Author Archives: James Hinkin

Phoenix Ex Cineribus

HAIL PELICUS!

Phoenix Ex Cineribus

The world has been reborn, or at least it has here in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere the world is dying while in the wishy-washy equatorial regions everybody is too busy enjoying themselves to worry about practically unnoticeable fluctuations in the amount of daylight they get, but enough of that. As our title (“Phoenix rising from the ashes”) indicates, the seasons have turned and the days are getting longer which means that Rugby Season is starting up. (As an aside, it is a common misconception that summer days get longer. In fact, every day of summer (and fall) is shorter than the previous and every day of winter (and spring) are longer than the previous. Drop that tidbit at the office water cooler and wow your coworkers.) Every non-tropical culture has myths and celebrations around the start of the year and usually involves some sort of blood sacrifice to make the sun come back up. Why do you think Santa wears red? It isn’t because of some 19th century poem, or 20th century Coca-Cola advertisements, or even the 4th century images of the Bishop of Myra, but traces back to the Germanic Yuletide animal sacrifices and the importance of spilling blood to bring the sun back to life.

Good times, but people tend to get upset these days when you slaughter a boar and smear blood on the walls and each other so what better way to celebrate the rebirth of the world and honor our shared history than to start up the rugby season? Women and Men will strive towards glory and excellence, blood will be spilt, and the participants will – in another fine ancient Yuletide tradition – “keep the holiday while the ale lasted”*.

* King Haakon I of Norway, who would have made a fine front row player.

Shiny New Laws And Directives

As we depart from the Year of the Unscrupulous Rat and kick off the Year of the Insulted Goat the landscape of our game has changed, in some cases quite literally. Most are by now aware of the new laws approved for trial by World Rugby, including the ridiculous One Man Ruck and that scrumhalves are now allowed to cheat at scrum put-ins, but I still foresee quite a bit of difficulty with the USA Rugby Sideline Discipline Protocols and Procedures. (For a refresher, you can find them here.) It has been my – admittedly limited – experience that teams are not taking these too seriously, not getting them correct or just plain ignoring them. At the NCRRS AGM we discussed these at length and tasked each member of the referee society to work with the teams they see to enforce these protocols. If you didn’t have a technical zone marked out then use cones or bags to set one up; if you don’t have pennies for the water carriers turn the jersey inside out; warn coaches who wander beyond their Technical Zone; that sort of thing. Get clubs used to the protocols during the preseason so that they won’t have an issue during the league season.

This preseason I saw senior referees start matches with none of these protocols in place. I had coaches wander up and down the sideline and on the field and when asked to get back in their Technical Zone, with a smile and a wink indicated that these new rules didn’t really apply to THEM, after all. We have known each other for years! This only applies to the problem clubs and troublemakers!

Much as the Society strives to fairly and consistently enforce the Laws of the Game in the same manner across all levels and all members, we need to fairly and consistently enforce the USA Rugby Protocols. For example, for years I have been lamenting the tendency of some referees to allow men’s players to wear tights and when I (and others) require the players to remove them I invariably get “but the last ref let me wear them!”. Don’t care, it is illegal equipment. The same applies to hard knee braces and other non-approved gear.

I see the same conversation happening when I refuse to start a match until a Technical Zone is set up, or I make the coaches and subs stay in their technical zone or enforce the limits on water carriers, etc. “The last referee let me do that!” is the last thing I want to hear but will probably be the first, so please, everyone, let’s get together and make sure we are all on the same page.

January Society Meeting

It is time for the flock to regather for our monthly meetings and the first of the year will be held Wednesday, January 9 . We will be using this facility for all of our development meetings and training sessions for the 2017/18 season. The address is:

East Bay Sports – Livermore
6474 Patterson Pass Rd
Livermore, CA 94550
925.455.8300

A fitness test will be administered at 6:00 and the general meeting will follow at 7:00. The agenda for this month:
1) Safety overview “Do no Harm” – John Pohlman
2) Keeping the head and neck safe and out of contact – Paul Bretz
3) Fitness and conditioning. Nutrition management – Tim Lew
4) Kit Presentation – James Hinkin

Kit Presentation?

Yes, the kit has arrived and will be handed out at the meeting on Wednesday, so if you want to start the year looking sharp and fresh you will need to be at the meeting to get your 2018 jersey.

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

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. 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: 10/21/2017
West Coast 7’s
Referee: Andrew Stockton

So far, this was the best weekend of rugby I have participated in. It was my first time being able to referee D1 A side teams, and I felt as though I learned an immense amount. The competition was strong, entertaining, and fast paced. There were clearly teams that were head and shoulders above the rest, especially Cal, UVU, and CWU, but for the most part, all of the games were very closely contested and allowed for some great individual and team efforts to be showed. I hope to be able to come back to this tournament next year to see how the competition level, as well as my own refereeing level, has improved.

Date: 11/04/2017
Shasta Highlanders 7 – Shasta Highlanders 0
Referee: Bruce Bernstein

AKM Memorial Tourney & Scholarship
Did 2nd match of the day b/w Oregon Institute of Tech v. host team Shasta which barely beat the college kids 7-0 & 3rd match where OIT was back trying hard against Sac State Alumni who was too strong & prevailed 40-0.
Sam Reagle handled best (& 1st) match of the day b/w Sac State barely losing to Chico mens team.

Date: 11/04/2017
BA Baracus 36 – BA Baracus B 24
Referee: Robert Hammack

Spirited match between BA Baracus and “Old” Boys (30+). Well-contested match until last quarter of the game, when superior fitness and speed overcame wisdom and trickery.

Date: 11/11/2017
Chico Holiday Classic
Referee: Sam Reagle

Great rugby day in Chico! Too bad Jeff Richmond and I were the only refs that showed up for it. Thankfully 2 Chico coaches, Mitch and Beau, took some games. There were 6 mens teams and 4 womens teams. With 18 games on 2 pitches, it was a busy day. The Black Hawks said they brought their “B” side. If so, their “A” side must be a delight to watch. Humboldt State women have a center who can run around and over defenders.

Date: 11/11/2017
Pacific 12 – Loyola Marymount University Rugby Club 48
Referee: Giles Wilson

Loyola got a late start from LA for their day trip and players didn’t start to arrive until 2pm and a full team wasn’t on hand until 2.20 or so, pushing back the kick off to 3pm.

Unsurprisingly, the hosts started better but made mistakes and also struggled to understand the tackle requirements and only led at halftime by 12 – 10.

For the second half, the visitors had got the drive out of their legs and they became much more effective using their experience (UOP is a very young team) and conditioning to run in 6 tries with no reply, 3 conversions further stretched the lead.

Date: 11/11/2017
St Marys College B 119 – Sonoma St 0
Referee: Paul Bretz

St. Mary’s B side scored early and often in this rather one-sided match on a beautiful November day. Game was played in good spirits. St. Marys # 2 committed all of the penalties and was warned (he committed 2 penalties).

EDITOR’S NOTE: After the match Mr Bretz was officially reprimanded and told to manage his penalty count better.

Date: 11/11/2017
UC Davis 68 – Chico State 3
Referee: Phil Akroyd

Chico State gave UCD about 20 minutes of a solid game, but didn’t have the necessary decisiveness in attack. For the first quarter of the game they had all of the possession and territory but couldn’t really do much with it and only came away with three points.

UCD absorbed the pressure with some hard work in defense, then got a couple of breakaway tries to open the floodgates. Ten tries later the game came to a close.

Date: 11/11/2017
San Jose Seahawks B 10 – Cal Poly-SLO B 28
Referee: James Hinkin

The B side match at the end of a long day of rugby was always going to be a race against the sun and we were only able to get 60 minutes of rugby in. Cal Poly fielded a true B side in that there didn’t seem to be any overlap between the players from their A side while San Jose continued to mix and match all players as they did in the first match. As expected for early preseason B side matches, this was an affair dominated by knock ons, unforced errors and learning. (“Tweet! Accidental offside after the knock on. We will have a scrum.” “Accidental offside? Is that even a thing?” “Yes. Yes it is.”)

Not to say that rugby was not played. There was plenty of rugby and a lot of enthusiasm on both sides of the ball, just that the rust and/or inexperience was evident on both sides. Cal Poly may have been a bit rusty due to having finished their 7s season last weekend, but head coach James Tesoriero is a high quality coach who will have his kids ready for the 15s season, I have no doubt. This was my first look at the new Seahawk coach Michael Haynes and his playing style. He has his ideas and patterns set up – now he needs his players to train to them. They will be fine this year, much improved over the shocking results from last year.

Date: 11/18/2017
UC Davis 68 – Sacramento State 7
Referee: Steven Fenaroli

UC Davis have the field line very nicely. The technical zones were all laid out as prescribed by the guidelines. The game started on time and it was a very sunny Saturday afternoon. UC Davis had a lot more players. Sac state looked like they were struggling for 15 a side. UC Davis came out swinging and put up 47 points in the first half. It was obviously an early season match. Davis starters were much more experienced and had better communication. Both teams struggled with offsides at the breakdown. Sac state scored a breakaway try late into the second half. That didn’t deter Davis who put up 21 more points in the second half. Davis reserve front row had issues at the scrum and their setup.

Date: 11/18/2017
Reno Zephyrs 29 – San Jose Seahawks 30
Referee: Sam Reagle

Wow. Though there were clear signs that this was a pre-season game, both teams came to play. Reno kicked off to start the game and scored a converted try at 22 minutes in. SJ responded with the same 10 minutes later. At 36 minutes, Reno scored an unconverted try to end the half up 12-7. The second half was a gem. SJ scored a converted try 8 minutes in to go up 2 and another at 22 minutes to go up by 9. Reno responded with tries at 25 minutes and 28 minutes to lead by 3. SJ turned to their excellent kicker who tied the game with a penalty kick at 32 minutes and took a 3-point lead with another kick just 2 minutes later. But Reno wasn’t done. Reno took a 2 point lead at 38 minutes in with their 5th try of the day. The game ended at the 43 minute mark when SJ made their 3rd penalty kick. The social was at Mixer’s Bar and was well attended.

Date: 11/18/2017
St Marys College Women 39 – Fresno State Women 26
Referee: John Pohlman

Early season friendly with two well matched and growing sides. Both teams had well over 30 players. We played 5 20 minute periods. First period Fresno State Woman 14 St. Mary’s 0. Both teams played well in this period but Fresno controlled ball possession and had too many opportunities. Second period was all St. Mary’s with four tries to zero. Lots of subs and new players got an opportunity to join the rugby community with much enjoyment. Game was played in good spirits.
Both teams have some very talented players and lots of reserves. Good luck and stay healthy.

Date: 11/18/2017
Pacific 0 – Univ San Francisco 20
Referee: Roberto Santiago

It was a clear and crisp day at UoP for this preseason round robin. The visiting USF side played with cohesion and skill that indicated detailed coaching. Both teams mixed in new players at a variety of positions.

Date: 11/18/2017
San Francisco State 29 – Univ San Francisco 24
Referee: Roberto Santiago

This was the most evenly matched game of the day. Both teams had experience in the backlines and solid play up front. I hadn’t seen SFSU in about a year, and the difference in play was remarkable. Last year’s squad played with athleticism and heart, but without cohesion. This year’s team looks like they can play. USF is no slouch either, both teams look well coached and motivated. The game was physical, and played in good spirit. Good luck to both squads this coming season.

Date: 11/18/2017
San Jose State Women 12 – Sacramento State Women 45
Referee: Stephen Moore

SJ State not prepared ahead of KO, the field not properly set up. Late KO as a result. Concerns raised by Sac players for lack of Athletic Trainer. We found a registered nurse (parent) to fill in. Match very scrappy in the first half, SJ struggling to find any rhythm. Sac more organized and effective, most Sac points scored in first half. Late second half there was a quick succession of yellow cards (3) against Sac, dangerous tackle. SJ found their rhythm and scored points in last 10 minutes. Match played in good spirit overall, players and coaches very cooperative, well behaved.

Date: 12/02/2017
Cal Poly Men B 55 – Long Beach St B 25
Referee: John Pohlman

A lovely drive down to the beautiful campus of Cal Poly saw Cal Poly hosting Long Beach State in a friendly preseason match. I ran the second side game.
Cal Poly dominated the first half with 6 trys. Three off of the kick off. Long Beach was not committed to the tackle in the first half, making Cal Poly runners look dominating. The second half saw some subs enter end the level of play drop a bit. Both teams look good and should fair well this year.
Thanks to the Cal Poly and Long Beach players, coaches and fans for a fun, fast and friendly game.

Date: 12/02/2017
UC Santa Cruz B 5 – Pacific 37
Referee: John Lane

Under a December sunny blue sky Pacific won an enjoyable pre-season friendly fixture against a less experienced UCSC B-side on a scoreline of 5-37.
While the scoreline appears one sided it does not reflect the commitment and effort put in by the Slug’s – the big difference between the sides was the experience on the field where UCSC were introducing a significant number of “new” players to college rugby this season – this also involved significant and frequent player changes as rolling subs was agreed before the game with both sides.
The game was played in a committed manner throughout by both sides and new (and experienced) players reacted well to the referee’s “guidance” throughout.

Date: 12/02/2017
UC Santa Cruz 22 – Ventura Outlaws 69
Referee: John Lane

Captained by a SLUG Old Boy, Ventura made the long trip up to Santa Cruz a worthwhile one with a solid victory over UCSC on a scoreline of 22-69 in an open, free flowing game.

The game started at pace with continuous play for nearly 3 minutes with a number of turnovers from both teams . Ventura looked the slightly stronger team at this stage with UCSC looking for width as much as possible when in possession. Ventura took the lead on 6 mins with a converted try. The students then had their best phase of the game with excellent speed and width getting them around the Ventura defense out wide for 2 tries (1 converted) to lead 12-7 on 15 mins. Ventura tightened things up a bit after that and exerted most of the pressure for the remainder of the half leading to 3 tries (26, 30 and 38 mins) with 2 conversions. Half-time 12-31.

Both sides were making use of the pre-season friendly agreement on rolling subs throughout.
Ventura notched up another quick 12 points shortly after the break (2 tries 1 conv) to extend the lead to 12-43. UCSC got on the scoreboard again on 10 mins for 17-43. Tactically Ventura opted to keep less players in the lineout on UCSC throw-ins for the whole second half which allowed them to fill the backline defense out wide nullifying the strength of UCSC backline effectively and delivering turnover possession frequently. Another 2 converted tries stretched the lead to 17-57 after 22 mins.
Some fatigue started to affect play at this stage on both sides and play moved back and forth between the 22’s. UCSC broke through for their final try on 35 minutes for 22-57 but Ventura wrapped up the scoring with a converted try on 37 minutes and a final unconverted try out wide on the left with the last play of the game.

Date: 12/02/2017
UC Santa Cruz Women 12 – Univ Nevada Reno Women 97
Referee: Stephen Moore

Runaway match by the more experienced Reno side. Four yellow cards first half for dangerous tackle and professional foul violations, nothing egregious. Match played in good spirit, players and coaches cooperative. First 10 minutes of the second half saw Reno score only points (12). Coaches informed me that Reno had played five matches this season and SC only two. SC players seemed new to the sport.

Date: 12/02/2017
CSU Monterey Bay Women 19 – Fresno State Women 63
Referee: Larry Freitas

Fresno State visited the Cal State Monterey Bay campus for this late morning match. The kick off was under milky skies and the temperature was in the upper 50’s, with just a touch of seasonal chill in the air. Fresno State received the kick off and fly half Jenny Balestra gathered the pass from her scrum half at the first ruck and rambled deep into the Monterey Bay 22 before she was tackled, dishing off to winger Alexis Gonzales who would score the first try, with Balestra missing the conversion for a quick 5-0 lead at two minutes. Gonzales would score another try five minutes later, and Balestra added another one which she converted for a 17-0 lead at 18 minutes. Maybe it was that half the visitors had long sleeve undershirts on, but they were as hot as the red jerseys they wear, dominating possession, and when they did lose possession counter rucking at the breakdown to get the ball back! To make matters worse Otter Yanicke Stein, outside center, and one of the best players for the home team, left the game with a shoulder injury. Jaclyn Blankenship would score a fourth try for a 22-0 lead before the Otters started to get some ball themselves and get out of their own end with some back line play spearheaded by fly half Katy McGill. Finally the home side would score late in the half when prop Kiari Young picked up a loose ball at the base of a ruck, deep in Fresno’s territory, and as she fended off would be tacklers, ramble to score under the posts, with Hanna Kim making the easy conversion for 7 points. Fresno State would score once more to finish the half with a 27-7 lead. Jenny Balestra was not greedy, feeding her backs countless times instead of taking off with the ball herself. They responded well by penetrating deep into the opposition half and following up to take passes before tackles could be made, and when a team mate was brought down to be on the spot to retain possession. Monterey’s back line did a credible job as a covering defense, but with having to play defense so often, they were getting worn down, and it didn’t help with one of their best open field tacklers on the touchline after the first ten minutes of play.

The second half would produce even more try scoring for Fresno, led by scrum half Raquel Macias, who would dot down twice. Hooker Emi Lacandazon, who is all of 5’2”, scored two tries for Monterey, one in the corner near the flag, in which she dodged some tackles and stretched out to place the ball. She was the bright star for the home side, playing from the heart, hawking the ball when she could get to it, and seemingly always first to the tackle, and making quite a few herself in the process. The match would end 63-19 for Fresno State’s victory. Monterey, who had lost only by one point to UC Santa Cruz a few weeks earlier, tried their best but it just wasn’t enough to stop a well trained, talented, and very fit side. Other try scorers for Fresno were Vanessa Maravilla, Megan Walls, and Nicole Munoz.

Date: 12/09/2017
Sacramento Blackhawks 0 – Life West 60
Referee: David Pescetti

The final game of the round robin between Chico, Blackhawks, and Life West pitted Life and Blackhawks against each other. The schedule favored the Blackhawks, but the rust showed. Life having just played Chico beforehand functioned much better as a unit. They were able to quickly move the ball in hand to outmaneuver the feisty Blackhawks.
Good luck to both in season.

Date: 12/09/2017
Sacramento Blackhawks B 51 – Chico Mighty Oaks 17
Referee: Roberto Santiago

Friendly round robin between three teams. This was the second match, with Sacramento playing back-to-back. The lopsided score doesn’t tell the whole story, as the game was 17-15 in favor of Chico when we came to half time. As is often the case in the pre-season, Chico opted to play a largely different roster in the second half, which contributed to the lopsided final. Overall the game was competitive play to play, even when the score indicated otherwise.

Date: 12/09/2017
San Jose Seahawks Preseason Classic
Referee: John Pohlman

San Jose Seahawks hosted a preseason tournament this past Saturday. I refereed the Aptos Sea-dogs verses the San Jose Seahawks. This was the Seahawks second game in a row. The Sea-dogs led at half over the Seahawks 14 to 12. Open subs led to Seahawks first side forward coming back on the field. With the Seahawks forwards starting to control the match their backs showed their form, scoring five second half toys.
Fun game played in good spirits. Good to see both teams gearing up and looking good.

Date: 12/09/2017
CSU Monterey Bay Women 47 – San Jose State Women 15
Referee: Larry Freitas

I drove down to CSUMB”s campus at the former Fort Ord arriving at 10:30 for an 11 AM KO. Oddly enough, as I got out of the car in the parking lot, it was very chilly, from a south east wind blowing in from the Salinas Valley, though my car’s thermometer read 61F. Not to worry, it would warm up into the 70’s and feel much warmer in about an hour, as this very unseasonable weather continues (the new normal?). San Jose State Spartan Women arrived with 13 players, and as they had checked with the home side the night before, it was agreed to play twenty minute halves of 10 a side rugby. An extra 20 minute practice game would follow of 15s. Cal State was just too much for the new and revived San Jose State squad. Isis Smith, who has been asked to run track for CSUMB, playing full back, did a lot of damage. She was not the player San Jose would want to see with ball in hand. She is very, very fast, and also a courageous tackler, despite her very slim frame at about 5’5”. She can’t be much more than 110 pounds. The Otter Gals scored 40 points in the first half to none for the visitors. In the second stanza San Jose would score three unconverted tries to the home team’s one converted try. Final score was 47-15 in favor the Cal State Monterey Bay. This was their one win in the fall or early part of the schedule, having lost to Nevada Reno in late October, and in mid November to UC Santa Cruz.

There were some injuries to players during that 10s match, including what looked like an ACL for a San Jose player, so instead of playing 20 minutes of 15s, it was decided to play 12 a side. This game didn’t count, but CSUMB did win by a score of 12-7, as two of their side went over to fill out San Jose’s side. Hopefully during the Christmas and New Year break the Spartans will get their injured players healthy. In that regard CSUMB has to get some of their players healthy too, as out of some 20 players only about 13 could play if a game were held next weekend. Leg injuries, ankle injuries, and some few concussions have plagued their side this fall.

Date: 12/16/2017
SFGG D2 27 – Sacramento Blackhawks 32
Referee: Roberto Santiago

This was a competitive match from start to finish. Both clubs displayed skill and cohesion, though there were an uncharacteristic number of knock ons throughout the contest. Sacramento came out fast at the opening whistle, scoring their first try just 90 seconds into the match. The Blackhawks put over another at 14:40 before Golden Gate countered with one of their own at 24:00. Sacramento added two more (none converted) before half time to take a commanding lead into the break.The second half saw the home team’s numbers come into play. Having more fresh legs on hand allowed SF to put up four tries in the second half, thanks in large part to their forward pack. The comeback bid fell short though, as Sacramento was able to score two tries to hold on for the win.

Date: 12/30/2017
St Marys College 85 – Olde Gaels 5
Referee: John Lane

The last pre-season friendly for both sides was a fully committed performance with St Mary’s as expected gaining a comfortable victory on the scoreboard over Diablo Gaels. Peter and Bryant on the sidelines gave me some pre-season team of 3 practice as well – some good inputs throughout.

The first half was highly competitive from a physical perspective with St Mary’s 5 tries coming from an ability to retain possession through multi-phases and exploiting the eventual defensive cracks that appeared. Diablo Gaels did have a strong 5 minutes to end the half and crossed for an unconverted try on 38 mins to leave the half time score 27-5.

At the start of the second half Diablo continued to be competitive for the first 5 minutes but from then until the 80th minute St Marys crossed regularly for tries (10 in all with 4 converted) – regular introduction of fresh legs through the rolling subs agreement and a significantly larger squad contributed to this for St Mary’s. Both sides adapted to the new law variations well and overall a fast open game was contested fairly but physically throughout.

Date: 01/05/2018
UC Davis 33 – Central Washington University 14
Referee: Steven Fenaroli

Friday night lights in Davis made for a match against CWU and UC Davis. Central was on a trip down to California with St Marys the next day. Davis came out strong and on the first scrum pushed over CWU. CWU was a team that made kicking a big part of their game. Davis must have picked up the idea because both teams were kicking a lot on the turf. Central hit the offsides line hard and would consistently not engage in the breakdown unless they had a big opening. They instead spent their time and energy pressuring Davis’ backline and forcing errors. Both teams had issues with straight throws at the lineout. The wet weather made for handling errors. Ultimately CWU couldn’t keep pace with UCD and UCD took the lead early in the game and never gave it back.

This Week’s Photo

The referee crew for the 2017 San Jose Seahawks Preseason Classic… all former Seahawks wearing 4 generations of Seahawk jerseys. How many clubs can accomplish this? L-R: Pelicus Iudex Pennipes, Pelicus Pilula Biberarius, Pelicus Pedem Referre, Pelicus Fistulator.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Falling For Sevens

HAIL PELICUS!

Falling For Sevens

Back in the day when I was a young lad chasing the oval ball the fall meant usually one thing: a break. The 15s season started in January and ran through May (because my team was usually in the playoffs) and after that you would take a couple of weeks off before 7s training started. 7s lasted through the summer with Nationals in mid August and the Tri Tip 7s rounding things off just after Labor Day. After that? Rest, relax and recover. Start some light training on your own in October while steadily ramping up the intensity and preseason training would officially start in November, lasting through December so by January we were ready to start 15s again.

Not so much, these days. The West Coast 7s has just completed as well as the NSCRO 7s. More and more collegiate 7s events are turning up as the colleges take to the pure game. As a referee society, we now need to realize that there is no more off season – rugby is a year round affair. I gotta tell ya, it is kinda awesome.

International 7s Rugby in San Jose

Speaking of 7s in the fall, the Silicon Valley 7s is coming up on November 4th and 5th at San Jose’s Avaya Stadium. If you haven’t purchased tickets yet you can do so at http://www.sevensrugby.com/rugbyclubs/northern-california-rugby-referee-society/. Each purchase made via this link will send a little money back to the Society, up to $7/ticket. The money collected will go to a full sized portrait of a shirtless Society President Paul Bretz that will hang in his office.

More on the Silicon Valley 7s below.

Pelican’s Generally Annual Flock Up

It is time for the flock to gather at the NCRRS AGM to be held this Saturday, October 28th at the East Bay Sports indoor training facility. We will be using this facility for all of our development meetings and training sessions for the 2017/18 season. The address is:

East Bay Sports – Livermore
6474 Patterson Pass Rd
STE A
Livermore, CA 94550

925.455.8300

http://eastbaysports.net

Please be sure to attend if you are planning to be a member of the Society this upcoming season. We will be discussing several important topics as well as electing a new Board of Directors, which will most likely look exactly like the old board of directors (Ave! Bossa nova, similis bossa seneca!*) but we still need to vote.

Remember that if you do vote and don’t like the direction of the Society you can always blame it on the bossa nova, but if you don’t vote then you aren’t even invited to dance.

A full agenda and details can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1W5D66bYnZNf-FyIthbyrZRKE4ffDAbJB1qcnXXcUUu4/edit

Please let us know you are coming so we can get the food. We need an accurate accounting of participants. https://goo.gl/forms/2raGjYJnddNCcQCp1

* Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss

Silicon Valley 7s Preview

The Editorial Board here at Hail Pelicus has worked tirelessly to research each individual team at the Silicon Valley 7s. While there will be many familiar faces there are also a few debutants and even those whom we think we know well will have some surprises in store, so here is a preview of all 12 teams in the tournament.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: We procrastinated until our deadline was a few hours away so are actually just making all of this up.)

 

Pool A:

Samoa: A far cry from the title winning side of 2009-10, Manu Samoa is looking to revive their program under legendary coach Gordon Tietjens, who guided the All Blacks to so many titles. Look for their traditional hard charging style but with more discipline as Sir Gordon puts his stamp on the team.

Fun Fact: If you call Samu Manoa “Manu Samoa” he will punch you.

Ireland: A sevens debutant on the international stage Ireland is looking to build upon the success of their All Black vanquishing 15s side to break into the World Sevens Series and what better place to do it than in the very same country that the historic victory took place in? (So what if it was 2000 miles away – it is still the same country.) Look for Ireland to play to a lot of contact and one-off running as they make the switch from 15s to 7s.

Fun Fact: To speak with a perfect Irish accent just repeat the phrase “whale oil beef hooked” over and over.

Canada: A well-established World Sevens Series team Canada reached a milestone with their first Cup victory over hated rivals the United States at the 2017 Singapore 7s in the final. They will be using this tournament to keep their core sharp while also blooding a couple of young hopefuls.

Fun Fact: Canadians must avert their eyes when speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to avoid being lost in the deep, limpid pools of his enchanting blue eyes.

England: Rugby was born in England and they haven’t forgotten it. Even though 7s was born in Scotland, the English, in true historical fashion, decided it was theirs as well. The English finished runners up for the 4th time on the World Sevens Series last year and are keen to make a breakthrough to the title this year. They will be fast and fun to watch.

Fun Fact: As part of the RFU’s outreach program for the last several years the England 7s team has farmed out their jersey designs to The Foundation for Recovering Color Blind Methamphetamine Addicts.

 

Pool B:

Fiji: The Lords of Sevens, any time a Fiji team enters a tournament they are considered one of the favorites. The Olympic Champions had a bit of a letdown (for them) after the excitement of Rio as they fell to 3rd in the standings. The most fun team to watch (unless you are playing against them) look for their trademark no-look, over the shoulder, one-handed offloads that are inspiring countless imitators who are ruining amateur rugby.

Fun Fact: More of a titillating fact, Fiji is the only country in the world whose name contains 3 consecutive tittles – those dots over the ‘i’ and the ‘j’.

Australia: One of the Southern Hemisphere powerhouses, Australia is always a tough ask to beat and a joy to watch. An off year saw them slip to 6th in the World Series Standings (behind the Yanks!) and they will be looking to rebound starting immediately.

Fun Fact: Australia has three a’s in its name yet all three are pronounced differently.

Japan: The Brave Blossoms shocked the rugby world with their World Cup win over South Africa back in 2015 and their 7s team repeated that upset with a shock defeat of the All Blacks at the Rio Olympics, but these are rare highs in a valley of lows. They have remained in the bottom half of the World Sevens Series standings with an occasional upset win but never any consistency. Look for them to take this tournament very seriously to work on their game.

Fun Fact: The reason a lineout throw must travel 5 meters before touching the ground is down to Japan, who while playing an international against a much taller team, decided that rather than throwing the ball up high and jumping for it (a losing proposition) they would roll the ball into the lineout and scrap on the ground for it. It was a hugely successful technique but displeased the masters of world rugby who changed the law.

China: Another team that is looking to get into the World Sevens Series China will take a tournament such as this very seriously. This is their chance to play against the established nations so watch them let it all hang out.

Fun Fact: 98% of the materials used to construct Avaya stadium came from China.

 

Pool C:

Tonga: With a large Tongan population in the Bay Area look for the Tongan fans to be loud and proud when their team takes the field. They will look to replicate the success of their island neighbors Samoa and leverage this event into a full World Sevens Series invite. Always fun and fast, the power and pace of Tongan rugby will be on full display.

Fun Fact: Tonga is the only true kingdom in this tournament and that includes England, which is part of the United Kingdom, a constitutional monarchy.

USA: The home team has high expectations coming into this event after ending the last season with a highest ever finish of 5th place, ahead of more traditional rugby nations like Australia, Scotland, France, Wales and Argentina. Blessed with some of the best pure athletes on tour very few teams can match America’s speed and strength – especially when Perry Baker and local product Danny Barrett take the field. Other Hometown Heroes we hope to see are Folau Niua from East Palo Alto and Matai Leuta of CSU Monterey Bay and the San Jose Seahawks. Coach Mike Friday has the team poised to challenge for the title this year but they will need to beat teams like Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand consistently to do so.

Fun Fact: The Silicon Valley 7s Tournament Director was born within 10 miles of where Avaya Stadium sits today.

Chile: After years of looking up to Argentina and Uruguay in South American rugby, Los Cóndores look to be finding their stride in 7s. Another squad on the outside looking in for the World Sevens Series, a good showing at the Silicon Valley 7s is imperative.

Fun Fact: Chileans are keen students of geography and, as an homage to the contours of their nation, like to attack in long, narrow channels.

New Zealand: The reigning champions for the World Sevens Series can never be taken lightly no matter who shows up. The Kiwis rebounded nicely after a disappointing Olympics where they were nearly eliminated in the pool rounds to reassert themselves on the Series and it seems that whenever a player is injured, replaced or retires there is a younger, better version ready to step up and take his place. The All Blacks are must watch 7s.

Fun Fact: The logo of the Royal New Zealand Air Force is the kiwi, a flightless bird, which tells you everything you need to know about the New Zealand sense of humor.

 

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/viewfor

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. 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

 

This Week’s Photo

The referee crew for the 2017 West Coast 7s event featured some outstanding referee performances this past weekend. Of notable mention was Andrew Stockton, who at a young 19 years of age, officiated the third/4th place final.

http://pelicanrefs.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017-West-Coast-7s.jpg

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Sizzling Summertime

HAIL PELICUS!

Sizzling Summertime

The tail end of summer is always the warmest time of year here in Pelicanland.   It is generally the only time of year it is comfortable in San Francisco while the rest of us bake in our Indian Summer heat.   This year was not only no exception but was a bit much as records broke all over during an end of August heat wave.   Temperatures of 106 F were recorded in San Francisco and 110+ F were common across the rest of our nesting sites.

Whew!   That’s hot.

The traditional End Of Summer has always been the Tri Tip 7s in San Luis Obispo (more on that below).   This year, however, was slightly different.   You can blame Obama, or climate change, or the rise of American fascism or any number of other things, but the hard truth is that the Tri Tip 7s did not signal the end of summer this year.   That came on July 23, 2017, a day that will live in infamy, for on this date the San Francisco Giants fell more than 30 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yup, that’s it.   End of summer.   Pull out the sweaters, unpack the Halloween decorations and pack the kids off to school.

Yes, it is sad and unexpected, but the facts are the facts.   How could summer possibly continue in the face of such a tragic event?   Short answer: it can’t.

International 7s Rugby in San Jose

Do you know the way to San Jose?  The international 7s community does so you had better get your Waze app set up to find the best route to Avaya Stadium on November 4th and 5th where 12 top international sides will compete in the First Annual Silicon Valley 7s.    The USA will be joined on the field by Canada, Japan, Fili, Tonga, New Zealand, Ireland, Samoa, England, China, Australia and Chile.    The Editorial Board for Hail Pelicus lobbied long and hard to bring this event here and the deal was finally struck when we were sitting across the negotiating table from the stuffed suits at United World Sports and, in unison, raised our right eyebrows.   There was no response to that devastating maneuver and the deal was ours.

Tickets are on sale now and you can purchase them through the Northern California Rugby Referee Society link.  Each purchase will send a little money back to the Society, up to $7/ticket.    The money collected will go to a full sized portrait of a shirtless Society President Paul Bretz that will hang in his office.

The link to purchase tickets is http://www.sevensrugby.com/rugbyclubs/northern-california-rugby-referee-society/.

Thank You Sir May I Have Another

It is time for the flock to once again declare their affiliation to USA Rugby. The first and most important thing aspiring and returning members of the flock need to do is pay your NCRRS society dues.    Then you should register with USA Rugby as detailed below, and then finally copy your CIPP number and add it to your profile in Whos the ref.

From our esteemed leader, the beshirt’d Pelicus Iudex Pennipes:

A lot of folks are being caught by surprise as they try and renew USA Rugby CIPP, as there was no announcement from USA Rugby regarding the requirement that all referees are now required to take two additional certification courses prior to registering for the 2017/18 season.  

I don’t want to get into the philosophical debate as to whether the changes are appropriate, or well done. Plenty of discussion at the national office as to where the ball was dropped, and who’s fault it was. More than enough yelling going on that every one involved understand that this was poorly done.

To make progress through the current CIPP registration process, and ensure that we have registered referees for September games, below are the two links necessary to take the courses.

Safesport- http://training.teamusa.org/store/details/1

  • Safesport’s focus is on sexual harassment, hazing, and bullying and is a requirement set up by the Olympic committee. You may need to create an account.  I would suggest you use the same email that you use for your CIPP.   There is a step that asks you to link your Safesport account with your USA Rugby account (CIPP).  Completing this step will ensure that USA Rugby gets your certificate. 

Concussion Management of the General Public- http://playerwelfare.worldrugby.org/?documentid=module&module=21

  • Concussion management is a requirement established by World Rugby.  You may need to create an account.  I would suggest you use the same email that you use for your CIPP.   There is a step that asks you to link your World Rugby Passport  with your USA Rugby account (cipp).  Completing this step will ensure that USA Rugby gets your certificate. 

 

In previous seasons coaches have been required to have the certification.  The requirements have been extended to referees.  The courses take roughly 15 minutes to review and answer questions.  Once completed a certificate will be generated and code issued noting your completion.  Keep that certificate as you may need to reference i.

(EDITOR’S NOTE:  Seriously!  Download and save your certificates!  I had to manually send mine in to membership@usarugby.org to get someone to load them manually because there are issues with the automatic transfer.)

Ask A Pelican

Hello all and welcome back to the periodic segment “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus. This week’s question comes from Kenny Forehand of Lafayette, CO, who asks:

“I tried to renew my CIPP membership to USA Rugby and was surprised to find out I needed two extra certifications, I was told that it takes 15 minutes each to do the new certifications – is that true?”

Thank you for your question, Kenny.   It is always nice to get questions from outside our hallowed borders.

As for the time it takes to certify, well that is what we like to call a Trumpism, or an “alternative fact”.   The World Rugby concussion management guidelines do in fact take around 15 minutes but the Safesport sexual harassment training has about 5 modules with 3-5 videos of approximately 4 minutes each so you may be able to do a single module in 15 minutes, but not the whole thing.  The good news is that you can pause the training any time you like and then come back to it, so you can do a section a day on your lunch break if you like.

PRO TIP:  If you are doing the Safesport modules at work (or even at home) and someone asks what you are doing, do not reply “I’m studying how sexual predators and pedophiles control their victims and mask their behaviors and which methods are more successful than others.”    This may lead to unforeseen complications.

Tri Tip Tries in SLO

The Tri Tip 7s was successfully completed on September 9 and I have to admit the tournament gets better every year.   The organization is impeccable, the fields are all grass and in good shape, referees from both the NCRRS and the SCRRS get together to admire the Pelican’s superiority to the Griffin, and they even have been going on long enough to have an Old Boys division.    A festival atmosphere settles on Damon Garcia Park as teams play some seriously social rugby, except those who play socially serious rugby.    Or is it serious rugby socially?  In any case, there are some very good teams on the pitch and the rugby is at a high level even considering that most teams don’t bring their ‘A’ squad.    The players are good enough, trust me, but the underlying theme of having a good time is omnipresent and was probably best exemplified by the coach of the beaten men’s finalists the Sloths (basically Belmont Shore) coaching all day in an American Flag speedo.

The women’s division saw Chico St repeat last year’s success with another Cup victory while the men’s division saw neophytes USC win it all.  Huh?  USC?  This is a program that has been a mid level D2 college side for 30 years but they have either got an exceptional group of young athletes or a new coach dedicated to the program, or possibly both, because they took on all comers and beat some very good sides.   The final typified the way they played all day and it reminded me of the glory days of the Los Gatos 7s program.   They were mostly undersized with one or 2 big guys who took and delivered punishment, but boy were they fast and they tackled like demons.   The Sloths pounded away at them trying to use their size advantage but were cut down until the inevitable turnover and then quick as a flash the Young Trojans were racing the ball back upfield to score.   It was a pleasure to watch.

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

  1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone.  If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
  2. When needed fill it out and click submit.  The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
  3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
  4. 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: 09/02/2017
Berkeley All Blues 26 – Glendale 27
Referee: Bryant, Lee
AR: Hinkin, James
AR: Turner, Jessica

When the game started it was 100F – when the match ended it was 104. By far the hottest games I have officiated in my career. Glendale started off strong with an early lead and went into half with a lopsided score. Their strong pack is used as much for attack as it is a restart and was clearly dominant throughout the match.  Berkeley regrouped and was able to score with organized ball movement and support in the backs.  Great way to kick off WPL season.

(EDITOR’S NOTE:  This year we are starting a Report Of The Week feature to highlight the best and most well-written match reports.   At the end of the season we will tabulate the results and the winner will get the Pelicus Scriptoris Award at our Annual Banquet.  This week’s winner is Lee Bryant.   Congratulations, Lee!   Keep up the great work!)

This Week’s Photo

Pelicus Pedem Referre, Pelicus Iudex Pennipes, Domina Iudex Pennipes, Jordan Bruno and his SO taking the trolley downtown to the bars of San Luis Obispo for 50¢.  (Special Bonus Joke Alert!)  Fifty cents!  I had to get change from the innkeeper because all I had were dollars, and when I asked her if she had any quarters she said “No, we are sold out.”

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Fit To Be Tied

HAIL PELICUS!

Fit To Be Tied

It has been a while since the last Hail Pelicus has been issued so here we are at midsummer for a check in. As many of you know, Hail Pelicus has been going through a massive growth period and is now being read and enjoyed on all 9 continents, which is more difficult than it sounds. The editorial staff took a long needed break and concentrated on some 7s and all of the internationals going on. What a great way to spend the summer. My only problem was with ties. You see, in most referee societies, the NCRRS being no exception, if a referee adjudicates a game that ends in a tie, said referee owes the whole society a beer. There are usually enough during the 15s season that there are a couple of cases of beer at our monthly meetings and the rule does not stop with 7s. The summer can get rough when you factor in the number of games and the fact that you can’t get saved by overtime. If a game ends in regulation tied, you gotta pay up.

The summer started off auspiciously enough for me. At the Marin 7s every pool game I refereed ended in a tie, so naturally I was given the final. As expected, the teams were separated by 7 points with about a minute left when the trailing team scored under the posts for an easy conversion to tie the game. I was starting to think of what assets I could sell off to pay for the inevitable bar bill, plus idly wondering if anyone had ever gone through a whole tournament with nothing but ties, when a blissful, joyful, entirely unexpected THUNK brought me back. That happy noise was the sound of the conversion kick hitting the crossbar and ricocheting back towards the stunned kicker. Final score: 21-19. Whew!

As the summer progressed this strange scourge of drawn matches spread to other refs and other tournaments. There must have been another 8 or 10 ties that I personally witnessed and I didn’t see every tournament this summer. When we have our AGM this year I am making sure that I am either not driving or staying in a hotel nearby. I recommend the same for the rest of the society.

And then, of course, there was the Lions tour. The British and Irish Lions spent some time in the antipodes taking on the World Cup Champion All Blacks. These are always highly anticipated events and, from a rugby standpoint, was a smashing success. The tourists had a few early bumps as they got to know each other and learned how to play together, but once the test rugby started it was fantastic, hard hitting stuff. New Zealand looked the better overall side (unsurprising considering you have a well-oiled machine going against an all-star team that has been together for a few weeks) but the Lions defended and attacked with passion and were not overmatched. The first test was narrowly won by the All Blacks and the second test, with the infamous and fully deserved red card, was narrowly won by the Lions. This set up a winner take all final test and what a game it was. The All Blacks uncharacteristically not taking their chances led to a thriller that came down to the wire and a referee decision. There are many opinions on that offside at a knock on call and mine lands squarely in the middle. Romain Poite made the mistake when he blew his whistle too soon, ending any chance of New Zealand gaining an advantage, and announcing a penalty. After a TMO review and several confusing moments in the end he got the call correct – accidental off side. I am sure I will get numerous angry comments on this containing many correctly spelled words as people try to argue for the penalty or, even more bizarre, for NZ taking out the Lions jumper in the air and I will read them all, difficult as that sounds. While it is true that throughout history, rugby players, especially forwards, have had difficulty with the English language (going all the way back to the ancient Greeks), I have become skilled at deciphering these crayon scrawlings. Usually it boils down to “YOUR A IDIOT!”

The end result is that Romain Poite now has to buy a beer for all of the referees in New Zealand, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. He may be some time getting the order in.

David “Bunny” Williamson: 4 June 1946 – 29 June 2017

The Northern California Rugby Referee Society, the entire Nor Cal rugby community and all of USA Rugby lost a legend recently.

From his wife Helen Marcus:

It is with great sadness that I write you of Dave’s death early Thursday morning at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. He was taken there Wednesday by the paramedics after a fall in his bedroom caused fractures in his spine and hip. We met with a palliative care doctor and discussed his options for treatment. Although Dave’s preference was for “comfort care” rather than any extraordinary intervention, he was open to exploring having a pin put in his hip to stabilize him. It would have been a long recovery process. Instead his heart stopped, likely in response to the stress of the fall. Marcus and Shaylene came immediately. Tyler flies in Sunday. It will be good to have them all together.

Dave’s instructions upon his demise are to hold a rock & roll party at the Faculty Club. I’ll let you know as plans take shape.

Dave graduated CAL in criminology after rowing for 4 years. He then headed to Hastings Law School. However his legal education was interrupted by two years in the Navy stationed in San Diego. In 1971, he restarted at Hastings and signed up for the law school rugby team in his second year. As a tall, graceful, athletic man, he was a perfect second row, despite his moniker of “Bunny”. The team quickly became a focal point for him and his college sweet heart and ultimately wife, Helen, who also played second row for SF Women’s Rugby team. After graduation and passing the bar, he joined PG&E’s law department where he initially handled environmental cases and later construction litigation. A seemingly patient quiet lawyer at work, he came alive on the Hasting Rugby team on and off the field, as a fire-eating player and a boisterous singer at the post match parties. Rugby, he declared, was a lot more fun than rowing!

The team adopted its nickname “The Floating Rhinos” after a 1977 tour to England and Wales, thereafter becoming known as the Hastings Rhinos. The team, matured into the HOBS (Hastings Old Boys) and played together many years both locally and on tour to Canada and Catalina. Dave’s interest in refereeing coincided with the old boys era, when he began to ref more than play. His family interests broadened upon becoming the father of two boys, Marcus and Tyler, who later played rugby. As an active referee, he progressed up the grades until age and the requirement of stronger legs and better athleticism caught up with him, when he turned to referee coaching.

In the late 90’s Dave became one of Northern California’s and USA Rugby’s stronger Performance Reviewers. Most referees aspiring to the National Level had to travel to “Pelican Land” to have Dave complete a review/grade on the referee’s performance. In addition to being a performance reviewer, Dave was tasked by the Pacific Coast Rugby Football Union to chair the referee’s society (from 2000-2004). Dave continued to regularly complete Performance Reviews until referee coaching became popular with the IRB, now World Rugby.

Retiring from coaching at the national level in 2009, he devoted countless hours to the coaching of young referees, coaching Berkeley High boy’s rugby team, filling duties as Development officer at the monthly NorCal Referee Society and organizing the Rugby NorCal high school referee system. His death on June 29, 2017 is a sad day for Rhinos, Pelicans, referees, family and friends. He will be missed.

Rugby NorCal and the Northern California Rugby Referee Society (NCRRS) have partnered to create the David Williamson Referee Scholarship as a way to honor the great David Williamson who put in so much time over the past many years to continue to develop young referees among our ranks.

Six For Sevens

After the best Northern California Sevens Series I can recall the 6 representatives have been determined to go to Tacoma and fight for a spot at the USA Rugby National Championships. Congratulations to (for the women) All Blues, Life West and SFGG and (for the men) Life West, East Palo Alto and Olympic Club. This was the most even and hard fought 7s season we have had in a while; demonstrated by the lack of blowouts. On the women’s side they are crippled with a lack of depth (only 4 teams entered) but the #4 side San Jose played some good rugby and have massively improved over the last year. While they don’t have the horses to compete with the top sides yet but they have some solid young athletes coming through and I expect them to win some games next summer.

The men’s side was even more balanced as any team really could have gone through. Throwing out Sacramento Lions who either showed up late or didn’t bother showing up to the tournaments, every team was stacked. SFGG was especially stacked… and it turns out they were illegally stacked as a couple of Fijian gold medal winners made it into their side, but after realizing they were not registered properly and forfeiting their games they still played the games and kept their commitment. The #4 team was again San Jose Seahawks, a team on the cusp with a solid game plan and some excellent players. How close are they? They beat Life West in the first tournament and EPA in both of the qualifying weekends yet lost out to EPA by 2 points for the final spot. How did EPA do it? They beat Life West and Olympic Club. In fact, nobody came through without a loss, including SFGG with their golden Olympians. When all of your top teams are evenly matched like that it is fun stuff. The bounce of the ball, one missed tackle, that last little bit of fitness – it can decide a game and a series. It was great stuff.

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

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. 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

And now on to the games!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Editorial Staff here at Hail Pelicus would like to thank Roberto Santiago and Lee Bryant for their summer write-ups. We can’t even complain about the brevity of the reports because nobody else, including myself, really bothered. We are, in fact, considering offering Roberto a position as the Official Hail Pelicus Meteorologist. I guess the summer really is a slow news cycle.)

Date: 06/10/2017
Marin 7’s 0 – TBD 0
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

Good time had by all

Date: 06/17/2017
NorCal 7’s Series 0 – TBD 0
Referee: Bryant, Lee

Seeding for regional qualifier

Date: 06/17/2017
NorCal 7’s Series – TBD
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

It was warm. Always great to see everyone.

Date: 06/24/2017
Carlsberg Cup 7’s – TBD
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

Good times.

Date: 07/08/2017
NorCal 7’s Series – TBD
Referee: Santiago, Roberto

Another hot day in the bay.

Date: 07/15/2017
NorCal 7’s Series 0 – TBD 0
Referee: Bryant, Lee

No report received

This Week’s Photo

Bunny doing what he loved – giving back.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

A Tale Of Two Rugbys

HAIL PELICUS!

A Tale Of Two Rugbys

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I have held off on writing this edition of Hail Pelicus because I frankly didn’t know what to say. May 6, 2017. On a day when two Nor Cal colleges won national trophies and every Nor Cal team in playoff contention won my celebrations were subdued as I thought about Robert Paylor, the Cal lock who joined a rather innocuous maul that his Cal teammates were driving towards the try line. When everyone else got up he stayed down. Play continued and moved across the field and even back to within a meter of the trainers working with him before a new Cal surge put the ball over the line for a try. Paylor was still down and now it was apparent to all that something serious was happening.

Rugby is a contact sport and no matter how much World Rugby, coaches, referees and players do to make the game safer there will always be a risk. The obvious dirty play resulting in injury is almost easier to process than the injury to Robert. One can process a punch, a stamp, a jumper taken out in the air and understand the injury. Joining a maul should not result in injury, but it did. Anyone who tells you that life is fair is lying to you.

The California Golden Bears rugby team is many things to many people, but one thing everyone agrees on is they are well coached, well drilled and technically as good as anyone who plays the game. Body position, how to take contact, how to initiate contact; all are drilled to perfection. And yet. And yet. All I can say now is to treasure your time on the field. Treasure your time with the game. Treasure your time with friends and family. Rugby and life – always be grateful. All of our hopes and wishes for a full recovery go to Mr Paylor, a model athlete, a model student and a model human.

How You Can Help

The following statement was issued by the Paylor family the day after the match:

“The Paylor family would like to extend our sincere gratitude and thanks to the Cal Rugby family, friends and community for all your prayers and support. We can’t find the words that express what that has meant to all of us in this very sad time in our lives. Robert is currently working on stabilizing his condition so he can start rehabilitation. The injury paralyzed his lower body with limited motion in his arms. This will be a long and difficult journey for Robert and his outcome is uncertain. But we know his faith and determination will get him as far as he can go in regaining mobility. We are overwhelmed with the love and support we’ve received from people all over the country and ask that you continue to keep Robert in your prayers.”

For those who wish to contribute a gofundme page has been set up: https://www.gofundme.com/RobertPaylor

Tune In Next Week, Same Pelican Time, Same Pelican Channel

We had a few more Pelican sides playing for titles. We will get to that in our next edition.

Two Champions In One Place

Cal was able to recover from the loss of Robert Paylor early in the match to stamp their authority on the Varity Cup Final. Arkansas State was able to hang with the Bears for a half and were cruelly denied a try by a Nor Cal B Panel referee (AKA National Panel) who decided that he saw a knock on and didn’t need any help from the ARs. (Question: was a TMO available?) The 19-3 halftime score was misleading as the game was more balanced than that – the different being that Cal was able to cross the line and ground the ball more often when they got close and every time they did the referee agreed. The second half saw Cal take control of the game at their steady, professional best. Arkansas St rarely saw possession for more than a few phases and were generally shut down. The goal kicking of Russell Webb was rock steady as he reportedly used a technique suggested by assistant coach Tom Billups to sing a song to himself as he kicks. This acted as a relaxer and a timing mechanism and he struck the ball like clockwork every time. Neither party elaborated on what the song was but the keen lip-reading of the Hail Pelicus staff can confirm the rumor that is was Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The USA”.

St Mary’s and Life University have been locked into the top 2 spots of D1-A ever since Cal and BYU pulled out to form the Varsity Cup (which BYU has been booted from so that just goes to show). The result of this dynamic means that the last 5 years have been head to head matchups of the Beast From The East and the Best Of The West. Last year Life West won in a tight, hotly contested match and this year looked to be more of the same and the game did not disappoint. Once again a Nor Cal B Panel referee was in charge with more than able help from Pelicans to make him look good. The game more than matched expectations as a nervy start saw a few knock ons and mistakes. It soon settled into the back and forth affair everyone expected with each side pouncing on mistakes and creating chances. Life scored an early try but the response was immediate from the Gaels as they hit back with 2 penalties and a try to take the lead. Both sides traded punches (figuratively) throughout the rest of the half which ended with a 17-16 scoreline in favor of the Running Eagles. The second half started much like the first with Life scoring an early try but St Mary’s was not to be denied. Vili Helu started asserting himself, making big hits and long runs while the St Mary’s pack took control of the scrums. The final score came when Helu had to leave with a shoulder injury but the Gael scrum didn’t miss a beat. With St Mary’s holding the slimmest of 1 point leads Captain Kevin O’Connor took the ball from the #8 position and launched himself downfield. One pass later to a man in support and the Gaels are under the posts. Final score: 30-24, St Mary’s over Life.

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
1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. 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

Correction

The last edition of Hail Pelicus misidentified Rob “No Pelican Name” Hendrickson as Ed “No Pelican Name” Barfels in the This Week’s Photo section. While we, the editorial staff at Hail Pelicus, take full responsibility for this error we must point out how difficult it is to distinguish between the various Pelicans without an official Pelican Name to help. The lesson here: if you want us to get your name right, then get your right name.

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 04/29/2017
Bishop O’Dowd 53 – Sacramento Eagles 7
Referee: Gordon, Preston

On a very hot day in the Oakland hills, Bishop O’Dowd’s full roster and ability to move the ball quickly back and forth across their narrow (football) field made all the difference. They started scoring within the first two minutes, with their second as a penalty try plus yellow card for the Sacramento 13, as the last defender, clobbering a flying BOD winger around the neck.

There was some parity for parts of the match, but it was largely one-way traffic. Sacramento had several players show up right at kickoff time, which couldn’t have helped much either. We decided to stop counting with 15 minutes left in the match so that Sacramento could re-use some substituted players who didn’t get much time, and the final (unofficial) result was 65-12.

Thanks to the BOD crew for the excellent catering afterwards! Those lunch selections rivaled what I’ve seen in France, sans the wine of course.

Date: 04/29/2017
Land Park HS 51 – Bishop O’Dowd 24
Referee: Richmond, Jeff

O’Dowd kept the match close for the first 20 minutes with strong play by a their captain. A skilled loose forward, she advanced the ball well for O’Dowd and made many of the tackles on defense. Land Park was more cohesive in their team play and that was the difference. They put together good phases of attack and found gaps in the O’Dowd backline.

Date: 04/29/2017
SFGG 55 – Olympic Club 5
Referee: Pescetti, David

Wow what a scorching Saturday in April. A classic San Francisco match up, Olympic club versus Golden Gate. Unfortunately told all their players to go home and their season was done a week prior. But the match was played regardless of such matters.

With a depleted side OC was of little match to GG. It was still a fast and intense as previous years, but fairly one sided. GG 55 OC 5

I want to say a big thank you to Nome and Giles for being top notch ARs and helping to polish up this turd of a ref

Date: 05/06/2017
Bellarmine 17 – Chico 29
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

The first half of the game was completely controlled by Bellarmine. They scored 3 quick tries and converted one of them to go up 17-0, and they continued to apply pressure throughout the half. Chico tried to run a pick-and-go style game, but the Bellarmine defenders beat the runners back on every play. Chico was definitely on their heels, and about 15 minutes into the first half, I yellow carded Chico 8 for a dangerous tackle. The Chico 8 came back in with 10 minutes left and helped to put Chico on the board with a minute left in the first half.

The second half, Chico came out with new energy and passion and applied serious pressure to the Bells. The Bells started making a large number of unforced errors including leaving their feet in rucks, not rolling away, and a large amount of knock ons. This gave Chico the edge, and they were able to put up 24 more points to take the cup 29-17.

Date: 05/06/2017
Chico 14 – Eugene 10
Referee: Pescetti, David

Sunny San Francisco on championship weekend. Two teams fought for the right to travel to Arizona and the elite 8.

This was an incredibly close and hard fought match that was back and forth. Eugene kicked off the scoring with a penalty goal thirteen minutes into the first half. Eugene had the upper hand and threatened for large periods of the this opening quarter, but Chico’s defense stood strong and only relented the three points. Chico broke through the Eugene the defense for a converted try, and going into into the half leading. Eugene 3 – Chico 7.

The hard contest continue and was unrelenting in the second half. Chico was able to consolidate their lead with another converted try. They extended their lead, with roughly 30 minutes remaining Eugene had plenty of time to narrow the margin. Eugene’s retort came not too long after. They converted and brought the score to Eugene 10 – Chico 14. With spare minutes on remaining in the match Eugene attacking within the Chico 22. With numbers wide Eugene spun the ball, but Chico’s defense came up quick, forcing a pass that tragically caused the game to end. Eugene fell a few meters short.

Final Chico 14 – Eugene 10

Date: 05/06/2017
SacPD PAL 24 – Land Park HS 10
Referee: Tucker, Chris

A narrow pitch played into the hands of the Amazons, whose forwards kept it tight and ran straight. Land Park’s speedier backs had insufficient room to play, and thus went the contest.

Date: 05/06/2017
SFGG 90 – ORSU 0
Referee: MacDonald, Neil
AR: Turner, Jessica
AR: Richmond, Jeff
#4: King, Mike

A sunny afternoon on Treasure Island, mercifully cooler than the temperatures we’d seen earlier in the week, saw ORSU face SFGG in the Men’s D1 ACR1 playoff, for the chance to play in the national quarter finals. SFGG’s defense was smothering, their ball carrying ferocious, the surfeit of talent, pace, and creativity in the backs was a joy to behold, and Volney Rouse’s kicking was solid despite the stiff breeze. ORSU gamely played positive rugby throughout in the face of an onslaught of attacking rugby and fought to within inches of SFGG line on several occasions, but the visitors were unable to convert the pressure to points in the end. SFGG’s commanding win came in spite of being heavily on the wrong end of the penalty count, and their discipline at the breakdown will need to be better in their quarter-final match against Austin Huns.

Thanks to both teams, and to Jessica Turner and Jeff Richmond for their assistance on the touchlines, and Mike King for his help as #4.

Date: 05/06/2017
SFGG Women 24 – Seattle Mudhens 10
Referee: Wood, Scott
AR: Turner, Jessica
AR: Richmond, Jeff
#4: Baker, Eugene

A beautiful day in the middle of the Bay for the Division II Women Pacific North Geographic Region Championship match. While traffic to the pitch was light, the wind was beginning to build around the Bay Area. The pitch was in great condition for rugby (and possibly practicing some putting) with a level table of short grass. Both teams played well with good discipline and good continuity. Not many penalties but SFGG made Emerald City pay for early transgressions. The Mudhens were able to score a penalty goal before SFGG scored an unconverted try. HT: SFGG 14, Emerald City 3

Emerald City scored an early second half try to bring the score to 14-10. However, SFGG was able to maintain more possession scoring an additional penalty goal and converted try. Oddly, Emerald City’s pack was clearly dominant in the final 15 minutes resulting in several turnovers within SFGG’s 22. Unfortunately for the visitors, this pressure was not enough.

Kudos to both teams for an enjoyable match, and to Jeff Richmond, JT Turner, and Eugene Baker for their assistance.

Date: 05/09/2017
NorCal Pelicans Women Selects 71 – British Army Touring Side 5
Referee: Pescetti, David

The Brits were coming into the game having won all their matches so far on tour. However they had not faced off again Life West yet. The confidence waned quickly. The British were outmatches by the organization and physicality of Life West’s side.
The British Army touring side was a treat to referee.
Good luck on the rest of tour.

This Week’s Photo

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