Author Archives: James Hinkin

Deplorable Contest



Deplorable Contest

While the editorial staff here at Hail Pelicus are no strangers to controversy there are some topics that are sure to inflame a large percentage of the flock, either one way or another.   When we agree to take on such a topic it must be approached carefully and with considerable delicacy to insure that all sides of the issue are looked at with the regard that is their due.  Please note that I did not say “equally” as it is immediately apparent to all rational people that there are some positions with no basis in reality and to give them equal time in an effort to generate the illusion of balanced reporting is a disservice to not only the readers, but the writers and the entire noble profession of journalism, a profession that I would happily claim to be a part of if anyone ever paid me for this stuff.

So it is with eyes wide open that we tackle the upcoming national contest.   It really is the choice between two evils and no matter what the result I won’t be happy in the least.  Hail Pelicus does feel obligated this time to take and stand and I fully expect the slings and arrows of the opposition to come my way – a spate of vitriolic, thoughtless hate driven purely by emotion and without regard for logic, decency or even basic humanity.    While it is readily acknowledged that both sides have their faults there is a significant difference.   The rally cry of the front row dwelling Neanderthals seems to be “one is as bad as the other and it makes no difference” is a death knell on all we hold dear in America as it goes against all of the principles that this country was built on.    Our entire democracy is at stake.

Those of you who follow my Facebook page already know how I feel about this and many of you have already argued (rather hopefully, but ultimately in vain) with me about it, but now it must and will be stated publicly.    This is a decision not likely taken.  Let it be known that this is the first time in history that Hail Pelicus has made an endorsement.  Without further ado, here it is:

Hail Pelicus is rooting for the Cleveland Indians to win the World Series.

Or rather, Hail Pelicus is rooting for the Chicago Cubs to lose the World Series.

Yes, we know the Indians aren’t perfect.   Throwing aside the fact that they represent Cleveland, a hairy armpit of a city if there ever was one (motto: Our River Hasn’t Caught Fire in 47 Years!), the Cleveland Indians play in the American League and thus play “baseball” with a bastardized version of the rules and on top of that they have one of the most racist mascots in sports.   Seriously?   A cartoon caricature with red skin grinning stupidly?    Much like the Washington Redskins, the logo/mascot is defended because “the fans love it” – always a winning argument .   But for all of their faults, we are siding with Cleveland for one reason and one reason only:

They aren’t the Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs have a role in baseball and in Americana – they are the lovable losers.   They exist to cause pain because without pain how would we know pleasure?   Just like mathematics makes no sense without the number ‘0’, baseball makes no sense without the Cubs losing.    While it isn’t very glamorous or even all that much fun, everything in baseball depends on it.   Should the Cubs win then players might start running to third base when they hit the ball instead of to first.     Should the Cubs win teams might stop valuing left handed relief pitching because hey, why not?   Should the Cubs win we might as well eliminate foul territory, first and third base and let the pitcher get a good run up because it will mean that the great American Experiment has failed and we should all start playing cricket.   For those of you who think I am exaggerating then be warned that everything I have spoken of has been confirmed by top scientists who did science things and came up with these scientific scenarios.

As I write this it is 2 hours until first pitch of game 7.   A few hours after that we will know if America is still the same flawed yet great country we know and love or if we will have to take a tea break instead of a 7th inning stretch.


Early Election Results

There are many elections occurring this fall and it is often the local races that matter most to the day to day lives of the electorate.    With that in mind I regretfully have to inform you, dear reader, that the United Nations is investigating the Northern California Rugby Referee Society for voter fraud.  They believe the recent election was rigged because all 5 NCCRRS board members were not only re-elected by an unheard of 100% of the vote but they ran unopposed.   These are red flags to election watchdog agencies and are so unbelievable that even the strongest of armed dictators don’t get 100% of the vote.   The scoundrels currently under investigation for stealing the election are:

  • Pete Smith
  • Preston Gordon
  • R Scott Wood
  • James Hinkin
  • Paul Bretz


Pelicus Nomenclature

With the approval of the Senate, at the AGM 5 new Pelicans were awarded appropriate sobriquets, although one claims that he has worn it proudly for many years but it remained unrecorded.    Thanks, Obama.

The Centurion would like to salute the members of the flock who have been honored with their official Pelican Name so that it can be duly recorded.


From now on Chris Tucker shall be known as Pelicus Diversus Oculus!

From now on David Pescetti shall be known as Pelicus Spaghetticus!

From now on Steven Fenaroli shall be known as Pelicus Parvus Scurra!

From now on Roberto Santiago shall be known as Pelicus Prodigus!

From now on Mike King shall be known as Pelicus Rex!


All Hail!



How To Play A Perfect Alumni Game

Stanford’s mens side did it.   For details go to the Match Report section below.  It was truly memorable and worth a read.


Pelicans Getting High


Congratulations to Tim Lew and Lee Bryant for gaining their well deserved promotion to B Panel.   It just goes to show that you don’t have to be very tall to be an outstanding referee.


2016 NCRRS Kit And Swag

This is your last chance to order our 2016 kit.   We are not only offering the standard jersey (free if you referee more than 5 assigned matches), but also shorts (in blue and black), socks (to match), NCRRS polos, track suits and bags emblazoned with your very own Pelican Name.   We need to get the orders in ASAP to have it all ready by the January start of season so please place your order NOW.   The link to order kit is here:


Ask A Pelican

Yes we are back from our summer adventures and are ready to drop knowledge just like old times.  Our first question of the year comes from Donary Clump of Battleground State, USA.  Donary asks, “I saw your first two sections and laughed until my sides hurt and then laughed some more when I saw that people liked me more when I laughed.   I love your style, bigly.   My question is, are you planning to recommend any candidates for the presidential election?”

GREAT GOOGILY MOOGILY, NO!   Do you think we are insane?


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

  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:


On To The Game Reports!


Date: 10/01/2016

American University 39 – Gettysburg College 21

Referee: Valerio, Stephen


It isn’t every day when you get to referee a match in a National Park, but the Gettysburg Pitch actually is in the Gettysburg Memorial National Park. I’d like to think the tour buses going by were for us, but the sparse crowd argued otherwise.


The day was overcast and the pitch damp when the match started. The sporadic heavy showers made ball handling difficult, but the pitch held up reasonably well during the scrums.


American started quickly with a long-range try and maintained pressure on Gettysburg, collecting 2 penalty kicks. The try was a result of poor fielding of a kick by the back 3 and while American tested Gettysburg a few times during the match, they probably didn’t fully exploit this, especially considering the conditions. Rather, they tried relying on their large centers to break the Gettysburg line, but Gettysburg’s defense was up to the task. As the half wore on Gettysburg’s pick-and-go strategy paid off and they collected 2 tries and went into the break up 14-13.


The second half was a different story. An early yellow card for obstructing the runner on a penalty and not retreating gave American the space they needed, and they put across 2 tries during the bin, plus 2 others. Their fly-half was a surprisingly strong runner.   I found out afterwards he normally played flanker, so that explained that.   American did lose their focus at the end, giving away 3 consecutive penalties leading to a consolation try for Gettysburg at the whistle.


Date: 10/22/2016

North Bay 36 – Baltimore-Chesapeake 0

Referee: Valerio, Stephen


Today’s lesson, when it is very windy:

1.Try to avoid having kicking as the basis of your attack

  1. Don’t go long in the lineouts
  2. Keep your passes short.


Baltimore-Chesapeake’s D3 side hosted North Bay on a clear, cool day. However there was a stiff wind throughout the match. Strong enough that verbal communication was challenging. The pitch was firm and in good shape, except for the crooked posts at one end (luckily that wasn’t material to the results).


The first half was choppy as both sides wrestled with the conditions. Lots of kicks that went 30 meters forward and then 20 meters back in the air, but both teams were fairly insistent early on in kicking with both ball in hand and to gain ground on penalties. This and ball handling errors were made it very start-stop. North Bay was stronger in the lineouts, though both sides were plagued by not straights.
North Bay went into the half up 10 – 0 on 2 unconverted tries. B-C never offered any series attacking threat and their kicking was questionable, especially with North Bay being strong in the lineouts. The second half B-C failed to change tactics, but North Bay went to a surer ball-in hand strategy. They started picking up several long runs from their forwards and centers, with their fullback and wings popping up occasionally. Fatigue started taking its toll late in the match since B-C never adapted their tactics and playing defense is always more energy sapping. They picked up 4 tries with 3 conversions to seal the match.


Date: 09/24/2016

Berkeley All Blues 0 – Glendale 44

Referee: Bryant, Lee


Despite the score, this was a hard fought game until the end. Both teams contested at the breakdown all day which resulted in some amazing poaches and quick play. Glendale had a much more dominant scrum and maul scoring at least once from the latter. Enjoyed watching both teams finish 5-6 phases of rugby and using the whole field. Beautiful day for rugby and a big thank you to my fellow Pelican’s for helping me on the line.


Date: 10/16/2016

Stanford Women Rookie Tournament  Reports


Referee: Pohlman, John

A rainy day at Stanford brought together woman’s teams from U.C. Davis, Chico State, Cal and Stanford for some ten’s rugby.

Considering the conditions allot of opportunity for early season game situations.

Loads of very athletic players with a bit of a learning curve ahead.  But with the great coaches and practice we should see some strong woman’s teams this year.  Good luck to all.


Referee: Gordon, Preston

A great day out in the constant rain at Stanford!


Referee: Simko, Paul

7 hours, 3 matches, rain, cold, wet, soggy, rookie 10’s


Date: 10/22/2016

CSU Monterey Bay WR 7 – UCSC Women 36

Referee: Freitas, Larry


This game was for practice more than anything else, a teaching enterprise if you will.  It was decided to play 25 minute halves since both teams had been involved in combined forward and backs training prior to kick off for quite some time.  UCSC has a lot of new players, but with the combination of their handful of veterans, they were able to use their overall athletic ability to win, as after a 14-7 lead at halftime, the Banana Slugs pulled away with four more tries.  CSUMB has a veteran team for the most part, but one of their key players is now studying in Europe for the year, and work commitments might have kept a few more from playing.  UCSC was by far the better team in the backline.  Neither team had an advantage in the scrum or lineout, and I have to praise both sets of forwards for their play.  Both teams have their speedster runners, and if they get the ball, it’s off to the races, or goal line.  One last note about the match is that the Otter gals didn’t quite line the pitch correctly.  Hopefully this won’t happen again!

There is another game to report, played back on October 8 at Santa Clara University, where the Alumni XV took down a Varsity XV, depleted by their best players away for a 7’s tournament in San Luis Obispo, 41-22.  It must have been nearly 100F on the turf, and therefore 25 minute halves were played.  The turf field there is starting to look like a worn out carpet.  Time to chuck it and reinstall real grass instead.  Terry Ryan, Class of 1977, was absent from the game, as he was ill.  I believe he might have played in every alumni-varsity match since he had graduated.   The prior night the Fr. Coz Rugby Alumni Banquet was held on campus, well attended.  Nice to see Johnny Wallace, Saxon Wraith, Bill Wagner, Dave Alvarado, Mike Mitchell, Karl Winkelman, and fellow Pelican John Coppinger, and our former coach Mickey Ording in attendance.   Coppinger, having just arrived back in the country from a trip to Europe, ‘gave’ me the assignment to referee the alumni game at the dinner.  I gladly accepted.


Date: 10/22/2016

NorCal NSCRO 7’s

Referee: Richmond, Jeff


Pretty much a rerun (six of the eight teams) of the warm-up at Sonoma State two weeks ago. Sonoma State had the strongest showing early in the competition, then had a rough time against Cal Maritime, and wound up getting crushed in the final by Solano Community College. Solano now qualifies for a national competition next spring. Good time with Joe Leisek and Preston Gordon and great hosting by Steve Wren and the Santa Rosa JC crew.


Date: 10/22/2016

NorCal NSCRO 7’s

Referee: Gordon, Preston


A great day of sevens started off with overcast weather and a wet field from the overnight fog. Both the weather and the rugby warmed up as the day went on. I got a good 6.4 miles of work in personally. Solano took the title match, refereed by me, 31-10 over Sonoma State, and will progress to the next round. The scores follow – thanks to everyone for the good games and no foul play!


Pool rounds:

Santa Rosa JC 0-26 Sonoma State

Solano 12-12 UOP (beer courtesy of Jeff Richmond)

American River College 7-31 Sonoma State

Cal Maritime 22-7 UOP

American River College 0-21 Santa Rosa JC

Cal Maritime 15-28 Solano



American River College L-W Cal Maritime

UOP 14-19 Santa Rosa JC

Cal Maritime L-W Sonoma State

Santa Rosa JC 12-19 Solano


Final round for placement:

American River College (6th place) 24-26 UOP (5th place)

Cal Maritime (4th place) 19-21 Santa Rosa JC (3rd place)

Sonoma State (2nd place) 10-31 Solano (1st place)


Date: 10/22/2016

Sacramento State 30 – Sacramento State 29

Referee: Boyer, Rich


Sac St. Green v. Sac St. White.  White had preponderance of ball in first period and led 17-10 at halftime.  Green put together a better gameplan and came out strong the second half, with the winning try scored by Mattei Waqalevesi in the dying moments off a nice pass from prop Tyler.  Good strategies and execution from both teams and very few handling errors and penalties despite earl’y days.  Nick Weeder stood out as flyhalf, Spencer Moreno (Motley Alum) at scrumhalf and kicking points, Tyler at prop, Spencer at 8 man.  Sac St. has a few dangerous backs who run very well.


Date: 10/23/2016

Stanford Women 5 – Alumni Women 59

Referee: Simko, Paul


Beautiful day on the pitch.  After 15 minutes of clean up of bottle caps and glass from the Colorado Tail Gate Party that was on the pitch the day before, it was decided to do four 20 minute “halves”.  It was a tough lesson for the students in their first match with contested scrums, in which their elders rolled them over backwards a few times.  A 52 year old played well, but ended up limping off the pitch later in the match with an minor ankle injury.  The Alumni also sported Olympian Vix Folayan.   A yellow card was issued to alumnus, for proper but impractical use of the F-bomb, and was forced to run touch for 10 minutes.  The Alums were relentless and with no time on the clock, still wanted to put one more in.


Date: 10/23/2016

Stanford Men 29 – Alumni Men 31

Referee: Hinkin, James


Alumni day is always a fun event and with the women of Stanford hosting their past graduates in progress the stage was already set for a classic fall rugby day.   The torrential rains of the previous weekend were a fading memory and normal service had resumed: bright, sunny skies and mid 70s temperatures.   Perfect rugby conditions.


“Perfect” is the word of the day and not just because of the conditions and the fact that I didn’t miss any calls.   Trust me on this.


The undergrads were, naturally, more organized and enthusiastic in their warm ups and pre-match preparation as the alumni, equally naturally, spent much of the time catching up with old acquaintances.   As it should be with all alumni games the captaincy of the alumni went to the oldest player, Shawn Dahlem, who is old enough to have played against me and remember when I was fast.   Not only do the laws of rugby change over time but fashions do as well so Shawn trotted out with red shorts from his time at Stanford while all other, younger players wore white.   This prompted the university captain to ask if he was wearing special “no tackling” shorts.  This did not sit well with his opposite and the youngster was told to play rugby and not worry about hurting anyone.


This is also worth remembering.


The fully warmed up students were full of energy and life in the first half (divided into 20 minute periods) and stormed out to a lead with the speed of youth out flanking the old boys for an unconverted try.   The alumni responded with a try of their own with the beer gut of age overpowering the underweight student bodies for a duly converted try and the first lead for the alumni, 7-5.   Undaunted the students rallied and began to dominate proceedings.    A flurry of knock ons and mistakes let the universitarians off the hook time and again and their response was more tries, eventually building a 24-7 lead.   Things looked grim for the alumni but old age and treachery experience stood them in good stead as they regrouped for the final 20 minute push.    Putting the students under pressure forced errors that were then capitalized on by the alumni as they found that their size advantage was wearing down their opposition.


This was epitomized in a magical moment where the dreams of all front row players came true.    Working hard and following up a break from the back line the alumni hooker – a natural prop pressed into service at #2 – suddenly and unexpectedly found himself put into space with only the fullback to beat.  The right winger for the students was also working hard chasing the play and making up ground with every stride.   All three converged just outside the 22 when the alumni prop/hooker threw a dummy to nobody, spinning around with the ball held out in front of him.   Both players bought the dummy and ran into each other, knocking each other to the ground as the graceless pirouette completed leaving our hero untouched and manfully plugging away towards the try line.  The students desperately scrambled back and the ball carrier was caught at the try line but not soon enough to prevent the try being scored.   This tied the score at 24.  Staring a tie in the face I started to worry about the next referee society meeting but the students rallied superbly and with 5 minutes left scored yet another unconverted try to make the score 29-24.    Now the alumni got desperate and started putting the students under as much pressure as they could, competing at every breakdown and hunting for that magical turnover.   With less than 3 minutes of time left the alumni won a penalty and chose to kick for a lineout.  The kick was a good one with the line of touch the required 5m from the try line.

This is when we recall that “perfect” is the word of the day and that Shawn Dahlem was originally considered too old to be tackled properly.


The students won the lineout and tried to clear their line, but the kick was terrible, going off the side of the flyhalf’s boot and was caught about 20 meters from the line near the middle of the field.   Taking this gift in hand the alumni charged forward and were stopped and then stopped again but each time got the offload to a teammate until the ball was put into the hands of Shawn who dove across the line for a try under the posts.    The conversion was successful and the alumni led for only the second time 31-29.   The clock was at 1:00 and ticking down so all they really needed to do was hang on to the kickoff, recycle the ball and kick it out.


Naturally and of course, this didn’t happen.   The alumni panicked and started running back and forth aimlessly inside their 22.   Eventually a tackle occurred and everyone screamed to get the ball out, so a prop (why is it always a prop?) picked the ball up and threw it out of bounds.


Oh dear.  TWEET!  Penalty to the students on the 15m line 5m from the goal.   No time left.  Did the alumni just screw this up?   The ball was tapped and the charge started.  The first hit was good and the ball recycled but the alumni drove the second runner back and flooded the tackle area to create a turnover.  This time the ball was kicked out properly and the game was over.   The alumni won a nail biter with the winning try scored by the oldest man on the pitch.   You just can’t make this stuff up.


Date: 10/29/2016

Berkeley All Blues 12 – ORSU 24

Referee: Akroyd, Phil


What a mess.  The whole afternoon was a struggle for everyone involved.


The game was scheduled to take place at SMC on the Pat Vincent field.  My main concern was over the recent rainfall and how that field can pool water pretty easily, but when I arrived it looked in good shape, aside from the fact that wild pigs (no joke) had been ripping up the grass.  The pitch had clearly been undergoing repair and large areas of turf had been removed in preparation for the installation of new turf.  Problem was that they hadn’t got to the second part of that process by Saturday lunchtime.


The real issue is that SMC told the All Blues that the field was playable when it clearly wasn’t.  SMC should have known better and their lack of disclosure made the afternoon way more difficult than it should have been.


The players were incredible in their problem solving and players from both teams attempted to retrieve old turf and re-lay it, while other players made frantic calls to find another location.  ORSU were calculating travel times so that they would make their flights home.


A field came up on Treasure Island so we made the drive down the hill to start way later than we should have, but we got the game underway.


I’m not going to describe the game too much because it wasn’t great.  There were four yellow cards, too many penalties and a lot of endeavor but not much successful execution.


Date: 10/29/2016

Univ Nevada Reno WR 41 – St. Mary’s College WR 26

Referee: Bryant, Lee


Despite the fact there were 25 extra lines on the field in every color imaginable, it turned out to be a great day for a rugby match. St. Mary’s had a couple All American High School players on the roster and fought hard through the end. Both teams had solid scrums and backlines that could move the ball for long runs on the outside. Nevada ultimately had a couple more play makers on the pitch who ran up middle of the field to scores 50m+ tries on the first and second half  to keep the score up. Great match for early in the season.


Date: 10/29/2016

UOP 59 – Fresno D3 29

Referee: Richmond, Jeff


A beautiful day and great conditions in Stockton. UOP faced a young club team from Fresno. Both teams were well coached but UOP was more disciplined while Fresno relied on their energy and aggressiveness. UOP has a talented winger whose speed on the outside and cut-back moves enabled him to put up 4 or 5 tries for the Tigers. Fresno’s enthusiasm got the better of them when a tip tackle and a repeated dissent offense earned them yellow cards. Nice to see Ron DeCausemaker who stopped by.



This Week’s Photo

Pelicus Guiness Consumptus presents Lee Bryant with her B Panel Certification.   Pelicus Caledonius seems less than impressed.


Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

For The Love Of Rugby



For The Love Of Rugby

The previous editor of this fine organ gave me some advice when I took over. He said that he always thought of Hail Pelicus as a love letter to the game of rugby.   I have always taken those words to heart and while our styles are different and the tenor of the HP has changed, at its core it is and always will be about the love of the game.     Why we do what we do, whether one is a player sweating through a preseason fitness session knowing that the reward for this work won’t show until 6 months later or one is a referee doing fitness work all by one’s self knowing that likely nobody will notice because that extra burst got you to a breakdown on time to manage it and no whistle was necessary.    Whether one is a coach putting extra time in to find new training techniques and game strategies or one is a parent watching a child learning how to test themselves and push their limits.   We all do this for the love of the game.  The love of the game comes in its purest form rarely for someone as rich in experience as I am and so, because of this rarity, I grab any chance I have for lo, a few weeks back, I played rugby.

I didn’t play all that well compared to my club days, but I played.   The brain still works but the body doesn’t so what was once possible, even routine, is now a fading memory, reinvigorated by the retelling (embellishing?) of past exploits.   And yet, there was joy.   Pure, unadulterated joy.   Joy mixed with pain and frustration, but joy, nonetheless. I was surrounded by familiar teammates and opponents doing what I loved.  I even set up a try (woo hoo!) with a couple of sidesteps and a sweet offload while holding off a would-be tackler.  The orgasmic burst of energy that followed goes a long way towards answering the question of why the game is played and why I, my teammates and my opponents put on our boots and took the field.   The fact that I caught a cleat to the face at the end of the day leaving me with a minor yet impressive looking battle scar after a full day of rugby is the icing on the cake and the cherry on the sundae all in one.

Happy happy. Joy joy.

One of the great clichés of our time is that a person doesn’t truly appreciate something until it is taken from them. Strange as it may seem, one of the things I miss most from my playing days was being sore on a Sunday.    Getting up Sunday morning with a few aches and some bruising was a source of pride: I did something awesome on Saturday.   Another cliché that comes to mind is that youth is wasted on the young.   “If I knew then what I know now” rattles around many an old boy’s head as he spots an opportunity but then realizes that he no longer has the speed or power to exploit it.   This, of course, is the entire basis for coaching as this knowledge is (hopefully) transferred to one able to use it, but that is cold comfort as one bursts through a gap untouched only to find they are most definitely touched and what used to be a gap you could drive a truck through has filled with defenders.

Just because these are clichés does not mean that they should be dismissed – sayings like these became clichés because they are true.

And so, for a day, I put aside my whistle and took up my mouthguard.   For the joy of competition.  For the thrill of contact.   For the memory of well-earned pain.   For the love of the game.

Gold Medal Worthy Analysis

Rugby’s return to the Olympics must be rated as a resounding success. The Olympics are a time when people are open to watching sports they don’t normally watch – even silly non-sports like water dancing and race walking – and as a result rugby gained quite a few fans.   The notable presence of Matthew “Alright, alright, alright” McConaughey on the sidelines of the women’s tournament was enough to attract more mainstream viewers and news outlets and the on field action got them to stay.   The US Women lost a tough first game against Fiji 12-7 and rebounded nicely by smashing Colombia.  They then played hard and showed their class with a hard fought draw against eventual gold medal winners Australia followed by a narrow 5-0 loss to New Zealand in the quarterfinals.   They finished out of the medals with a respectable 5th.


The US Men lost a golden opportunity in the first match against Argentina when referee Craig Joubert practically handed them the match with a pair of dubious yellow cards but they still managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and gave up a try at full time.   They rebounded well by thrashing Brazil but results had put them behind the 8 ball needing a result against Fiji.   The Japanese upset of New Zealand (what is with it with Japan and major tournaments these days?) threw the race to qualify as a 3rd place finisher up in the air and it ended up coming down to USA or New Zealand.   The Eagles needed to win, tie or lose by 3 or less to advance.    A thrilling back and forth match saw Fiji pull away and hit a difficult conversion from the sideline to grab a 9 point lead with seconds remaining.   The US responded like champions and worked the ball out to Nate Ebner who streaked down the right sideline to score a crucial try.  Fiji, much to the Kiwi’s relief, forced Ebner out wide so the conversion from captain Madison Hughes was a tough one.  Unfortunately Hughes missed the drop kick and Fiji hung on for a 4 point victory sending the US out of the knockout round by just 1 point.   The Eagles then went on to win the rest of their games and will have to spend the next 4 years thinking about that first game against Argentina, which is unfortunate because aside from that first match they played some very good rugby.  This team can hold their heads up high.


Just The Tri Tip

Meteorologists and other “fact based” experts will tell you that the last day of summer is September 21st but all of us here in Pelicanland know that the Tri Tip 7s in San Luis Obispo is the true end of summer because it marks the end of the 7s season.   Yes, I know that colleges will start playing some 7s in the next month or so but that is a fall season and has nothing to do with summer.   This is it, the marker, the boundary, the YOU SHALL NOT PASS moment for the Summer 7s season.   What better way to celebrate the end of a season than some 7s on the central coast?

This is consistently on of the best run tournaments of the year, although, to be fair, it wasn’t always like that. I recall more than one year coming off the field after the finals to accept the trophy but to find all the tri tip and beer had gone.   To their great credit, SLO has learned from the growing pains of the 90s and early 2000s how to efficiently run a large tourney.  Case in point:  There were 119 matches played and no field was more than 3 minutes behind at any time.  Most matches were in fact started exactly on time.  That, my friends, is organization.   I don’t want to hear about “rugby time” or “island time” because this (and many other well organized tournaments) proves the fallacy of those generalizations.

Congratulations to EPA for winning the tournament for the second year in a row, although they have a way to go before matching the legendary Los Gatos sides, winners of 5 in a row and 8 of 9.   On the women’s side Chico State took home the hardware and celebrated appropriately, I am sure.    This tournament started as a north v south end of the year summer 7s blowout and the competition has gotten better from year to year.   They added a women’s division a few years back and now have an old boys division.   The referee societies also combine for this event as Southern California and Northern California split these Central Californian duties.   A good time for cross pollination of ideas and keeping abreast of our fellow whistleblowers.

I also managed to see something I have never seen before in rugby.   In one of my games a team scored their first 2 tries without actually possessing the ball and the first 3 without even attempting a pass.   Here is the scene:   Team A kicks off, team B catches it and is immediately tackled but the ball comes loose.   Team A kicks the loose ball ahead and falls on it in the try zone.   Team A then kicks off again to team B.   Team B has 2 players try to catch the ball and, naturally, neither of them succeeded.   Ball is again loose on the ground so Team A kicks it ahead and falls on it in the try zone – 2 tries without actually possessing the ball.   Team A kicks off again and this time team B catches it cleanly and gets into their offense.  They move the ball and try to get around the outside but are tackled into touch.   Team A grabs the ball and executes a quick throw in and the receiver goes through the defense to score.   Try #3 without a pass even being attempted – 2 fly hacks and a lineout.

I love this game. There is always something interesting or surprising waiting to happen.


Northern California Rugby Referee Society Annual General Meeting

Yes, fellow flockers, it is time for the AGM.   From our esteemed leader:

Please save the date for our AGM.  October 15.  We’ll start at 9:00 AM.

Agenda will consist of the AGM followed by referee training.  We’ll break for lunch and then we’ll meet with the team coaches to discuss producing the game that we all want to see.

We are in the process of confirming location.


Ask A Pelican

Was hunted in turn by mosquitos in Rio and now has malaria in his blood and a mosquito bite on his ass.   (Thank you, Joseph Heller)

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

  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:

This Week’s Photo

For the love of the game.


Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

A Latesummer’s Evening Olympic Dream



A Latesummer’s Evening Olympic Dream


There is a lot of rugby related fun going on these days so Hail Pelicus has come out with another summertime issue.   We do, after all, have much to discuss.   The competitive portion of the Northern California 7s season is over and, finally, thankfully, we are on the eve of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the long awaited return of rugby to the Olympic stage.


Not to mention the sweet vacation I had in San Diego, so I won’t mention it.


Overheard At The ACR1 7s On Treasure Island


“Seattle Saracens look solid.   They are coached by some Fijian guy.”


ARC1 7s Championships


The Northern California 7s Series ended at Treasure Island last week with Seattle Saracens and Olympic Club advancing to the USA Nationals.   EPA looked dangerous early as did unknown (at least to me) Ronin from Seattle but both sides lost steam as the day wore on and early upsets were not translated into late wins.   Life West came in as the Nor Cal #1 seed and played their usual structured game but, unusually for them, committed far too many unforced errors on the weekend.   Seattle Saracens took them apart and looked like they were on a different level but the real shocker came when the Olympic Club beat them in the pool round.  That was the only time O Club beat them at all this year and it sealed their fate.


The Saracens looked to be the class of the tournament all day, taking teams apart with clinical 7s… until they met one Mr Colin Hawley.   Always a strong performer, Colin took his game to another level for this game.   The O Club game plan seemed to be to swing the ball back and forth from sideline until Colin broke some tackles and created a gap.  Simple, but it worked.   Defensively they organized and tackled like demons and came away with a tight 14-12 victory.    The team that showed up for that game needs to show up to Nationals if they are to have any hope, but if it does they can beat anyone.    The final seeding match was a bit anticlimactic as the O Club threw their sub bench at the Saracens.  The O Club played well but the lack of imagination, creativity and inability to take a chance shows how much they rely on their talisman.


The women also crowned the Saracens as the top 7s program in the region as their women were dominant all day.   In fact, the Pacific Northwest took the top 2 seeds with Oregon Sports Union taking 2nd, leaving the All Blues and Life West to fight it out for the remaining seed.   With another surprise result, the All Blues beat heavy favorite Life West to book their place.  This meant that Life West, after dominating the 7s Series all summer, were shut out of nationals.


The Northern California 7s Series Recap


When we here at Hail Pelicus want another’s thoughts, we say “a penny for your thoughts.”   When we offer up our own, we say we are “putting our two cents in.”   From this is seems obvious that the opinions of the editorial board here are twice as valuable as the opinions of our readers, so you are going to get some opinionated pontificating here.    Be warned.


What about the overall series?   The series as a whole was a success and produced a lot of fine rugby.   The commitment and effort of the players on the pitch was unquestionable.   The series is a great improvement over the system used back when I was playing where each LAU within the Pacific Coast Territory would designate one tournament as their qualifier and you had to win that tournament.   That led to the occasional upset as a weaker team would catch fire on one Saturday and get the coveted qualifying slot but then revert to form at the Nationals, thus losing top seeds and eventually a regional slot.  This is the reason the women played for 3 slots yet the men played for only 2.   A “season” like this is much better at identifying the top teams as each team will need to keep up their level of play over several weeks.   It also prepares teams better as they are playing more competitive games and refining their own style.


That isn’t to say there weren’t some problems and I will talk about two of them that disappointed me greatly.   Seriously disappointing.  Disappointing like finding out that Barry Manilow didn’t write the song that makes the whole world sing.


The first was jokingly referred to in the last HP as the “GREXIT” when SFGG men and women dropped out of the competition on the second leg.   The women returned for the third leg but were essentially disqualified due to the fact they couldn’t make up the points lost.   This was followed in rapid succession by Santa Rosa and Sacramento Lions both dropping out of the third leg of the men’s competition for reasons unknown.   Sacramento may have seen that they had no realistic chance to go to the ARC1 playoff so declined to travel while rumor has it that Santa Rosa shockingly couldn’t get the number to commit.  This is especially baffling because based on their previous performances all Rosa needed to do was show up to the third leg in San Jose to guarantee them a spot at the ACR1 playoff and then get a team together to make the short drive to Treasure Island for their shot at Nationals.   Whatever the reasons for these withdrawals it showed a disturbing lack of respect for the competition and their opposition.   Creating extra work for organizers as schedules needed to be redrawn, referees reassigned and tables recalculated is bad enough but the lack of commitment sends a message to the rest of the league and, yes, the rest of the nation.


We here at Hail Pelicus often sing the praises of our rugby culture as Pelicanland produces more champions, more Eagles and more top referees than any other Local Area Union.   It isn’t even close.  Because of this Northern California is watched closely by other unions and used as a measuring stick and this kind of mass club exodus from our top 7s competition means we did not measure up.   I look forward to seeing if the NCRFU will consider any punitive action against the clubs that failed in their commitments.


The second disappointment to me was the lack of structural organization of some of the events.   In Sacramento for the second leg, with temperatures over 100 degrees, no tent was provided for the referees and the trainers – fortunately one of the referees brought their own and we shared.   No water was provided until I pointedly asked for some.  No bathrooms or facilities were provided – players, referees and fans were expected to use the porta-potties left there by school construction and one can only guess what that was like in the afternoon heat.   Fortunately, again, the local little league started playing around 10:00 or so and opened their restrooms as well as their snack shack, but then closed up shop when they finished around 2:00 leaving the ruggers struggling again.    The fields were lined correctly, but not professionally with easily seen 4 inch wide lines but with a thin spray can line.    I could not see any Capitol officials around to organize and run the event and only the Sac Capitol players seemed to be in attendance, trying to play as well as deal with these petty annoyances of running a tournament.    Each hosting venue was given a $2500 stipend to host – where did the money go?


The lack of organization was also apparent at the ACR1 final on Treasure Island.    This was an event run by the NCRFU directly but, again, nobody seemed to be in charge.    SFGG was not playing in this tournament and there were a few SFGG volunteers running around doing things, including their new coach and director of rugby, who were trying to do too much with not enough help.


EDITOR’S NOTE:  SFGG’s new kiwi coach – to his great credit – took the concept of “sweeping the sheds” to the extreme as I saw him twice with a mop and bucket slopping out the restrooms – once after some disgusting individual missed the toilet with their excrement yet didn’t even bother to try and clean it.   That man is truly an angel in heavy disguise.  


The NCRFU philosophy seemed to be “SFGG has a field so all we need to do is show up”.    This worked to a point as the field was professionally lined and the posts, flags, ect were all in place.   The clubhouse provided food, beverages and facilities.   And yet, technical area and sin bin chairs were not provided until the SFGG clubhouse was raided for them.   There was no central scoreboard with results – teams were constantly coming to the ref tent to ask what the standings were.   The only posted schedule seemed to be the sheet of paper taped to the ref tent that we used to assign referees so again, teams and fans would come to us to see when and who would be playing.    Finally, embarrassingly, nobody seemed to think it was necessary to have ball boys or ball girls running after kicks that inevitably left the enclosure.   Later in the day several matches had to stop because we had run out of balls.    A 60 year old man was forced to hop a razor wire fence to retrieve a couple of them.   The is our regional championship .    Teams flew in from Seattle to be here.   It deserves better.


Rugby has often been shoved aside as an unserious pastime for beer guzzling reprobates.    ESPN shows highlights for lacrosse and ultimate frizbee, yet ignores rugby.    Why?   One answer can be seen in the above paragraphs.    Looking professional is half the battle.   One reason everyone is excited for things like the CRC isn’t the quality of rugby but the packaging that makes it fit for TV.    People see that and say to themselves, “Self, that is a proper sport with great athletes and one that has its act together.  I think I will start to pay attention.”    Put mediocre rugby in a nice setting and you will get respect and attention.   Put great rugby in a poor setting and you get dismissed.   I played in matches with 6 current Eagles on the field and nobody noticed or cared because it was played in a small park where the locals had to be kicked off the grass so the lines could be hand painted and rudimentary posts could be put up.  The only people on the sideline were B and C side players and a few WAGs.


These are easy changes to make and if Pelicanland rides the expected crest of popularity that the Olympics should provide we need to be ready to show the country that we can put on a show as well as play top rugby.


Olympic Teams Announced


The men’s and women’s teams were announced a while back and by now should be setting up camp in the Olympic Village dormitories.    When I say “setting up camp” I may be being more literal than intended as the reports coming back regarding the readiness of the accommodations are disturbing.   They may actually have to live in tents by the end of this.    Regardless, this promises to be the greatest experience in their athletic lives and the jealousy I feel is palpable.


The women’s team had no surprises that I noticed and as expected Pelicanland is represented well with Joanne Fa’avesi and Kelly Griffin .  Here is the team:


Bui Baravilala
Ryan Carlyle
Lauren Doyle
Joanne Fa’avesi
Carmen Farmer
Victoria Folayan
Kelly Griffin
Jessica Javelet
Kathryn Johnson
Alev Kelter
Jillion Potter
Richelle Stephens


The men’s team had a few surprises that I will discuss below.   The amount of Northern California representation is never an issue with the men’s team: Barrett, Test and Niua all made the cut.  Here they all are:


Perry Baker
Danny Barrett
Garrett Bender
Andrew Durutalo
Nate Ebner
Madison Hughes
Carlin Isles
Folau Niua
Ben Pinkelman
Zack Test
Maka Unufe
Chris Wyles


There were 7 easy choices in this list.  Hughes, Test, Baker, Barrett, Bender, Niua and Unufe.   They have been rock solid for the US in the World 7s Series and are part of a very good core.    Carlin Isles was not much of a surprise one it was determined he was healthy, but remains the #2 option behind Perry Baker who had a phenomenal year.   It was very nice to see Durutalo back in the fold as he was very important in the 2015 season before signing his pro 15s contract.  His strength and experience are key.


That leaves Pinkleman, Wyles and Ebner.   Ben Pinkleman is the least experienced member of the squad as he is still matriculating through Colorado St University.   He was brought in to the squad early in this year’s series to replace injured players and made a strong impression.   The inclusion of Wyles has me scratching my head, however.   While he has an outstanding pedigree he has not played much 7s at all in the last several years.   The failure of Quade Cooper and Bryan Habana to transition to 7s shows this to be a roll of the dice by coach Mike Friday.


The final spot goes to Nate Ebner.   The editors here at Hail Pelicus have been watching and reporting on his progress as he switched codes to rugby and we initially gave him a slim chance to make the team.    Nate didn’t bother listening to our sage predictions and worked his butt off and made the team on merit.   Well done, sir – I salute you.


Congratulations to all of our Olympians – even those from other parts of the country.     USA! USA! USA!


Olympic Predictions


While our women finished 6th overall I believe they are near certain medal contenders because, you know, ‘Merica.    To do this we need to reverse a recent trend of consistently falling to the top teams in the world.   Women’s rugby is fragmented in to the Very Good and All Others and while we are in the Very Good camp, we are near the bottom of that group.    They should beat Columbia and will have to play perfectly to beat Australia.   The Fiji game is key as they Fijians can be erratic and are beatable.    After that, things start to get tough but nobody said a gold medal was easy.   Official prediction:  Bronze.


The men also finished 6th but I believe have a more realistic chance at medaling and even golding.    In London last year they proved that they can put everything together and beat all comers.   We are the team that the rest of the world doesn’t want to see.   You know what you will get with New Zealand or Fiji, but the USA can beat teams with so many different weapons we are extremely unpredictable.   With our pool we have to beat host Brazil and will need a special game to beat Fiji.   This is entirely possible as Fiji are notoriously slow starters and are much easier to beat in pool play as opposed to knockout rounds.   Argentina is our swing game and we should prevail over the South Americans.   That game will most likely determine if we see New Zealand in the quarterfinals or later in the tournament.    Mike Friday has put a team together to win it all and the USA takes the Olympics very seriously.   I see us gaining confidence as we progress and, much like London, winning it all going away.   Official prediction:  Gold… for the 3rd straight time.


Ask A Pelican


Is hunting mosquitos in Rio.


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

  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:

On To The Game Reports!


Yes, there were other games and tournaments going on.   It is rugby season, after all.   It is always rugby season.


Date: 07/09/2016

Carlsberg Cup

Referee: Pohlman, John


Lots of 7’s rugby at the Silicon Valley Tournament At Boynton High School this past weekend.

Three tournaments were played on four fields.  The Qualifiers for Men’s and Woman’s and the Carlsberg open division.


Twenty plus years ago the Seahawks played on this field when I first moved up to the Bay area.  Those games and recently losing a good rugby friend Bret McDonald, who passed away last week, brought back a lot of memories.  Rugby brings so many together, creating friendships for life.


I did four of the Carlsberg Cup games.  All played in good spirit and no issues.


Date: 07/09/2016

Carlsberg Cup 7’s

Referee: Simko, Paul


Great day.


EDITOR’S NOTE:   Great report.


Date: 07/23/2016

Shasta 7s

Referee: Hosley, David


Spectacular setting at the foot of Mount Shasta for a sevens tournament.  15 matches refereed by David Hosley, Tim Mulholland and Phil Ulibarri.


Date: 07/23/2016

Carlsberg Cup 7’s

Referee: MacDonald, Neil


Great day of sevens at the final day of this year’s Carlsberg Cup.  Silicon Valley took the win in the final.


Date: 07/23/2016

Carlsberg Cup 7’s  0 – TBD 0

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce


Great tourny.


EDITOR’S NOTE:   Another great report.


Date: 07/23/2016

Carlsberg Cup 7’s   – TBD

Referee: Simko, Paul


Great hot day.


EDITOR’S NOTE:   Great hot report


Date: 07/23/2016

Carlsberg Cup 7’s

Referee: Pohlman, John


Final day of the Carlsberg sevens.  Nice venue and well organized.  Lots of games.  I think all six of the referees did five games each.


This Week’s Photo

The Pelican Referee Tent proudly showed off its mascot at the ARC1 7s on Treasure Island.   Dr Bruce Carter would approve.

Pelican In Flight

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Midsummer Classic


Midsummer Classic

Here we are at the summer season’s midpoint and the Hail Pelicus has roused itself after a sleepy few weeks.    It gets harder and harder to crank up the juices and put out a HP after an extended break like this because writing is much like working out: the longer you take a break the harder it is to get started again.   The late, great Terry Pratchett put it best when he said “The first thing I do when I finish writing a book is start a new one.   This was a course of action suggested, I believe, by the late Douglas Adams, although regrettably he famously failed to follow his own advice.”    In any case, it is time to knock the rust off all those metaphors and ancient Roman references and get to work.   Let’s check in and see what is happening in the world of Pelican Rugby.    Tally-ho!


Pelican Champions

There have been more champions from the land that breeds them best since our last report.  Congratulations to Life West Women who won the D2 National Championship.   Congratulations also to the brand new Napa RRC who made a deep run in the D3 championships, losing out in the semis.    Well done, you!

The Collegiate Rugby Championship – America’s premier collegiate invitational 7s tournament – was also contested and once again victorious were the Golden Bears of California.   Cal swept to victory past a gutsy UCLA side 31-7 to claim their 4th straight CRC title.   Congratulations to Cal!   I will not recap my issue with calling this a national championship – see the last Hail Pelicus for that – except to remind everyone that the CRC is a quaestuary enterprise and to hope that soon a proper national championship will emerge.  Until then I will happily watch US Collegiate 7s rugby on TV – a concept that was unheard of in my playing days.


Not Only Championship Teams But Championship Players

It is well known to those who know it well that the best rugby in the US is played here in Northern California.   This, naturally, leads to the best referees and, even more naturally, the best players.   This summer the USA Eagles played Italy in San Jose and Russia in Sacramento and in the Sacramento game San Jose’s favorite son Todd Clever became the most capped Eagle of all time.   The fact that he overtook another Pelican legend in Mike MacDonald was not lost on the astute editors of Hail Pelicus.   Congratulations to Todd on his remarkable achievement.

The games themselves were a bit underwhelming to me.   It is clear that new coach John Mitchell has yet to stamp his personality and style on this group.  The Italy game was very pedestrian on both sides with limited attacking endeavor and we lost a narrow 24-20 decision.    This was a goal kicking and forwards contest as both teams were very well organized and gave up very few line breaks.   The next week the US dominated Russia in Sacramento 25-0 with more space to attack in but a lack of finishing by the Eagles.   Russia was limited to killing the ball and AJ MacGinty happily slotted the points yet the only try of the game was scored in the 65th minute.   Too many glorious chances were left begging as we lacked the precision to finish properly.    The good news, however, is we created the chances so that is a start.   The effort is there, now we need the precision.


A Joke 2500 Years In The Making

For the ancient Romans the king of the gods was Jupiter and, as Mel Brooks reminded us in his excellent historical documentary History of the World (Part 1), it’s good to be the king.   Jupiter was straight to type so it would surprise nobody that he took several lovers while, technically, he was married to his wife Juno.   Jupiter, as you do, tried to conceal his goings on by covering himself in a cloud, but Juno was on to him and blew the cloud away to reveal his infidelities.

Fast forward 2000 years to the 1600s where Galileo Galilei, along with Simon Marius, were first scanning the night sky and discovering that the planet Jupiter not only had moons, but had more than one, so they started naming the moons after Jupiter’s mythological paramours.

Fast Forward again to today where NASA has sent a probe to examine Jupiter and its moons and that probe arrived successfully on July 4th – a probe they named Juno.   Jupiter is, of course, a gas giant and is covered in clouds so that we have very little idea about what goes on further in the atmosphere so Juno was specifically designed to be able to pierce those clouds.

In essence, NASA sent Juno, Jupiter’s wife, to check on him and his mistresses and specifically gave Juno the ability to see through clouds.   Now THAT is a joke a long time in the making.   Hey, it cracked me up.


The Northern California 7s Series – GREXIT edition

This year’s Nor Cal 7s Series has successfully completed the first two legs in Modesto and Sacramento and have been filled with pace, speed, explosive rugby and, of course, drama.  Along with a men’s and women’s qualifier brackets there is a social bracket for teams not in the qualifier and some qualifier club’s B sides as well.  All in all there is plenty of rugby going on at these events… just the way we like it.

At the top of the men’s table is Life West with 15 points, followed by Olympic Club and Santa Rosa with 13 and 12 points, respectively.   East Palo Alto (9), San Jose Seahawks (8) and Sac Lions (6) are in the hunt for the coveted 4th position and East Bay 7s is sitting in 7th with 3 points.   Life West also leads the women’s bracket with 10 points followed by All Blues (8), San Jose Seahawks (5) and SFGG (3).

Astute readers will notice now SFGG’s men’s side is not listed in the qualifier points table and that is of course due to their shocking Gate Rugby Exit, or GREXIT, vote after the first leg in which both the SFGG’s men and women pulled out of the qualifier.  Combine that with a sudden leadership change at the club and nobody know what will happen next.

This in and of itself was less expected than the Spanish Inquisition so it naturally caused panic and uncertainty as we went from an 8 team men’s bracket and a 4 team women’s bracket to 7 and 3 team brackets.   This unbalancing of the schedule was problematic for Pelicus Fistulator but he was able to get a revised schedule out that satisfied all parties.   Of course, the SFGG women immediately regretted the GEXIT vote saying “it was a protest vote” and “they didn’t think their vote would count” so have petitioned to be reinstated in the qualifier so that is why they are listed in the points table and they will be playing in the 3rd leg in San Jose this weekend.

Fortunately this is just a local rugby union and the effects are minimal.  I can’t imagine anything like this happening somewhere more important where it could affect millions of lives.  That would be beyond stupid.


As many of you know I, Pelicus Pedem Referre, took over distribution of our jerseys, shorts and socks.   Yes, I am your official Kit Cat.   After speaking with the NCRRS Executive Committee we decided it was past time to update some of our kit so this year we will not be ordering just the standard jerseys, socks and shorts but plan to order kit bags, track suits, polos and ties.   Some of these items will need to be individually ordered so please check this space for Information on what is available for pre-order and when.   Suggestions for color combinations are welcome with red being a current front runner.   As they are one of the more high profile clubs in Pelicanland, not to mention the entire country, and their games are often televised on the Pac 12 Network, it is always important that the teams of 3 that we send up to Cal wear matching uniforms.  I will personally make sure that the new red jerseys are available at these occasions.

I am also taking bribes from various kit and clothing representatives to supply the Greatest Referee Society In The World with the best kit available so if you see pictures of me from a tropical island you will know that I am working hard getting the kit order done.   The fruity rum drink just helps me think.


Word Of The Day: Quaestuary

Quaestuary:  adj

  1. doing business solely for the sake of profit.

Just in case anyone was wondering.


Ask A Pelican

Is on vacation.


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

  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 the following video:

On To The Game Reports!

Pelicans in flight – part 1.  Stephen Fenaroli sends this report in from the USA Rugby Collegiate National 7s Championships

This past weekend (May 28-29) I was able to participate in something special. Cary, North Carolina was host to the Collegiate Sevens Championships at the Wake Med Sports Complex. This USA Assignment, my third, was something special. My first rugby season refereeing was coming to a close and I was excited at the idea of traveling across the country to referee 7s at such a high level.

Coming off a great 15s season, I didn’t have much time to reset for 7s. This means quicker gameplay, quicker penalties, lower tolerance for yellow cards- because slow ball, is no ball.

Arriving Friday morning at midnight meant a trip to my first Waffle House was in order. The hospitality at 2am at an airport Waffle House in Cary is top notch. Friday afternoon took us to Costco to grab a number of cases of water and a variety of snacks. Games started at 4pm Friday and by then most of the other referees had arrived. 7s is great because of the group comradery that we get. Often with 15s games, we don’t get to see other refs and get feedback. It was great to see other refs that I don’t run into much, but that we live vicariously through Facebook.

Friday afternoon proved brutally warm and had a number of good games. Teams came out with a bang knowing they couldn’t sacrifice a single win if they wanted to win the cup. That evening, dinner was at the Texas Roadhouse, which is somewhat ironic; eating chain BBQ named after a different state, while in North Carolina.

Saturday began even earlier with a pre meeting at 8am. A quick reminder about yellow cards and resetting ourselves led to a much more bountiful day full of yellow cards. The heat and humidity made the day long and full of breaks trying to sleep in the corner and grab whatever kind of food we could find. I came away from the trip a believer in pickles and pickle juice to recoup salt levels and electrolytes.

By the time the last game finished at 9:30pm, everyone was exhausted and ready to go to bed. Timing meant dinner options were limited which left us to order 20 pizzas and eat them as a group in the lobby. Mike Obrien, out of Potomac, was assigned the cup final and Emily Hsieh, out of New England, got the Women’s cup final. Mike got one of the Cobb whistles and Emily started a tradition with another. If you have a big game, I urge you to reach out to whomever has one of the whistles at the time. Each comes with a tradition and a journal to accompany it along it’s journey until it is returned to the Cobb family; a pretty great way to honor Mike.

Because of the impending Tropical Storm Bonnie, games were shuffled long into the evening and we went to bed that night not knowing much about the schedule the next day. Wakeup in order to be to the field by 7am meant an early morning. I landed an 8am cup semi which poured rain for the entire match. Having a change of clothes was nice and meant the next few hours were a little dryer and warmer. Games finished early and had a cracker of a finish with St. Mary’s College winning it all in a nail biter. A solid finish to a great tournament.

A giant thanks to the ARs from local clubs who came out and made our jobs a lot easier. They were running more games than a lot of us in the middle. These groups of folks made us look good and the tournament would have much more difficult without their help. Additionally, thanks to those at PelicanLand who helped me get to the College Seven’s.

Pelicans in flight – part 2.  Marc Carney was our representative on the annual Calgary Exchange.  Here is his report.


I left Sacramento on Friday June 27th hoping for a great experience and the opportunity to meet some great people in the Great White North. Flights weren’t too bad, but I landed in Calgary to a deluge of rain. We were forced to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes short of the gate due to lightning strikes.


After finally getting through customs and getting my rental, I headed to my first billet, Aaron Huntly, who was to put me up for the first two nights. Aaron is around 30 and had played at quite a high level in Canada, and had started reffing a couple of years ago. I learned from some people later that night to call him by his nickname, “Bunny”, for reasons I shall describe in detail later.


After getting settled in and having a good bite to eat, I headed down to a local club called the Irish. They are affiliated with the local Gaelic Association and have their own clubhouse and two fields, which supports soccer, Gaelic football, rugby and another sport or two. I reffed a Men’s D3 match between the Hornets and Knights; the knights were a police/sheriffs team. I was fortunate to have a ref coach in Andrew Petti for this match, who later provided some great feedback and pointers, which I utilized for the rest of the trip.


The match itself wasn’t particularly competitive and was a blowout in favor of the knights. One minor fracas which ended in a yellow card for a Hornets player was the only blemish on an otherwise clean and enjoyable match to referee.

The following day it was down to the Calgary Rugby Union (CRU), a five field facility with large clubhouse that includes I think 6-8 locker rooms, ref room, separate women’s locker rooms, bar and restaurant. All in all, a fantastic place to spend a weekend. I reffed another Men’s D3 match, this time between Red Deer and the Saracens, another local Calgary team. This match was also very one sided in favor of Red Deer and ended up 68-5. I was able to utilize some of the coaching I received on the first day to make this match better. We enjoyed a nice cold beverage or two on the referees tab at the bar afterwards, and then Bunny decided he wanted to show some hospitality and take me up to Red Deer with some of his friends. He had played there a while back and still had a lot of friends who were playing in the match I refereed.


After about an hour and a half drive we end up at the Red Deer clubhouse, which is similar to the Irish, with two fields, bar, locker rooms, etc. They were just closing, so we moved straight from there to a bar downtown. Needless to say, Bunny got his name because he is like the energizer bunny and never stops. We end up out until very late, get to someone’s house and pass out on the couch. Next morning, feeling a little worse for wear, Bunny wakes me up at 6.30am with his really thick Canadian accent saying, “We gotta go, eh!” I got to sample Tim Hortons for the first time, which was actually pretty decent, and then drive back to Calgary. From there, I headed down to stay with Paul Howe in Medicine Hat, about 3 hours south east of Calgary. I got down there fairly late, but was treated to a great BBQ dinner and then headed to bed early.


The following morning, we were up early for a two hour drive from Medicine Hat to Lethbridge where I was to referee the Division 1 Boys section championship match between Medicine Hat and LCI, a local Lethbridge team. I spend a good deal of the day up in the commentary box, avoiding the whipping winds and cold weather while watching some good rugby and chatting to former Women’s National Team Head Coach, Ric Suggit, who is now the head coach of the Lethbridge University Women’s rugby program. Soon it came time for me to warm up and get ready for my match. Right after kick off, literally 30 seconds into the game, a player from LCI broke his leg. It was fairly cold and the wind was howling, so I sent the teams back to the locker room until the player had been transported. 45 minutes later, we resumed the match. It was a well contested game, but extremely scrappy. The skill level was not particularly high, and the players were unsure about a lot of the rules surrounding the breakdown. At half it was 0-0. The second half yielded yet more penalties and eventually two yellow cards for repeat infringements. Medicine Hat took control at this point, and with the 30mph wind at their backs, scored four great tries to win 24-0.


We drove back to Medicine Hat after making a stop at a local brew pub where we would be having dinner on Friday night after the first round of the Alberta High School Championships, or ASAA’s. We had a great meal and got back very late. The next morning, I was up early and headed back towards Calgary. I stopped in downtown and met up with David Robinson for lunch, who is the President of the Alberta Rugby Referee Society. After that I headed out to the Canmore/Banff area, which is up in the mountains west of Calgary for a few days off. I stayed at a local hotel in Canmore called the Georgetown Inn – stay there if you have a chance, and eat in their pub – amazing food, and a great little place!. After checking in, I went on a hike up to some local lakes on the Grassi Lakes Trail, which was just amazing. I enjoyed the aforementioned dinner, a traditional stuffed Yorkshire Pudding with all the fixings and a couple of pints of the local Bitter!


Fully relaxed, I got to the car and hightailed it back to the CRU where I was to referee a higher level men’s match between the Saracens D1 squad vs. a touring team from Wales, Glyeneath (I think that is how it is spelled…). I had another ref coach for this match, which was nice, because I could put all the things to practice that I had been working on up until this point from previous coaching sessions, and get some additional feedback.


The match was very competitive going back and forth for most of the game. I was concerned fairly near the end of that match as it was tied up 19-19 and the large gallery up in the bar watching on were constantly reminding me that beer would be on me. Thankfully, on the last kick off after Saracens had just scored, Glyeneath went up and regained possession storming down the field and barreling over the line to score the game winning try. The conversion was something special too…the wind was blowing at about 20mph straight into the kickers face who was taking the kick from 5 meters in the left touchline. He kicked it almost straight and the wind carried it about 40m the with just enough curve to sneak it in the inside post, just over the crossbar.


Once again, the hospitality at the CRU was great, and I enjoyed a few good beers and a chat before heading back to David Robinson’s house where I would stay the next two nights. Thursday was another day of rest getting ready to ref at the ASAA’s down in Lethbridge the next morning, so I just went into downtown Calgary to explore a bit and see what it was like. I spent most of the day touring the area and visiting some local breweries, which were great.


The following day we were up at the crack of dawn to drive 2 hours south to Lethbridge for ASAA’s. I gave a ride to another local referee and enjoyed some political banter on the way down. Once there it was straight into it for most, I on the other hand had about a three hour wait for my first game, so I ref coached an early game and then AR’d a second. Finally I was up, reffing a Tier 1 Girls match between Archbishop Glendon and Bev Facey HS. Facey, who ended up winning the Girls Tier 1 bracket were a very well drilled side that had some fantastic athletes and some of the best passing skills I have seen out of a Girls HS team in some time. At the beginning of the second half, I felt something go in my left calf. I struggled along to finish the match, but managed ok. I was incidentally being coached during this game also, and he commented afterwards that he had not noticed any dip in performance from first to second half, so that was a positive for me. The diagnosis from the onsite AT and Doctor was a pretty good calf strain/pull, and that I should keep off of it if at all possible.


So my tournament was done due to injury, but I made myself useful ref coaching where I could and being a general pain in the ass to some of the local refs who needed a bit of a kick in the teeth… That evening, we went to the local brewpub for a good meal, some beers, and some banter. It was great to get to know a lot of these guys from around Alberta, but it was even more fun getting to know the infamous “Gilligan”, Dan Hattrup from Denver; what a character.


Following day, I did some more ref coaching and ball breaking before saying farewell to many of the guys who were Lethbridge locals. Some of the others were heading back to Calgary with me and going to the CRU for a drink before going out for a meal. We all got back to the CRU around 5pm had a drink and then went out to another local Irish establishment where I was introduced to the “Don King”. For those of you who don’t know what this beverage is, it is a double rum and coke with a Guinness float served in a pint glass. Make sure to stir, and drink in copious amounts! Needless to say, that is what we all did most of the night. We (Gilligan and myself) ended up back at David Robinson’s house at about 2am, where we proceeded to drink some of the Breckenridge Bourbon that Gilligan had brought with him…a perfect end to the trip.


Last morning, we were treated to Eggs Benedict from David’s wife, watched a bit of Toulon vs. Toulouse and then I headed out with Gilligan to the airport, where after an hour and a half delay, finally left for home.


I would like to thank Tim, Paul and Pete from Pelican Refs for setting up this exchange as well as Paul, David Aaron and the Alberta Referee Society as a whole for the hospitality and ref coaching I received while I was there.


Stephen Valerio sends in his final report of the 15s season from the East Coast. 


Date: 05/272016

Alumni/Faculty 55 – The Heights School  7

Location: The Heights School, Rockville, MD

Referee: Valerio, Stephen


With the 15s season down to the playoffs, there aren’t many chances to get a run in the middle. A mid-week call went out for an alumni match at The Heights School. Being that this is my busiest time of year, it was a welcome call to take a break from work and get a run-in.


Alumni matches are tricky. You can get experienced veterans who are more mature, experienced players, players who hadn’t played in years, and a couple of faculty who may never have played before. Or you can get all of them at the same time. Of course, we had all of them.


The students started the match casually, and were punished for it with the Alumni punching across 5 first half tries. This was compounded by the fact that they chose to go for points with a couple of penalties (remember those faculty who never played before and didn’t realize you couldn’t block) in Alumni territory. The kicks went astray and the Alumni took advantage of a disorganized defense to counter with some long range tries. Down 33-0 the students organized there defense and the first 20 minutes of the second half were a much more balanced affair caught between the 22s. Late in the half the Alumni were able to strike for 4 quick tries as some fatigue was showing on the students. I told them going to into the restart that this would be it unless there was a penalty. They were able to win a ruck off of the restart and a penalty about 30 meters out gave the students a final chance. A quick tap and pass to one of their props who rumbled deep against an Alumni side that may have started paying attention to the post match barbecue a little too soon. A quick recycle and the ball made it out to the senior #9 who powered over (yes, he ran over the defending back) for a try that he then converted to close out his high school carrier. I got to watch the senior ceremonies as I started back to work, always great to see young people closing one chapter and moving onto their next phase in life. Not a bad way to spend a warm Friday evening.


Date: 05/28/2016

UCSC 7 – Alumni 58

Referee: Freitas, Larry


Beautiful day at the UC Santa Cruz campus, with plenty of alumni for both the men’s and women’s matches.  Being that this is the 10th anniversary of the Lady Slugs winning the D2 championship, some from that squad were on the pitch or watching from the touchline.  The Alumnae featured a rather strong side, made up of many SFGG and a half dozen or more from last year’s varsity seniors.  The first try came at about 10 minutes, and one might say the floodgates were opened very quickly afterwards.  The school side did manage to score early in the second half after the Alums had put up 29 unanswered first half points.  The Alumnae put on a clinic for how to run the ball ahead vertically and keep the ball alive with players ripping off the ball from stood-up tackled team mates, or being there to pick up ball left behind by tackled team mates that had been put to ground.  It’s great that so many former players were on hand for the day, and I’m sure the school sides benefitted from the T shirt and sweat shirt sales.


Date: 06/04/2016

Bay JV 1 15 – Sac JV 1 55

Referee: Griffin, Scott


Two capable sides however Sac Valley had more experience and skills. Nice crowd in attendance.


Date: 06/04/2016

Tournament:  Rugby Ethos 7s


Referee: Richmond, Jeff


I had the privilege of refereeing the Women’s Final, one of six matches I did that day. All Blues dominated Golden Gate, 45-0. All Blues maintained good possession and quickly worked the ball to the outside. They had a pair of fast backs who were able to find openings in the GG line and slip attempts at tackles. GG’s few attacks were stifled by the All Blues solid defense.


The weather cooperated with temps in the 70’s, breezy, and cloudy skies most of the day. The referee corps (Bernstein, Bruno, Gordon, Pescetti, and Hinkin) acquitted itself well and the teams present showed good sportsmanship and quality play.


Referee: Bernstein, Bruce


Did 6 matches including the consolation losers bracket & Seahawks came back against a team from east of Sacto/Reno called the Renegades after barely losing their 1st match I did against Life by missing 2 of the conversions kicks (21-17) when Life showed up with only 4 players & stole 3 of Aptos 6 players-the fastest ones.

Fun for all refs (6 this time v. last year’s 3), players & fans.  Great semi-final match when O Club barely squeaked by Life in double overtime reffed by Jordan.  O Club went on to barely beat Santa Rosa with  10 Fijian LeBron James reffed by David wearing red as both teams did.



This Week’s Photo

The Northern California 7s Qualifier Referee Crew, Sacramento edition.  L-R: Phil Akroyd, Steven Fenaroli, Neil MacDonald, USA Rugby Intern Brendon Kozman, Favor Taueva, James Hinkin, Joe Devlin

Sitting: Ben Akroyd

Sac 7s refs

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For the Senate
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Fifteens Finales



Fifteens Finales


“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

-Frank Herbert


The sentiment above is especially true these days where rugby seems to have no off season.  The 15s portion of the year is winding down with championships and championship-like substances and, as expected, Pelicanland is well represented.   Congratulations are in order for Cal who beat BYU for the Varsity Cup and that goes double for UC Davis whose women beat Virginia to claim the D1 Spring National Championship and whose men beat Notre Dame College for the D1-AA National Championship.   Sacramento Amazons took home the Girls National High School Club Invitational Championship while Granite Bay matched them with the Boys National High School Club Invitational Championship.  Congratulations on your victories.


St Mary’s lost a heartbreaker to Life in the Di-A final while Life West and Sacramento Capitols lost in the national semifinals for D1 and D2 club.   SFGG also lost in the final of the PRP to ageless nemesis Mose Timoteo and the Glendale Raptors.   Great seasons for all of these clubs.


Yes, we do have the best rugby in the country here.   How many other unions can boast so many champions, finalists and semifinalists?


Annual Complaint About The Lack Of True Championships


After reading the previous section I am sure there will be a large contingent of angry letter-writers who will ask why I don’t recognize Cal as national champions?    Or Granite Bay?   After all, they put “national champion” on all of their press releases, Facebook posts, Twitterations, ect.   Why am I hating?


There will also be a group of deep thinkers who will sagely nod their heads at the accuracy of the nomenclature above and silently congratulate me on my journalistic rigor.


The problem is that USA Rugby, through mismanagement, arrogance and lack of resources, has lost control of many of their national championships and various clubs and organizations have stepped in to fill the gap.    This creates confusion across the landscape as Life University and Cal both are claiming the collegiate national championship.    This is, of course, nonsense – neither can claim it.   Cal has won the Varsity Cup, a 16 team invitational knockout competition that involves some of the best rugby teams in America as well as some absolute stinkers.   In the first round eventual finalists Cal beat Texas 138-0 and BYU beat ASU 113-8 and those were not the only blowouts.    The total score for round 1 was 507 to 92, averaging 65.375 to 11.5.  It didn’t get much better in round 2 where the winners of the 2 competitive games, Utah and Dartmouth got hammered 75-15 (BYU over Dartmouth) and 58-5 (Central Washington over Utah).   While there were some blowouts in the USA Rugby D1 playoffs they weren’t as large or consistent – it is obvious that these are not the 16 best teams in the country.  Varsity Cup teams are invited the same way the CRC invites teams: get a couple of rugby powerhouses, mix them in with some big name football factory schools to generate press, and then throw a bone to a small unknown with a solid program.


The USA Rugby D1A championship has in some ways more right to be called a national champion as it is a true play-in competition that takes conference/league winners and lets them play out.    The problem with them is that too many of the top teams opt out in order to play in the Varsity Cup.   You can’t claim a championship if you don’t play the best teams.


It says something about the state of your national championships when the most anticipated games of the year (Cal v St Marys, Life v Arkansas St, St Mary’s v BYU, ect) are mid-season friendlies because we know then can never play off against each other for hardware.


USA Rugby’s management of their national competitions was never so apparent as the awarding of a Spring National Championship to UC Davis.   This truly made no sense.   With the split season USA Rugby decided to crown a “cold weather” champion in the fall and have them play off in the spring against the “warm weather” champion.   The only problem is that U Conn, who won the fall event, declined in January to go because of conflicts with finals.   USA Rugby sat on this information until a couple of weeks before the final, and then decided to essentially award 2 championships.   So who is the Women’s D1 champion?    Neither, again, because apparently the D1 women need to be treated differently than every other collegiate championship USA Rugby operates.


The high school championships are also in much the same boat as the Varsity Cup in that it is an invitational tournament rather than a play in championship.  The organizers do try to get the best teams there but rugby ability is not always the first priority.   The organization and strength of the club are also taken into consideration as well as ability to travel.  Apparently there have been some very late cancellations and no-shows in the past so they are trying to cover their bases and insure a full tournament.   This isn’t a bad thing and from all accounts it was forced on the organizers when the previous iteration of the tournament threatened to collapse, but it does mean this isn’t a true national championship.


So where does all of that lead us?   I used to be all up in arms about this incredible injustice – especially when I was still playing and this idea of a competition not controlled by USA Rugby first started with the Super League.    I knew from results both nationally and locally – both head to head and via common opponents – that my club was better than half the clubs in the Super League and yet they were considered a higher level, elite competition?   #@&%$ them!


Nowadays I am a bit more sanguine about it.  Rugby is being played now more than ever and it is even on TV.   I limit myself to this annual rant and maybe a smaller one for the CRC and after that?  I’ll take my cue from Jeff Lebowski and realize that well, you know, it’s just my opinion, man.  The Dude abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope more Pelican teams make the finals.


Ask A Pelican


Yes, it’s time for this week’s installment of “Ask A Pelican”, the widely loved Q and A session with Hail Pelicus.   This week’s question will be the final one of the year and is a special one as it comes from Trolly McTrollface of Underbridge, CA who gets this honor by virtue of being the 1,000,000th commenter on the Hail Pelicus youtube channel, “Hailing Pelicus and the Risible Rants”.   Let’s see what Trolly wants to ask:


“Thank you for the honor – I never knew sitting at my computer all day and night would lead to such a moment as this.   As a longtime follower of HP I am always impressed with the new and exciting innovations that you have brought in, such as the user poll to rename Performance Reviewers and, of course, the Ask A Pelican section.   My question is, are you planning anything for next year and, if so, can you give us a sneak peek?”


Thank you for your dedication Mr McTrollface – it is fans like you that make this all worthwhile.  The answer to your question is a resounding YES.    The editors here at Hail Pelicus are always looking to improve the product we produce and, by extension, the experience of the readers.   One thing we are particularly excited about is our upcoming series for Epic Rap Battles Of History.   If you aren’t familiar with these look them up on youtube.   Our first Epic Rap Battle will feature Bruce Carter against Ed Todd.   We are also looking to set up other great battles such as Pete Smith vs Ben Parker.   I just can’t wait to hear their sick rhymes.


Well, that’s it for this season, and Ask A Pelican will be back with the next 15s season.   Until then, keep those questions coming even throughout the summer!   After all, if we get a particularly good one we may just put a bonus item in.


NCRRS Awards Banquet


This Saturday May 28 we are gorging ourselves and honoring our own.  This feast is one of the highlights of the year so I hope everyone has already signed up.    Attire is formal – dress to impress.  Mascot checks will be enforced.   Please see banquet details below.


Where:  Scott’s Seafood in Walnut Creek

Address: 1333 N. California Blvd. Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Telephone Number: (925) 934-0598


Doors open at 6:30 with lite hors d’oeuvres being served until 7:15. We’ll have a bar set up to order your own drinks and an extra one for the Hail Pelicus staff.  Dinner will commence at approximately 7:15.


The coveted Pelican Awards (aka The Pellies) will be handed out once the meal is finished and we are noshing on our desserts.



Here’s the link needed to order your entree and dessert choices for you and your guests:

Please complete your food choices no later than Wednesday, May 25


EDITOR’S NOTE:  This was mostly transcribed directly from Pelicus Iudex Pennipes’ group email.   You will have noticed that I got rid of the “1830 hrs” nonsense and translated the times into proper format.   You’re welcome.   Not all of us were in the military, Paul.


Sevens And the NFL


WE have been chronicling the journey of Nate Ebner as he attempted to make the transition from the NFL to 7s rugby.  Apparently one of our followers here in Pelicanland read about Nate in Hail Pelicus and decided that he, too, could transition to the 7s circuit from the NFL.  Yes, Jarrod Hayne decided to leave the 49ers and bring the Hayne Train to Fiji and try to make the Olympic team.   It always makes us at Hail Pelicus feel all warm and gooey inside when someone gets inspired by our writings.   It makes it all worthwhile.


The Great Ebner Experiment Continues


So London came and went and the World Sevens Series has finished.   The big question now is did Nate Ebner do enough to make the Olympic team?   I know that NBC sure hopes so as well as the formless void currently in charge of USA Rugby.   Ebner’s story  is tailor made for one of NBC’s patented Olympic Athlete Fluff Piece and you just can’t buy that kind of publicity.   The only opinion that matters, however, belongs to Mike Friday.   It is telling that last week Nate was dropped from the squad to give other players a look and that the US played much better in London, finishing 3rd after beating both New Zealand and Fiji, than in any other tournament Nate was in.   Is that entirely on him?   Of course not – there were other changes and a myriad of different circumstances.    Personally I think that Nate did very well but my feeling is that he will not make the squad.  We shall all find out when Friday makes his announcement this summer.


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

  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 the following video:

On To The Game Reports!


Date: 05/05/2016

Danville 72 – McClatchy 10

Referee: Gordon, Preston


Both teams were clearly well motivated for this playoff game, which was the first round of a 3-day tournament for the Pacific Coast area. As you saw from the score, it was somewhat one-sided, but there was still lots going on. Danville wasted little time getting on the board, scoring a converted try in just the 2nd minute. Their good runners, interplay, and propensity to break tackles resulted in 3 more tries in the first half, at 6′, 10′, and 17′ (all converted). McClatchy did fairly well when they were able to get possession of the ball, which was not as often as they would have liked, and they got a well-deserved but unconverted try at 22′. The following 8 minutes of the (30-minute) half were full of ball movement and more good running, but no further scoring. Then, just before halftime, Danville’s #5 performed a dangerous tackle on an opponent, tipping him past horizontal so he landed on his upper back/shoulder area. He was sent off, and the half ended at 28-5 shortly thereafter.


The second half started much the same way as the first, with Danville scoring a converted try in the 2nd minute. This time, McClatchy got the next one in the 7th minute, though they couldn’t convert it. At 35-10, I was wondering if McClatchy could take advantage of their 14-man opponents and score a couple more tries to make things really interesting. It was not to be – Danville scored again at 10′ and 12′ (converted) to restore their healthy lead, before adding 2 more tries at 19′ and 21′. Their replacement kicker couldn’t convert those two, but it didn’t seem to matter because it was hard to notice that Danville was missing a player (except at the scrums, of course). They went on to score again at 28′ (unconverted) and at 29′, which the kicker finally converted, to leave things at 72-10.


Danville clearly has something good going and I later heard that they’re ranked #1 in the nation. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but they ought to do well in the rest of this tournament. Thanks to the 3 different people that helped as ARs throughout the game.


The pace of this high school game reminded me a little bit of the one I reffed in April 2010 when Napier HS (from NZ) played a combined EPA/San Mateo/Hayward side at Stanford. I was surprised to see that I had covered nearly 3 miles in a 60-minute game, which (if extrapolated) is more than most men’s games produce. If we ignore the infrequent sideways running, this is a really good sign for the future.


Date: 05/05/2016

Red Mountain 27 – SD Mustangs 12

Referee: Carney, Mark


No report received


Date: 05/05/2016

Union HS 11 – Kahuku HS  29

Referee: Devlin, Joe


No report received


Date: 05/06/2016

San Francisco Tech Bros 28 – Marsupial Pouch Maggots 12

Referee: Lew, Tim


Bay barbarians vs Union from Vancouver BC. Bay Barbarians showed up 15 minutes before kickoff which is normally a bad sign. But the Barbarians ended up scoring the first 12 points. The barbarians athletism showed with a handful of individual tries.


EDITOR’S NOTE:  Great report, Tim, and I’m glad to know that one team scored the first 12 points.   Pity both teams scored more than 12 so we have no idea who won the game.  See Bryant’s report below.


Date: 05/06/2016

McClatchy 22 – Mustangs 17

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant


This was a second day game of the three day Pacific Cup, an invitational tournament on TI of the best boy’s high school teams in the West. It was also wet.


My match was McClatchy of Sacto and The Mustangs from San Diego. It was skilled rugby, hotly contested-won in overtime. McClatchy played a gunslinger style, slashing and relying on its backs. The Mustangs had a more deliberate approach, keeping the ball more in a nice sized and skilled pack.


McClatchy scored first and at half was up 12-5 (I think; my card is too soggy to read). But the Mustangs persevered and tied it at 17-17 at the end of regulation time. With a minute left in OT, McClatchy utilized a penalty to dot it in the corner for a 22-17 win.


Great thanks to Tim and Matthew, the Magnificent Mulhollands- both are referees who are associated with the Danville Oaks. They did about as fine a job of ARing as I have seen; lucky to have them. And another of the sons was the 4th official.


Date: 05/07/2016

UC Davis Women 30 – Virginia Women 25

Referee: Bryant, Lee


No report received


Date: 05/07/2016

Notre Dame College 34 – UC Davis 38

Referee: Akroyd, Phil

AR: MacDonald, Neil

AR: Fenaroli, Steven


What a great game to end my college season.  Two very evenly matched teams, as you would hope, went at it in the stadium at SMC.


The rain started about 10 minutes before kick-off and ended as I blew the final whistle.  If only the weather had been dry, I think the score would have been something like 34-38.  There was so much talent on the field and a decent amount of compliance too.  UCD took a while to drop into their game plan of hoofing the ball down the field and refusing to play in their own half.  NDC often tried to run it back with their usually outstanding running back three, but would often knock it on or lose the ball somehow.


The scrums were well matched and the lineouts the same, so it would come down to who could break the opposition line more frequently, and in the end, Davis showed some quick opportunistic thinking by chipping over the backs with nobody at home for one try and quick tapping when the defense assumed they would kick for points for another.  Super smart play by Davis won them the game and the repeat of the D1-AA championship.


Credit has to go to NDC who still played some awesome rugby, despite the conditions and I genuinely thought they were going to open up the taps and run away with it in the second half.  I can see that they will be around a lot in the future and I’ll be happy to see them again.


Thanks to Neil MacDonald and Steven Fenaroli who made up an all NorCal national champ team of three and gave some great input, as well as RDC who was great at #4 too.


Date: 05/07/2016

St Mary’s 20 – Life University 24

Referee: Kelly, Mike

AR: Akroyd, Phil

AR: Kurt “Dream” Weaver


Reffed by Mike Kelly and A/Rd by myself and Kurt Weaver.  I’m not going to describe the game because it wouldn’t do it justice, just watch the video replay.  The fans were great, the venue was perfect, the match official crew was outstanding.  On a side note, I don’t think that a single yellow card was given over the five games.  That’s college rugby at its best.  I wish every weekend was as fun as that, even with the rain.


This Week’s Photo

Getting ready for the summer sevens season is our own David Pescetti.   That’s a good look you got going there.

Pescetti Tan Line

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre