps 9 penalties in the whole match. Chico State brought a full squad, including reserves for the B-side game. SF State had 19 players, although unfortunately I had to limit them to an 18-man roster because they had only 4 suitably trained front row players (having a law book in one’s bag makes these kinds of pre-game explanations of law 3.5 very credible, as well as easy).

After a very short delay to procure an acceptably-inflated ball, we kicked off a couple of minutes after 1300. The sides appeared to be fairly equally matched for the first ~15 minutes. Chico State scored a try in the 8th minute, converting it easily, then repeating that process 3 minutes later. Although Chico State was taking advantage of their scrum dominance, SF State seems to be holding up well in defense and also executing attacks of their own. The third converted try for Chico State at 17′ began to open the gap, however. Down 21-0, for most of the following 12 minutes SF State was able to hold on to the ball while staying in the opponent’s half, though ultimately not getting any points out of it. Chico State got another brace of converted tries within 4 minutes at 29′ and 33′ though, and when the half finished at 35-0 in their favor, I figured the game might turn into a one-sided track meet.

Shortly after Chico State kicked off the second half, SF State caught the defense napping and scored their first converted try at 42′. Given the immediate response of Chico State, with an unconverted try at 43′, I figured that might have been a fluke. Chico State added 3 more converted tries at 48′, 52, and 57′ to pad their comfortable lead. At that point they seemed to take their foot off the gas, and SF State snuck a back around the outside to score at 63′ (converted), and followed that up by returning the restart kick for another (unconverted) try. at 65′ to pull within 42 points at 61-19 down. At 70′ SF State’s 4th front row player, who had replaced their starting loosehead prop, had to leave the pitch due to an injury. Luckily there were only 2 uncontested scrums in the remainder of the match. Chico State finished with the last two tries of the game, one converted at 71′ and one unconverted at 73′, to clear 70 points.

I’d like to thank both teams for an excellent, fast, and clean game of rugby, and also to Tim Mulholland for ARing.

Date: 03/04/2017
St. Mary’s College B 92 – SDSU B 12
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

It was a wonderful day for rugby at St. Mary’s rugby stadium. It had been raining on and off throughout the afternoon, including for a 10 minute section of the A side match. However, the weather stayed clear throughout the B side match despite some nasty looking clouds. St. Mary’s started the scoring 4 minutes into the first half and never looked back. They tallied 35 points in the first half while SDSU could only manage 7. Repeatedly, the speed, agility, and superior skill of the St. Mary’s players got the better of the SDSU players, despite their best efforts. In the second half, it was more of the same. St Mary’s put up 57 while SDSU could only manage 5.

Date: 03/04/2017
Stanford 67 – SJSU 12
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

Stueber field was looking perfect, we kicked off at 1:00 PM on a partly cloudy day. Within 2 minutes, Stanford broke through for a converted try and a 7-0 lead. After that, things evened out and it wasn’t until the 20th minute that Stanford scored another Try. SJSU lost a player for 10 minutes, on that try, but it took 9 more minutes for Stanford to convert again. It was 26 -0 at the half, although San Jose almost scored a try while they camped out right in front of the try zone for 5 minutes, which consisted of a lot of good defense on the part of Stanford. In the second half, Stanford scored on their own kick off with less than one minute into the half. They scored a penalty kick and another try before SJSU mounted some offense of their own. On the 18th minute into the second half, San Jose took advantage of some Stanford mistakes and with nifty passes, scored a try. Four minutes later, they scored another one and San Jose thought they were back in it. Two minutes later, Stanford dotted one down and they scored three more tries after that. Stanford had a player at hooker, his first game at that position, Guy Kasnick, and he scored about 4 tries, kicked the penalty kick and all of the conversions, and was a huge contributor towards the Stanford win. Really good player. Great game, coaches were nice, students were great and the facility was supreme.

Date: 03/05/2017
UNR 32 – UCSC 17
Referee: Pescetti, David

On a rare frigid snowy Sunday, what is this football?, in the high sierras two teams met. A field covered in white snow, lines plowed, snow gently falling, we played a physical and punishing match.

The slugs against a wolf pack. Despite their mascots slow appearance, slugs, their play was anything but. Yet Reno led off the scoring scoring in the corner 7 minutes into the game. It was surprising and because of the snow it took everyone a second to realize he was in the try zone. The slugs did stabilize and counter punch 5 minutes later tying the game up at 5 a piece. The kickers were stymied all day in the snow, windy, and numbing conditions. A scoreless 24 minutes went by until the slugs put another score on the board. but with 0 time remaining in the half, the wolf pack evened the game. At the half it was 10 all.

The second half was the difference maker in this one. But again there was a flurry of action in the opening minutes where Reno scored two tries and a conversion and Santa Cruz a converted try. With under 5 minutes left in the game Reno was up 5, 23 – 17. But Reno was just too much for the Slugs on this snowy winter day. With the slugs exhausted trying to punch in to have a chance, a misplay led to a 90 meter prop try to seal the game for Reno.

Final UNR 32 – UCSC 17

Date: 03/05/2017
UNR B 19 – UCSC B 10
Referee: Reagle, Sam

It snowed.

This Week’s Photo

I read the news today, oh boy! Hard hitting journalism is just a day in the life of Hail Pelicus, even if it means staying an extra day in Las Vegas to attend the after party. Here is Pelicus Pedem Referre is getting the story from Matai Leuta.

 

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