Category Archives: News

The Sky Is Falling!



The Sky Is Falling!


With the meteorological conditions that have assailed Pelicanland over the last few years many of the flock may have recently been startled by small, individual packets of dihydrogen monoxide falling relentlessly to the earth causing chaos and widespread panic. Yes, my fellow pelecanidae, it is raining in California.   And not just any rain, but great rivers are falling, descending upon the land and, as I type this, Northern California is preparing for the Storm of the Century.   I, however, will have to rely on the usual keen eyewitness testimony that Hail Pelicus thrives on as I am boarding a plane to Hawai’i tomorrow and will miss all the excitement. More on that trip next week.


Congratulations to the 2014 Pelicus Award winners


At the annual banquet last June several Pelicans were honored for their hard work, dedication and contributions to the Society.   Here are the award winners – let them be honored:


Tim Lew – Rookie of the Year

Lee Bryant – Most Imprved

Ambassador of the Society – Kat Todd

Pelicus Scriptorus – Todd Zanarini

Assistant Referee of the Year – Mark Godfrey

Bryan Porter Award – Mike King

Pelican of the Year – Eric Rauscher


December Society Meeting


This month’s meeting will be held December 17th 7:00 PM @ the SFGG Clubhouse   Please note that the monthly society meeting is set for December 17th, NOT December 10th, as was stated at our AGM and most recently in Hail Pelicus.  There was a conflict for December 10th. For our meeting we will be discussing:

  • tackle scenarios
  • incident reporting
  • Pre-match responsibilities
  • Referee Coaching/feedback

All referees interested in receiving additional training are encouraged to attend as well as anyone interested in what the referees are thinking when we make that critical call against your side.


2014 registration


Referees need to be CIPP’d too! Don’t forget to get registered with USA rugby.  Once you’ve registered send your society dues, $10.00, to Jim Crenshaw.


Assignr – making match reporting and assigning easier since 2014


The NCRFU will continue to use the assignr system for assignments and match reports.   Please make sure that your availability is correctly listed on the site – if you aren’t listed as available you probably won’t get assigned.   Under “My Availability” you can make yourself available for a block of dates and then recuse yourself for specific dates if needed.   Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, ASSIGNR IS NOT WHERE YOU REPORT MISCONDUCT. The report section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below.   If there are red cards or reportable yellow cards in your match then report them via the channels described on


Upcoming Courses


Coaching Certificate


A Level 300 Coaching certification will be offered Dec 20,21 hosted by SFGG on Treasure Island. Link for registration:

See course listing for prerequisites.


Exchange Notes


This report comes from Stephen Valerio in Switzerland


People who aren’t enlightened about rugby often ask, ”What is so great about the sport?’ I recently had an opportunity that perfectly answers this question. I had an extended business trip in Europe that left me with a free Saturday in Basel, Switzerland. Basel sits in the northwest corner of the country right where the borders of Switzerland, France and Germany meet.

Preston Gordon was able to put me in contact with the Swiss Rugby Referee Society and I was given the opportunity to officiate a match between Basel Future vs Zug in a Swiss National League C match. Paul de Wouters, a fellow colleague in our large, multinational company, met me at the tram. That’s when I discovered a jacket and tie would have been a better choice than my warm-up suit. I enjoyed the changing room and clubhouse where I was told the club was lucky, as they generally only had to share their pitch with an American football team, since they both required the same posts. After dressing for the match, I stood in the middle of the pitch wondering why the two clubs weren’t joining me on the pitch. Paul came on the pitch and explained that I needed to go on the sideline and lead the squads on. Note, when traveling outside the US, spending some extra time on cultural elements would be a good call.

Mercifully we got onto to rugby, which was refreshingly familiar (thankfully both clubs were English-speaking). Zug had been late to the match due to traffic, but once we got underway they got right to work. Basel Future struggled with the mauls coming off of the lineouts and Zug was generally quicker to the ruck, putting Basel on pressure throughout. Zug put 5 tries over in the first half and took a 31-0 lead into the half.

The second half got choppier as Basel ran out of front rows and Zug’s substitutions weren’t as skillful. Zug still got 3 more tries across, but Basel Future put Zug under some extreme pressure and after several penalties, I had to award a penalty try. This led to another unique experience as I spoke to the Zug captain after I awarded the try, one of the other Zug players called the squad around to listen. He then started yelling at them to stop committing penalties. I have never seen that in the US. Matters then did settle for the rest of the match and it closed with Zug 52-7 winners.

I then got to run as an Assistant Referee for a National League A match between Basel and Hermance. Hugues Steyner was much better suited to handle the French-speaking Hermance side, which came out 37-17 winners.

After the match we enjoyed a few beers and compared our experiences in Switzerland and the US. If anyone ever has the opportunity to referee a match in Switzerland, I highly recommend it. It was a great time. Many thanks to Paul for shepherding me around, and to Preston for putting me into contact with the Swiss referee society.


This Week’s Photo Dr Bruce Carter after refereeing in one of the most beautiful settings in the world at the University of California at Santa Cruz with the Pacific Ocean in the background

Bruce in Santa Cruz




Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre



HP Is Back!



HP Is Back!


The rumors are true: we’re back!   After essentially taking the whole summer off from Hailing the Pelicus the beloved organ of the Northern California Rugby Referee Society has shaken off the dust and is ready to go into full squawking mode.   We have much to cover so I will limit the introductory comments – don’t count on that in the future, however.


Thank you, Preston


Preston Gordon asked the board to accept his resignation as the Referee Development Officer due to work commitments.  The society owes Preston a debt of gratitude and our thanks for his service.  Vicki Hudson will be filling Preston’s role as RDO.  She graciously accepted the challenge to further develop our society’s skills and is in the process of developing this year’s agenda.


Highlights of the 2014 AGM as reported by NCRRS President Paul Bretz:


  • Pete Smith has taken over as the scheduler for the NCRFU; he now is responsible for setting the master schedule for the league as well as communicating referee assignments.
  • Pete outlined the idea of “super-sites”, multiple matches at the same venue throughout the day, and the sponsorship opportunities currently in the works.  This year’s season will be very enjoyable for all stakeholders.
  • Dave Williamson discussed youth rugby.
  • Paul Bretz hit on changes in store for referee coaching.  Coaches will be inputting their information into a database which will provide the opportunity for coaches to see referee trends and track progress.  Referees will also be asked to provide input about the coaching experience as a means to improve referee development and referee coaching.  Coaches will be shown the system in December.
  • Paul Bretz and Pete Smith provided instructional sessions on officiating the tackle and the location of penalties in relation to the field.


Beep Test


In order to progress as a referee one needs to meet fitness standards. This is measured by the infamous beep test and was administered at the AGM.   Tests will be administered at upcoming meetings if there is sufficient interest.


  • 14 brave members participated in the beep test
  • Congratulations to Chris Tucker and Jordan Bruno…14.8 and 13.12 respectively on the beep
  • Tom Zanarini, Phil Akroyd, Jen Tetler all scored at least 12 on the test
  • James Hinkin was unable to take the test due to a strained hip but mentally ran a 13.4.

Future society meetings


The society is in the process of booking its monthly training sessions and is looking to reserve the following dates:

  • December 10,
  • January 21,
  • February 18,
  • March 18,
  • April 15
  • May 13


Keep a close eye on this newsletter for date confirmation.


2014 registration


Referees need to be CIPP’d too! Don’t forget to get registered with USA rugby.  Once you’ve registered send your society dues, $10.00, to Jim Crenshaw.


Assignr – making match reporting and assigning easier since 2014


The NCRFU will continue to use the assignr system for assignments and match reports.   Please make sure that your availability is correctly listed on the site – if you aren’t listed as available you probably won’t get assigned.   Under “My Availability” you can make yourself available for a block of dates and then recuse yourself for specific dates if needed.   Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, ASSIGNR IS NOT WHERE YOU REPORT MISCONDUCT. The report section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below.   If there are red cards or reportable yellow cards in your match then report them via the channels described on


Upcoming Courses


Level 1 Officiating Course

A level 1 course will he held on December 7, 2014 from 7:45 am – 5:00 pm



Location:  Redwood High School, 395 Doherty Drive, Larkspur, CA
Please see for details or contact the Lead Educator: Mike Malone at


Coaching Certificate

A Level 300 Coaching certification will be offered Dec 20,21 hosted by SFGG on Treasure Island. Link for registration:

See course listing for prerequisites.


Pelicus winners


Jim Crenshaw – The Stare remains strong with this one


Yes, we know what we did wrong and we are sorry.


Exchange Notes


David Pescetti and Jordan Bruno were our representatives for this year’s Alberta exchange. Here are their reports:


Jordan Bruno


I flew into Calgary International a day before our nation celebrated its birthday to visit our northern neighbor.  David Robinson, President of the society, greeted me at the gate and I went back to gear up for a busy Fourth of July.  I happened to visit Calgary the day of their largest parade and rodeo, an event that draws thousands from all over the globe on an annual basis.  It is the largest cash prize rodeo around, with two million dollars in prize money distributed over a few days.  With the Canadian dollar trading at 94 cents to the American dollar, that’s still a lot of money.  It was like Texas in Canada. Bronco riding, bull riding, barrel races, and calf roping, the event drew the best competitors from North America.  That evening David and I made it over to the venue for the Stampede 7s tournament to officiate a few evening 7s matches.  The fields were in great condition, all 5 of them, with the last overlooking downtown Calgary and the snow capped Rocky Mountains in the distance.  Calgary’s economy has been doing well with 60% of the local economy coming from oil and gas, evidence being a tower built in the 70s dwarfed by newly constructed office towers.  I was told I could still go to the top of Calgary Tower, but did not have a lot of interest after hearing that you had a better view of people working on the 40th floor of the neighboring office than of the surrounding city.  The next morning was more rugby—matches started at 8 and as refs straggles in from celebrating the night before, we realized we had more than enough hands on deck for ARs and in touch for all the matches, with plenty of breaks to go around.  Teams were mainly from Canada, with a US select side that made it pretty far into the playoffs.  The Cannibal Rugby Team did very well, albeit without their most well known player.  Jerry Collins, the well known New Zealand All-Black, made his way to Canada after playing in Japan, and practiced with their all islander side.  It was rumored that while playing in Japan, Collins got involved with a girlfriend of one of the Yakuza gang members.  Fearing for his life, he held up a liquor store with a rubber gun to get deported.  This of course voided his contract and brought him to Canada.  The story itself was a fine substitute for seeing the legend in action.  The Cannibals in fact beat out the US Select Side in the finals to the tune of 44-0.  A great weekend of rugby with a great referee society.  This reciprocal exchange is definitely something that more of our referees will enjoy in the future.


David Pescetti

Calgary, Alberta Canada

Thursday June 5 – Sunday June 8, 2014

Rugby Alberta, Exchange with Alberta Rugby Society


Last week I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to travel to Alberta, Canada for the Provincial Championships held in Calgary. It was rugby filled two day event with two tears of both boys and girls schools competing for the right to call themselves champions of Alberta. Matches were played at the Calgary Rugby Union (CRU). A beautiful facility with 5 pitches overlooking downtown Calgary and the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I was hosted by stellar referee Andrew Petti. Magically the skies parted for both days and the sun was shining, amazing weather for rugby both days. Onto Day 1!

Day 1: Arrived at the CRU at 8am to get ready, attend coaches meeting, and referees meeting. Began the day with two AR assignments.

First was West Island vs West Central a battle over the west. It was a close, hard fought match with West Central prevailing 15 – 5 over West Island in the 40 minute contest.

My second match was a match between Winston Churchill vs Rimbey. Unfortunately Winston Churchill was too strong and too fast for Rimbey. Final score Winston Churchill 42 – Rimbey 10. I was given an hour break before my first match center match.

Western Canada vs Holy Trinity Acadamy: Western Canada is a strong team from a strong rugby school. HTA was new to the scene for girl’s rugby. Western Canada was more organized and played better defense. HTA had the athletes to compete but seemed unsure when attacking and could not recover when things got messy. HTA was able to put points on the board through broken plays but they were unable to consistently run phases necessary to punch it in. The final: Western Canada 33 – Holy Trinity Acadamy 12. HTA has a promising future with their athletes and great coaches at their school.

Directly following my match I moved scampered over to a new assignment, Winston Churchill vs West Central. I had the pleasure of working with a great New Zealand referee. She had great command over the game and I was able to learn a lot listening to her over coms. Winston Churchill’s pack behind the play of their 8-man was able to out muscle West Central. They made great moves off the scrum and were able to catch West Central unprepared in the first half. While the second half was slower because West Central caught onto Churchill’s 8-man play, the overall game was much the same. Winston Churchill 30 – West Central 7.

With the 2nd round of the tournament underway I had to rush over to my next assignment. Two teams fought for their right to advance, Assumption/Cold vs Beaumont. A game which was back and forth, eventually Beaumont prevailed with the speed in their backs. Beaumont 22 – Assumption/Cold 14.

Directly after this match I made my way to my second center match of the day, Medicine Hat vs Lloydminster. Med Hat had a size advantage over Lloyd. During the game Med Hat’s size allowed them to break the tackles of Lloyd and push their advantage as a result of these breakaways. Lloyd played with tremendous heart, never showing an ounce of frustration or meekness, despite the size and physical disparity. Behind the superb play of the Med Hat fly half, they took a sizable lead and never looked back, ending the game with a 15 meter drop goal. Med Hat 58 – Lloydminster 0.

After, I was able to relax for a little bit before my last AR assignment for the day. An evening match between two 3rd division men’s teams, pitting the Canucks vs the Rams. Being able to be the fly on the wall with multiple high level refs and listening in on their conversations with coaches on current issues how they handle them is quite informative. The teams were two big groups of men with powerful scrums. As last year’s reigning champions, the Canucks are on the road to repeat. Their play did not disappoint. Powerful scrums with support at the rucks. The Canucks flustered the Rams with their defense. The Rams ultimately had a player sent off close to the end of the game, which sealed the win for the Canucks. The final result was Canucks 29 – Rams 10.

After being at the pitch for 12 hours it was nice to get out of the boots, relax with the rest of the crew, and enjoy a pint with a view.


Day 2: After day one I felt like I was going to lose a few toenails. Putting on my socks and boots wasn’t painful but left me nails and by extension me, uneasy, as if the pain was just beyond the horizon. Luckily, once into my boots there was nothing but rugby ahead.

My day began with the Consolation championships between West Island College and Parkland Comp. It was a very back and forth game. 5 lead changes throughout the match. The players were in good spirits yet visibly tired. The scrums due to the fitness of the players began to suffer, after seeing how other referees handled the scrums in the past weekend helped me address the issues better than I have previously. The longer match, 60 minutes as opposed to 40 the previous day, began to wear on both teams as the game went on. Tackles became lazier and weaker. The game ended in a 24 – 24 tie. The challenge of being a player down seemed to energize Parkland. Despite being a man down Parkland Comp took the extra 10 minutes in decisive fashion, scoring a converted try and a penalty kick to snatch the win in an extremely hard fought match from West Island College. Parkland Comp 34 – West Island College 24. Both teams played their heart out and it was my pleasure to be the match official during this game.

After this game I was again in the center for a tier 3 Men’s match where Banff would play the Calgary Saracens. This match I would be without AR, I had been spoiled the entire weekend until that game. I had a lot to absorb from my previous match. This match was more difficult than previous matches due to my own fatigue, beginning to lose my voice, and both teams testing my limits as far as what they could get away with. It was a great challenge for me to referee this game with two formidable teams. Both fought hard in the scrums with Banff being a bit craftier. The kicking game was used heavily by both teams to great effect. Banff had the more consistent play throughout the match. The game went to full time with Banff coming out on top after the full 80 minute contest. Banff 34 – Saracens 24.

I was able to ref with someone who had a US Rugby referee jersey, but I could not find anyone with their NCRRS Pelican jersey on. However, everyone was jealous of the reversible jersey I had on most of the weekend.


My last match, I was able to be on AR for an Alberta Premier Cup match between Strathcona Druids and Calgary Saints. This was a highly contested match with two teams with very similar styles. Mid-range sized packs with amazing quick backs. The Druids began to dominate the Saints with the Druid loose-head overpowering the Saints Tight-head, which lead to a pushover try from a scrum at the 5 meter line. The back play by both teams was superb. The smoothness and power displayed by both teams was great to be a part of. The high level of rugby on display led to a back and forth 1st half. In the second half the Saints displayed more brilliance after weathering the 1st storm brought by the Druids. Saints back-line play was too good for the Druids. With minutes to go I popped my Red card cherry. The final: Calgary Saints 43 – Strathacona Druids 22.

Amazingly after my last game it was time to head out, thankfully before I had to buy rounds of pitchers for all the remaining match officials who were last because I had a tie game, its tradition (I was told). I had to quickly shower and dress in my Number 1s for an elegant dinner.

After two amazing days of rugby and people at the Calgary Rugby Union it was time to head to a celebration of more rugby, the Presidents dinner at the Calgary Canadian Irish Athletic Club. The three visiting referees: Trevor Honey, Brett Hay, and myself along with our hosts: David Robinson, Kim Godeseth and Andrew Petti respectively were invited to join an amazing fundraiser for the Calgary Irish Rugby Club. Amazing food, laughter, and company led to a great evening full of thoughtful discussions about the future of rugby and hockey as viewed by President of the Calgary Flames (NHL Hockey team) and Board member of Rugby Canada Brian Burke.

Left to Right: Kim Godeseth, Trevor Honey, Brett Hay, David Robinson, David Pescetti, Andrew Petti

Andrew warned me at the beginning of my trip that Rugby Alberta loves to run visiting referees into the ground. While I believed him I was not prepared for the 10 matches in 2 days totaling 540 minutes refereed. With a tired body I was ready to leave lovely Canada and return to warmer California and a bath full of epsom salts.

I would like to thank everyone for your help in making this amazing event come together for me. It was an amazing experience, one I will remember for a long time.

My thanks goes to:

David Robinson for coordinating the exchange with NCRRS.

Andrew Petti for putting up with me in his wonderful home.

To all the amazing referees I met out in Alberta over the weekend.

Bjorn Stumer for organizing the NCRRS side of this exchange.

And finally the Board of the NCRRS for allowing me the privilege of participating in this wonderful program.


Thank you, David Pescetti


This Week’s Photo I was humbled to be asked to pose for my first ever magazine shoot. I like the way it turned out.

James Rugby Cover


Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre



Le roi est mort, vive le roi!



Le roi est mort, vive le roi!


Of course, in our case the dead king would be the 15s season and the new king would be 7s.


With the turning of the seasons we have had a little break here at Hail Pelicus as nothing much was going on, to be honest.   Congratulations to Cal as they managed to avoid a trophyless season with a victory at the CRC 7s Invitational while the stellar seasons of Life West and the Sacramento Amazons ended in finals agony.   I expect very good things from these two programs in the future as they build on the success of this past season.


That doesn’t mean that Hail Pelicus is devoid of things to talk about.   In spite of what the talking idiots on NBC or rugbymag (rebranded as Rugby Today) says, the CRC is not a national championship.   It is an invitational tournament that picks a couple of good rugby programs, adds some big name football schools and rounds it out with local teams.   Why? Because NBC is only interested in ratings and selling tickets. Now don’t get me wrong – I love the CRC. It is an exciting national venue for our sport and I would have sold my brother’s left kidney to participate (pick a brother – I have three).   It just isn’t a national championship.


That being said, the “official” USA Rugby version isn’t a national championship either, though it comes closer. To make that tournament you have play your way in, which is why the CRC is categorized as an invitational, not a championship.   The USA Rugby championship doesn’t qualify because too many teams – and too many top teams – just don’t care and don’t bother going even if they win their qualifier.


So what do we have? The overall quality of teams is probably better at the CRC – the lure of TV and a professional environment is strong – but most teams are chosen based on factors aside from skill at rugby.   The USA Rugby version has the correct play in format that allows for anyone to enter and qualify, but too many teams ignore it because USA Rugby is notoriously bad at organizing anything and force the teams to pay their own way.   I unfortunately see this stalemate continuing for the foreseeable future.


Tragedy in Sacramento


A few days ago a young rugger for the Sacramento Lions, Roy Ravana Jr, was needlessly gunned down.   He was a Fijian track star who had converted to rugby and had talent and excitement reminiscent of Jovesa Naivalu, the former Fijian Olympic hurdler who represented the USA in both 7s and 15s. He was set to go to the University of Louisiana on a track and field scholarship in the fall.   Our hearts go out the the Ravana family and the entire Sacramento rugby community.


If you would like to donate money to help with funeral arrangements or to help out the family in their time of need go to and click on the Paypal button. When you make your donation please put “For the Roy Ravana Fund” (or something similar) in the Message to Seller comment box so the Lions know that your donation is for this fund.


Banquets, Seminars And A Rivalry Match


Don’t forget that while the USA Eagles will be taking on the Canadian Moose Excrements June 21 in Sacramento, the NCRRS will also be holding our Annual Awards Banquet Saturday after the game.   You should already have reserved your spot as the deadline for notification was June 4. If you haven’t told him already, “Smiling” Jim Crenshaw needs to know what you (and your guest) would like for dinner.

The choices are: New York Steak  Chicken with a mushroom sauce Broiled Salmon Vegetarian We are having it at the Delta King in Old Sacramento.  The bar opens at 6 and dinner is at 7.

Please send an email to Jim at with your food choices and how many guests you are bringing.  All NCRRS members receive a free meal – guests cost $50.00.


Last but not least, the NCRRS Nor Cal Summit On The Game will be (amazingly) held in conjunction with the USA Canada match and the NCRRS Society Banquet.   This Summit is a forum for best practices and principals of Coaching, Refereeing and Administration to be discussed and presented on by some of our best local assets and resources and is designed to be tailored specifically to issues surrounding Northern California rugby.


The Summit begins on Friday evening, June 20th at 6:00PM and will run until 9:00pm and will start back up again on Saturday morning at 9:00AM and go until Noon, leaving plenty of time to socialize before the 3:00PM Match Kickoff.    All details can be found here:


Some USA Rugby Development Programs Program Videos


Try on Rugby Year in Review – We received a grant for $30,000 from Proctor & Gamble to expand TOR. This grant sunsets in June and this video is part of our report to them, as well as our application for the coming year’s grant (we are asking for more!).






Rookie Rugby – Playground to Podium is our general initiative to get folks focused on youth development as their contribution to the Olympic movement. This video is meant to show the potential for these young folks to grow up through our system and represent our country!


RR –



And Now, On To The Games…


Date: 05/24/2014

UC Santa Cruz 5 – Alumni 54

Referee: Hinkin, James


Driving to Santa Cruz on a perfect Memorial Day Saturday was not something I looked forward to but, while longer, the meandering snake over the mountains on highway 9 was nice enough and the destination was a holiday brochure’s dream.   I arrived at the UCSC campus to experience sunny skies with low to mid 70s temperatures and prepared for the first official sunburn of summer. (Over the years I have learned that sunburn can’t be avoided, only mitigated.) Some slight confusion on my part when I arrived at the rugby field to see it overrun with youth soccer players, but that was resolved when I made the hike to the upper fields.   As I approached the plateau I was reassured to see goalposts creeping up over my horizon and eventually the UCSC women’s alumni game in full swing, ably managed by Pelicus Scriptoris.   All was well, rugby was happening.


The game itself was played in good spirits as both sides were eager to show off for the other.   Unfortunately the experience and size of the alumni was too much for the students to handle and they ran in 10 tries on the afternoon.   The UCSC team managed to get a well deserved try in the second half but rarely threatened to score at any other time.   A great game and a social to follow – Saturday’s a rugby day.



Date: 05/24/2014

UC Santa Cruz Women 38 – Alumni 12

Referee: Carter, Bruce


Living less than an hour from the gorgeous UCSC campus, I have refereed several games and tournaments there each year since I began refereeing in the 1980s. So it was that excitement accompanied this assignment: it would be a reunion of sorts for me as well as for the players.


Another perfect day in Pelicanland. I got up at 2:19 (that’s AM, folks) when my wife was called in to work and as usual, I couldn’t get back to sleep.


The early morning hours of May 24 were scheduled to host a once-in-a-lifetime viewing of the Camelopardalids so I was up and outside, reclining on the roof with a great view of the northern sky.


Most named meteor showers are annual, occurring when the Earth intersects the orbits of comets or former comets. This one we normally miss, but Jupiter’s gravity has bent the track our way for once.


It might not have bothered: I saw two meteorites bright enough to catch the eye in an hour, and half a dozen I would not have noticed if not already looking at their apparent point of origin.


After I went inside and read for a while, it was light enough to ride my bicycle. Been training for a benefit ride around Lake Tahoe next weekend, and that means training on rugby days as well. So I got in 50 miles before breakfast – before coffee, even! This, for those who knew the younger me, is not normal behavior.


By ten I had reverted to normal behavior, revving up the Pelicanmobile and heading up Highway 1, following the dreamy curve of the Monterey Bay, then ascending to the home pitch of the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.


The years collapse into one at such events. I speak to players I remember as if from a few months ago who graduated 3 or 4 years ago. Another player, who graduated 15 years ago, recalled playing to my whistle and I remembered her smiling face, bright disposition and positive play.


Got another one for the Rugby Bartletts. An alumna warming up said, “”I don’t wear a scrum cap anymore, since I’m not in school and don’t need my brain.””


Perhaps she’s one of Dilbert’s co-workers?


The game was a ton of fun. The casual alumnae started slowly – fourteen players – and picked it up, with sixteen players on the pitch at one point in the second half.


Phase play and rucking was pretty good on both sides, but the students’ backline dazzled with interpassing, no-look passing, unusual formations and just plain, good old-fashioned noses for the line.


We all broke a sweat, worked up a thirst, and celebrated the joys of the oval ball together.



Date: 05/30/2014

PMRC CR1 12 – PMRC CR2 22

Referee: Smith, Pete


Nothing like top level collegiate women’s rugby. Great game that was back and forth. Plenty of speed and intensity with easily less than 10 penalties for the game. They came to play and display their abilities and not muck about with destructive play. A real pleasure to ref!!!




This Week’s Photo


Pelicus Scriptorus gets photobombed by goalposts and the Pacific Ocean while trying to retain his dignity.

Bruce in Santa Cruz


Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre




The Most Significant Game Of The Year



The Most Significant Game Of The Year


Ave Maria!

The Most Significant Game Of The Year in American rugby took place in Moraga last Saturday when St Mary’s took on and conquered Cal. The previous statement is not hyperbole and in fact may be a bit understated – this may have been the most significant game of the Decade. This game did not decide any championship. This game did not count towards any league standings and was, in fact, a “friendly” as if there was anything friendly about the contest. Respect, yes – tons of it. I would not be surprised if many of the participants were friends before the match or will become friends later on, but on the day and on the field this was a hard hitting game of rugby whose quality the USA has not produced very often at any level. But why is this match so significant? Cal, for all its years of dominance, has lost domestic games before and recently as well. BYU has been a thorn in their side pushing the Golden Bears and taking last year’s Varsity Cup with a thrilling finish. Stanford had a memorable win in the 90s in league play and Cal Poly beat Cal in SLO last year. This is, in fact, not the first time St Mary’s has beaten Cal. Why, again, is this single match The Most Significant Game Of The Year?


Because BYU is a regional power that draws on a completely separate pool of players. Because Stanford lost to Cal in the National Championship that year and Cal Poly was swept aside this year when the two programs met. As impressive as those wins were they were one-off wins and the respective teams have not threatened since. St Mary’s operates in Cal’s back yard and competes for the same players. St Mary’s has been playing Cal very close for some time now (this is in fact their second win in three years) with multiple undergrad classes cycling through and no, indeed, they did not nip them at the finish with a last minute play, but handled them from the start, getting out to a 21-3 lead and winning 55-31. This is not a fluke nor is this a case where Cal has dropped their level, but where the Gaels have risen and THAT is what is so significant.


For too many years Cal was the unbeatable, untouchable champion that nobody could compete with because they had the most money, the best players, the refs favored them, *insert excuse here*… but now a challenger has risen up and vanquished the eternal champion, not like Bard with his lucky arrow killing Smaug with a million to one shot (because as we all know and Terry Pratchett verified, the million to one shot comes up 9 times out of 10), but with a solid foundation built up over years. A program designed to play good, solid, fundamental and exciting rugby. This is a team that can face down Cal on their own terms and not be intimidated.


Cal built their legacy with years of tradition, university and alumni support, excellent coaching and a steady stream of dedicated players who bought into the program. They will not go away and I fully expect them to be better next year than they are this year.


St Mary’s have built their team with years of tradition, university and alumni support, excellent coaching and a steady stream of dedicated players who bought into the

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program. They will not go away and I fully expect them to be better next year than they are this year.


This is gonna be fun.


A league that is dominated by one team is unhealthy and I bet that if you ask Cal’s alumni, players and coaches they will agree. Competition is a good thing and not only will St Mary’s benefit from this win but Cal will too, knowing that they now need to raise their game. Coaches Jack Clark and Tim O’Brien are too smart to not use this as a learning and motivational tool and now other programs around Pelicanland as well as the rest of the country can take note, realizing that there is a path to the promised land and St Mary’s showed them the way. These programs will get better and produce better players and that will in turn raise the level of club rugby and, by extension, all rugby in the US, including the Eagles.


And it all came together on one perfect, sunny afternoon for the Most Significant Game Of The Year.


And now on to the games…


Please remember when filling out your match reports on assignr, IF YOU ARE NOT THE REFEREE DO NOT CREATE A REPORT. The report section of assignr is for the match summaries that are below and if multiple people report a single game this gets confusing.


Date: 04/05/2014

St. Mary’s College 55 – Cal 31

Referee: Bretz, Paul


Thanks to Robert and Peter for being excellent ARs in the fast, entertaining example of college rugby. Saint Mary’s defense was too strong for Cal and forced the bears to kick. Several kicks were countered and led to exciting scores.



Date: 04/05/2014

St. Mary’s College B 17 – Cal B 36

Referee: Kenny, Stephen


The atmosphere for this match up was electric. Driving into Saint Mary’s College I quickly noticed this was going to be a showcase event. Cars were lined along the side of the road a mile in either direction of the campus. The A side match was a beauty, which saw the freelance play of SMC out gun the disciplined play of Cal. The speed with which these two college clubs play is unrivaled anywhere in California, and was on display in their second sides as well. Cal opened up the scoring with a 5-meter line out and drive, this would prove to set the tone for the remainder of the match. Cal took the lead and would not relinquish it for the rest of the match, closing out the first half with a four try advantage. The Cal pack were dominate in all set pieces and did well to contest or steal possession in the rucks. Saint Mary’s opportunistic play that was in pure form in the first match would show up late in the second half. A rare mishandling by a Cal back close to the half way line took a fortuitous bounce into the hands of a Saint Mary’s defender and like being shot from a gun he was away for the try. Saint Mary’s would run in two more scores much in the same fashion as the first, but Cal was up to the task running in two more of their own to disperse any chance of a comeback. Final score SMC 17 – Cal 36.



Date: 04/05/2014

SFGG PRP 41 – Belmont Shore 24

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna


Sunny 65F degrees at Treasure Island for an important matchup between the 2nd and 3rd placed teams in the Pacific Rugby Premiership (PRP). The 2013 Elite Cup champs beat the 2012 D1 national champs (from Long Beach) relatively easily, 6 tries to 3. The East Bay English All-Stars, Phil Ackroyd and Giles Wilson, did a nice job as AR’s.



Date: 04/05/2014

Aptos 10 – Reno Zephyrs 37

Referee: Jury, Jeff


A beautiful day in Watsonville greeted players and ref. I would especially like

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to thank the farmer for clearing the pasture we ran on that day. The first half was a special test of wills with good running, hitting and a couple clever kicks leaving the score even at half, 10 all. The second half maintained the same intensity, but the will was all Reno with the game ending 10-37 to the visitors.



Date: 04/05/2014

Cal Poly 36 – Sacramento State 10

Referee: Crenshaw, Jim


Cal Poly led 12 to 10 at half, but 4 unanswered tries in the second sealed the win for them.



Date: 04/05/2014

Cal Poly SLO B 20 – Sacramento State B 12

Referee: Richmond, Jeff


A very spirited match with Sac State not giving an inch to Cal Poly. It was a pretty day in SLO with a stiff cross wind coming up the valley. Cal Poly showed better rugby form with quick ball out of the tackles and rucks. Sac State had a couple of speedsters in their back line but weren’t able to utilize them much. Good ball control by Cal Poly and disciplined play ultimately gave them the advantage.



Date: 04/05/2014

California Women 69 – Oregon State Women 5

Referee: MacDonald, Neil


Cal 69 – Oregon State 5 (Half time: 31-0)


Oregon State were outmatched in this contest, with Cal running in five unanswered tries in the first half, and another six in the second, before Oregon State finally earned a reward for their determination and profited from Cal indiscipline, driving in a try a few minutes from the end of the match.



Date: 04/05/2014

Chico 18 – Sacramento Blackhawks 33

Referee: van Staden, JC


Yet another stunning day for rugby!!!


Arriving at the field I found one of the “loudest” coaches during a Chico State game, in the middle of the pitch, refereeing a high school game…

Karma is a bitch they say…. lol, just a joke, Mitch, welcome to the boiler room! The only advice I have for you; ref the game not the “law-book”, and enjoy it. Remember 2 things though…., none of us will ever be bigger than the game…. and the best place to watch a game from, is the referee’s seat 😉


Black-hawks was first to pull blood, after a few very good and calculated runs from Chico, they turned it around and score under the sticks. Chico how ever, came right back and earned a penalty in front of the sticks.

Watching one of my Stockton kids who barely weigh 150lb,(don’t tell him, but I’m sure he thinks he weigh 280lb, 6’6”) and only start playing in his Junior year, still eating rugby, was a pleasant, and proud sight. Even the perfect, pulling defender, and pass to the outside to sent the oldest guy on the field in for an try, was any coaches proudest moment.


Half time score, 26-13, with the Black Hawks only leading by initiative and turn over balls. Chico was the strongest team, but could not convert their attacking moment in to real points. Despite the few yellow, 2 dangerous tackles, and 1 loose mouth, it was a decent, but hard game.


Saying of the day how ever, came from Chico’s captain. After a youngster tried to make his voice hurt and explain how it should be, he replied, “son, you are not playing this game long enough to have a say on this field, look where it got our no 12?!”


Eish 😉


Thanks boys, and good luck for the last bit of the season.



Date: 04/05/2014

Chico State 57 – SF State 8

Referee: Zanarini, Tom


It was a beautiful sunny day at Chico St. Field conditions were good, the previous rains hadn’t destroyed the field. Chico ran away with this one. Bigger, faster players with more ball control is hard to beat. Credit to SF State, they were winning the second half 8-0 for quite a bit. They had some nice line breaks throughout the match but ultimately couldn’t put the finishing touch down.

B-side saw SF borrow a couple CS players for 20 minute halves were Chico St won 17-12.



Date: 04/05/2014

Chico State Women 38 – University of Oregon Women 12

Referee: Levitan, Tony


As the final match on a beautiful day at Stanford’s magnificent rugby complex, we all looked forward to a competitive, hard-charging outing. Unfortunately, that description fit only the Chico State Women’s side as the completely outplayed Oregon, dominating in every aspect of play. The drubbing saw Chico State dot down 6 tries, 4 converted to Oregon’s 2, 1 converted.


Wholesale substitution in the last 20 minutes made for a sloppy end to what had been a reasonable run. Nonetheless, the Oregon women hung in and played with determination and grit and should be complemented for that.


Great thanks to my ARs, Neil MacDonald (our reliable RIC for the weekend) and Jordan Bruno.



Date: 04/05/2014

EPA Razorbacks 54 – San Jose Seahawks 19

Referee: Tiatia, Nome


No report received



Date: 04/05/2014

Fresno State 17 – San Jose State 19

Referee: Wilson, Dan


It was a beautiful day for rugby and both teams were at the pitch early. The game started off a few minutes late due to this pelican forgetting he did not put his boots in his bag. Yeah, it happens.


At kick off Fresno State received the ball and kept it through numerous phases until knocking it on in the fifth minute. It was obvious that the teams were evenly matched and great tackling and hard hitting were in order. Fresno controlled the ball early, resulting in a converted try in the 7th minute, but San Jose State responded

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very quickly with a converted try of their own less than two minutes later. Each team added on more unconverted try each in the first half, San Jose in the 16th minute and Fresno in the 24th. Halftime Score: Fresno State 12 – San Jose State 12.


The second half was just as close. In the scrums, the ball would literally be won, lost and then won again on each other’s put ins. In the line outs, each team stole the others throw as much as they won their own. It was a really even game.


Both teams each put one try onto the board in the second half, however, San Jose was able to convert theirs. With a two point game, the little things proved important.


Fresno State went down to 14 men due to a red card to one of the wingers for 10.4(j) in the 66th minute, but San Jose decided to equal the playing field when their #6 decided to intentionally introduce his elbow to Fresno’s #9 face, 10.4(a), one the bottom of a ruck in full view of the referee. This gave Fresno a penalty at the 15 meter line with one minute to play and down by two points. After tapping the ball and then receiving another penalty, they ended up giving the ball away on a double movement in an attempt to cross the line (it was actually more of a triple movement). San Jose kicked the ball out of bounds and preserved the win.

Final Score: Fresno State 17 – San Jose State 19.



Date: 04/05/2014

Life West 82 – Colusa 12

Referee: Leisek, Joe


Life West continued its dominance of the league with an impressive display of forward power and a backline that ran rampant at times. The host Gladiators scored several breakaway tries from broken play and also from opportunities they created for themselves, with artful offloads and constant support. They are a cohesive blend of size and speed. To their credit, Colusa is a good team that stuck to their game plan. They scored two tries on the day, the second of which came after several impressive, well organized pick-and-drives from the forwards. Thanks to Life West’s Brett Frazer for his helpful work as touch judge.



Date: 04/05/2014

Marin 17 – Berkeley 26

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant



This was the best played match I have refereed this season. It was an ”all in” game. These two light heavyweight sides in a fine exhibition of skill and sportsmanship slugged it out for 80 minutes.


Marin leads at half 17-12. With about 5 minutes left, Berkeley is in front 19-17. A nice clearing kick takes a favorable bounce, Berkeley gathers it in, scores-and Bob is your uncle.


B Match. Berkeley wins 17-10.



Date: 04/05/2014

Marin B – Berkeley B

Referee: Byrnes, Bryant



I included a brief B side game report with my A side report.



Date: 04/05/2014

Olympic Club Alumni 48 – Olympic Club B 12

Referee: Wilson, Giles


With both the OC Alumni and OC 2nd side looking for games with their presumed opponents crying off they decided to play each other.


The alumni were sharper in thought and deed, after giving up an early try to wake themselves up.


At half time it was 24 – 5 and the second half was almost identical 24 – 7 for a final of 48 – 12.



Date: 04/05/2014

Olympic Club B 0 – Santa Rosa JC 0

Referee: Lew, Tim


SR JC & SFGG old boys cancelled. OC alumni played OC Bs



Date: 04/05/2014

Sacramento Amazons 62 – SFGG Women 17

Referee: Baker, Eugene


Beautiful, sunny day with gentle breezes on a pitch that was still damp from rains earlier this week but still firm enough for several breakaway tries – Most of them coming from former Women’s Eagle Nana Faavesi, as the hosts dominated the match from beginning to end.


The Amazons kept cycling the ball through their front eight, especially several Green siblings and cousins and #8 Angela Veevalu, pounding away and keeping the ball on the SFGG side of the field almost the entire first half.


The home team scored off their first possession of the match and never let up, racing out to a 45-12 halftime lead.


Despite the sizeable deficit at the break, SFGG never quit and regrouped to play a more sound second half.


The final score was nearly the reversal of the meeting two months ago, leaving me eagerly awaiting a potential knockout match between these two for playoffs.



Date: 04/05/2014

Sacramento Lions 19 – EPA Bulldogs 16

Referee: Tucker, Chris


Hard fought game between two strong teams. Lots of pressure at the breakdown led to turnovers in both directions, as well as a lively time for the ref!


In the end, a close game that could have gone either way.



Date: 04/05/2014

Sacramento Lions B 0 – EPA Bulldogs B 0

Referee: Franzoia, Tom


No report received



Date: 04/05/2014

San Jose Seahawks Women 14 – Berkeley All Blues 5

Referee: Valerio, Stephen


Saturday brought good weather in San Jose for the match. The pitch was a bit narrow, and the turf was little patchy and weedy, but it was in good shape. Berkeley’s scrum was dominant from the start, putting San Jose under pressure. However, some imprecision in the back line never allowed them to take advantage. San Jose was able to orchestrate two long tries from their backs and took a 14-0 lead into the half. Things got worse for Berkeley in the second half as their light numbers resulted in them being down to 13 players at one point as they couldn’t replace 2 injured backs. However, they were able to keep the pressure on San Jose. One of their players was able to return and then San Jose received a yellow card after repeated infractions. Down to 14 for both sides for most of the remainder of the match, Berkeley finally earned some reward for their grit. Appropriately, they scored through their forwards, as their #2 picked up the ball off of a ruck and went to the uncovered wide side to collect the try.



Date: 04/05/2014

SF Fog 20 – Mendocino 19

Referee: Gordon, Preston


This was a pretty evenly-matched game, with the Fog scoring 10 points in each half (1 try + conversion and 1 penalty; 2 unconverted tries) and looking the better team in the first half. Mendocino managed to score 3 tries in the second half, but only converting 2 of them, leaving them one point adrift.


The Mendo guys had a GoPro camera mounted to a head strap that they talked me into wearing. It was an interesting experience to have it bouncing around on top of my head, but I’m looking forward to seeing the video when it appears on YouTube soon.



Date: 04/05/2014

SFGG 35 – Santa Rosa 48

Referee: Akroyd, Phil


It was great to be back home after a trip back to England. While the reffing at RFU Level 5 was challenging and rewarding, I am a fan of warm sunny weather and dry grassy pitches. That’s exactly what I got on Saturday at the GAA field at Treasure Island. The sun was out, a light breeze blowing

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Golden Gate scored in the first minute or two and I thought that the rout was on. Neither team had any league standings up for grabs, so I was worried that two uninterested teams would play out a formality. Not true.


We had 83 points, about six lead changes, a competition at the tackle and some great attacking play. I’ll leave out the fact that neither team wanted to play defense, and the tackling resembled flag rugby at times.


However, it was a lot of fun and the players seemed to enjoy the flowing game. A little bit of foul play here and there added to the spice, but Rosa walked away with a narrow victory, partly as a result of their technically brilliant scrummaging.


After that game, it was off to Ray Sheeran field to A/R for the PRP game, which wasn’t quite as fun in comparison, due to the fact that it was pretty one-sided.



Date: 04/05/2014

SFGG B 55 – Santa Rosa B 62

Referee: Bernstein, Bruce


Rugby ref trifecta: AR’d & reffed exciting back & forth matches will some great back moves & tons of tries; plus great food hosted by SFGG on top of their 25th celebration seeing some old faces including on the video Dr. Carter reffing the GG Tourny Final b/w SF & GG. And the weather & free beer didn’t suck



Date: 04/05/2014

UC Davis Women 5 – Washington St Women 22

Referee: Tetler, Jen


The D1 Women’s Collegiate Playoff tournament kicked off with West #4 UC Davis vs. North #1 Washington State. This game was one of the closest matches of the day, with some excellent rugby from both teams. Wazzu just had a bit more aggression in the open field. Though Davis’s scrum was stronger, they kept losing their hook. WSU scored mostly off of breakaways once they got through the line. Davis had some opportunities at the goal line, but was only able to convert once.

Huge thanks to Tony Levitan and Jordan Bruno for ARing that early game.



Date: 04/05/2014

UC Santa Barbara 31 – Santa Clara University 32

Referee: Smith, Pete


No report received



Date: 04/05/2014

UC Santa Cruz 32 – UN Reno 39

Referee: Ricard, Bruce


Both teams were very close during the whole game. Two tries on each side, and one penalty kick for Reno at the end of the first half, to take the lead 15-14 at the break.

Santa Cruz took the lead back at the beginning of the second half, with a penalty kick at the 6th minute, but Reno scored a converted try 5 minutes later. An other penalty kick from UCSC to make it 20-22 after 18 minutes in the second half. Reno then scored two other tries against one for UCSC, and an 11 point lead. 9 minutes from the end, they score a penalty kick to take an important 14 point lead. UCSC scored a converted try at the 34th minute, coming back to 7 points, and leaving them hope. They pushed to score a try, but they lost the ball two minutes before the end. Reno kept the ball for those two minutes, before kicking it out as soon as time was off, to advance to the next bracket.



Date: 04/05/2014

Vacaville 49 – Baracus 15

Referee: Hettermann, Matt


Great weather, hard fought match that was closer than the scoreline reflected.


Vacaville had excellent ball control and support at the breakdown which set an excellent attacking platform, especially in the first half.


Second half was a bit more balanced, Baracus never gave up.


Players listened well, low penalty count, great day of rugby.



Date: 04/05/2014

Vacaville B 32 – Baracus B 28

Referee: Johnson, Lee


Following a 90 minute drive somewhat disappointed to be advised that due to low numbers the B game will 10’s with two 15 minute half’s with uncontested scrums. This was more like a training game and didn’t really need to have a referee assigned to it.

Due to other commitments, I’m now not available again this season. This game aside I have really enjoyed my first season in Pelican Land, and I’m looking forward to the annual social, when I get to meet more of you and then into next season with renewed vigor.



Date: 04/06/2014

UC Davis 78 – Oregon State 0

Referee: Levitan, Tony


Kicking off Day 2 at Stanford with a consolation game (“loser” seems too harsh for the aura of the West Coast…) matching UC Davis and Oregon State. At the end of this contest, it was hard to imagine anyone associated with UC Davis’ Women’s Rugby Club not wanting a re-do on their Saturday opening match loss to Washington State. The Aggies played with such precision and flair – especially in the backs where they executed moves that would invoke envy from a Super 12 series backline – that we all could only watch in admiration. Unfortunately, the incredibly game Oregon State team seemingly adopted a similar view towards the game as they played as if they too were in awe of their opposition.


UC Davis tallied 8 tries, 2 converted in the opening half and then tacked on an additional 6 tries, 2 converted in the second half. Though whitewashed on the scoreboard, I have to express my admiration for the Beavers squad who fought til the last whistle; AR Neil MacDonald noting their determination to cover across the pitch to bundle a UC Davis runner into touch just a couple meters from another try. One can only hope that this squad will be handsomely rewarded for their positive attitude and never-say-die drive in the near future, if not on the rugby pitch then for the individual players in their post-graduation professional endeavors.


Once again, thanks and appreciation to Neil and Jordan Bruno for their strong AR support. What a delight to know that someone out there has your back…



Date: 04/06/2014

Washington State Women 13 – Cal Women 22

Referee: MacDonald, Neil

ARs: Jen Tetler, and Jordan Bruno.


A cracking match in glorious sunshine, with a converted try or less separating the teams until the 75th minute. Cal opened the scoring in the 4th minute, and then spent most of the first half pinned in their own half by Washington State, who tied it up in the 23rd. Cal hit back on the break with a converted score three minutes later, and soaked up the pressure to carry their 5-12 lead into half time. Washington State scored early in the second half to make it 10-12, before Cal extended their lead to 10-17. Cal lost a player to a sin bin for a dangerous tackle in the 14th minute of the second half, and a few minutes later, Washington State pulled it back to a four point game with a successful penalty. There the score remained with committed skillful rugby played by both sides until 5 minutes from time when Cal closed the game out with another score. Thanks to Noelle and Ireland and their teams for a cracking match, and to Jen and Jordan for ARing for the fourth time in two days.



Date: 04/06/2014

Stanford 55 – Chico 0

Referee: Tetler, Jen


The winners of the last two games on Saturday faced each other on Sunday, and it ended up being the rivalry of Chico (who had beaten the Oregon Ducks) versus Stanford (who had beaten University of Washington). Chico had a ton of aggression and gave Stanford a great run for their money, however, they were no match for Stanford’s speed on the wing. Their winger scored the first three trys off of breakaway’s. The intensity of the game was manifested with some bickering leading to a yellow card for Stanford, followed by a red card for Chico when their player put her cleats to a Stanford player outside of play. Neither team let down their intensity, but Stanford still outscored Chico 55-0. Overall, a great weekend of rugby!

Huge thanks to AR’s Jordan Bruno and Neil MacDonald who stuck it out for a long day and a long game.


This Week’s Photo

Since nobody thought it would be a good idea to take a picture of the match with the referee in it…

St Mary’s on attack vs Cal (Photo courtesy of Michael Geib/

St Marys Cal


Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre



Home of Champions



Home of Champions

The Northern California Rugby Football Union has one again confirmed its status as the Home of Championship Rugby. Our regular entry, Cal, had (for them) an off year and fell all the way to #4 with a Varsity Cup finals loss to BYU, but up stepped St Marys with a reversal of last year’s D1 final to take the USA Rugby D1 college title. With a convincing win over Cal and a split of their series with BYU, coupled with a better aggregate score over common opponents, St Marys ends the year with rugbymag’s #1 ranking and it would be hard to argue against it. With the variety of college championships available USA Rugby has managed to reach their apparent goal of being as organized as NCAA football and having no true playoff and determining the best team in the collegiate landscape via committee. Well done, USARFU. Nice timing as well, for the NCAA is finally adopting a limited playoff structure and that would leave USA Rugby standing alone and the masters of confusing top level collegiate championships.


On the club side SFGG has continued their success at the top with a thrilling PRP victory over Glendale in their home stadium of Infinity Park. Congratulations to Mose Timoteo for another stellar season and a shout out to the portrait he has hanging in his attic.


More championships may still be on the way, however, as there is still some rugby to be played. For D3, Life West is in the final against Old Blue NY and they are looking to cap their inaugural season with a national title. It is good to see club rugby back in Hayward again.


The Sacramento Amazons are in the final of the Women D2 competition against the Pittsburg Angels and are looking to bring the first national championship of any kind to the Sacramento area – just in time for the USA Eagles v the Canadian Moose Excrements match on June 21.


Congratulations to St Marys and San Francisco Golden Gate.


Good luck to Life West and Amazons. Show the pretenders how California rugby is played.


This is where champions are born.


Big Things Are Coming – And By That I Mean Big Dinners: NCRRS Annual Banquet June 21
Jim Crenshaw needs to know who is coming to the banquet, if they are bringing a guest(s), and what they would like for dinner.

The choices are: New York Steak Chicken with a mushroom sauce Broiled Salmon Vegetarian The deadline for notification is June 4 We are having it at the Delta King in Old Sacramento. The bar opens at 6

and dinner is at 7.

Please send an email to Jim at with your food choices and how many guests you are bringing. All NCRRS members receive a free meal – guests cost $50.00.
More Big Things Are Coming – Serious Rugby Business


The NCRRS Nor Cal Summit On The Game will be (amazingly) held in conjunction with the USA Canada match and the NCRRS Society Banquet. This Summit is a forum for best practices and principals of Coaching, Refereeing and Administration to be discussed and presented on by some of our best local assets and resources and is designed to be tailored specifically to issues surrounding Northern California rugby.


The Summit begins on Friday evening, June 20th at 6:00PM and will run until 9:00pm and will start back up again on Saturday morning at 9:00AM and go until Noon, leaving plenty of time to socialize before the 3:00PM Match Kickoff.


The Summit will take place at the Double Tree Hotel in Sacramento, which is right across the street from Cal Expo, where the test match is being played. It is also where the USA Eagles will be staying, and the source of all things rugby that weekend. As an added bonus, the first 75 people to register will also receive a FREE ticket to the USA vs. Canada Test Match on June 21st at the Cal Expo grounds (Sacramento Republic FC Stadium).


Three tracks of emphasis will be offered: Coaching, Refereeing, and Administrative. The agenda for each track is as follows (subject to change, dates and times of each presentation TBD):


  • Coaching the Kick – The Most Underrated Part of the Modern Game – TBD
  • The Game of Sevens – Strategy and Fitness Tips for Success – Steve Gray, former USA Eagle 7s
  • Coaching the Breakdown, Rucking Techniques Guaranteed to Succeed – Ben Parker
  • Coaching the Lineout in the Modern Game – Luke Gross, former USA Eagle
  • Top Tips for Coaching Front Row’s on the New Engagement Cadence – Mike MacDonald, former USA Eagle
  • Effectively Coaching Dynamic Running, Field Vision, and Decision Making – Matt Sherman– Former USA Eagle
  • The Game as Seen Through the Eyes of a Referee – A Referee’s Perspective for Coaches – Paul Bretz


  • Concerns Specific to Youth – Dave Williamson
  • Reading the Game – Richard Every
  • Law Interpretation and Application – Paul Bretz
  • Managing the Scrum, Lineouts, and Restarts – Matt Eason
  • The Game as Seen Through the Eyes of a Coach – A Coaches Perspective for Referees – TBD


  • Fundraising at the Local Level – Best Practices for Local Implementation – Mark Carney
  • Transitioning, Recruiting and Developing Youth Players into a College or Club Setting – Olympic Club Model – Ray Lehner, former USA Eagle
  • Delegation of Responsibility at the Club Level – Steve Seifert
  • 501c3 – A How To Guide to the Complexities – Roy Brewer and Ray Thompson
  • Integration of All Local Levels of Rugby, Utilizing an Online Platform – SportNgin
  • Registration Made Easy – A One Stop Shop – SportNgin

Keynote Speaker:

On Friday night from 8pm to 9pm, we will have a Key Note Speaker of some significance to discuss their choice topic, of particular relevance to the game’s development in our region.


Last Call For 7s Referee Course


Summer 7s kicks off with a Level 1 referee training course on Saturday, June 7 at Gretchen Higgins School in Dixon. Enrollment is limited to 30 students. Directions and details:

On Sunday morning, June 8, beginning at 9 am, the Dixon Youth and High School tournament features referee coaches to help newly trained 7s refs advance to Level 2. Directions and details:


And Now, On To The Games…


(Editors note: As you see in some reports below, if there is a playoff/tournament game listed as TDB and you don’t tell me who the teams are in the writeup, I will just make up team names. Get with the program, people.)


Senior Games in Palo Alto

Report by Bruce Bernstein


Palo Alto All Blacks & Bald Eagles met for the 2nd year in a row at Stanford’s rugby pitch Saturday for the Senior Games (over 50) Final. Many other over 50 year old athletes were there competing in other sports.

Really fun game enjoyed by players, fans & ref: Both teams played a relatively mistake & penalty free match with contested scrums limited to a one meter push.

The Bald Eagles started fast with their winger outracing the field only to knock the ball on in the try zone.

Palo Alto was ahead 4-2 tries at half when the Bald Eagles came back to tie it in the 2nd; only to have Old Blacks Dave Richards extend his body over the try line as time expired. Palo Alto 5 tries to 4 for Bald Eagles.

Great to see the old timers still out there like Mike Comstock, Moses, Bob Benson, Ofa & fellow Pelican Cary Bertolone; plus I saw & hung @ the Oasis with a few guys I played in Palo Alto with in the ’80’s (not sure how many years ago that was) including 2 that flew in from Portland & Austin.


Date: 05/09/2014

Penn State 58 – West Chester 0

Referee: Bruno, Jordan


Penn State was just too much for West Chester — stronger runners a bigger pack and better ball retention . PSU’s physical dominance will be a good matchup for Stanford’s open play in the national championship.


Yellow card to PSU lock for repeated early engages and to PSU prop again for a late professional foul. Other than these penalties, a great game to be a part of.


Date: 05/10/2014

Bowling Green 22 – Arizona 45

Referee: Akroyd, Phil


Arizona always looked like winning but Bowling Green kept it interesting.



Date: 05/10/2014

Cal State Northridge 15 – Indiana (PA) 10

Referee: Bryant, Lee


No report received



Date: 05/10/2014

Santa Rosa JC Women 17 – Santa Clara University Women 40

Referee: Bertolone, Cary


Wendy, but sunny, we kicked off at 10:00 am at For Pete’s Sake in Santa Rosa. Early on, SRJC seemed to be more in control, rucking well, and took the lead with a try at the 10 minute mark. At the 20 minute mark, Santa Clara went wide and scored. That worked, so they did it again 3 minutes later. That opened it up and they scored two more tries straight up the middle for a 28-5 halftime lead. The second half was played even and everyone had a good run with the final score 40-17, Santa Clara. BBQ and ice cream to finish it off. Great day!



Date: 05/10/2014

St. Mary’s College 21 – Life 6

Referee: Bruno, Jordan


A great game. Very evenly matched and a defensive struggle for the first half. Both teams played with discipline and pace, but St Mary’s got the upper hand with two yellow cards for repeated infringements at the breakdown. A very close game that could have gone to any team.



Date: 05/10/2014

St. Mary’s College 21 – Life 6

Referee: Ranaweera, Aruna


This year’s USA Rugby men’s college D1A national championship was an intense, physical chess-match played in front of a capacity crowd at Stanford. The game was played at a frantic pace, but both teams’ attacking efforts were stymied by brutal, relentless defense. Despite dominating territory and possession in the 1st half, Life only led 6-3 at the half. Soon after, SMC scored an opportunistic try to edge ahead 8-6, but neither offense could break through their opponents’ suffocating defensive wall. SMC added 2 late penalties to edge ahead 14-6 before scoring a quick-strike try at full-time, which clinched the championship.


Much thanks to Jordan Bruno and Neil MacDonald for their help as AR’s.


PS: With the balkanization of US college rugby, there will be debate whether SMC or BYU is #1 this year, but for all practical purposes, they should be considered joint national champions as they split their season series, 1-1.



Date: 05/10/2014

UC Davis Women 15 – Alumni 20

Referee: Richmond, Jeff


No posts, no ropes, no flags, just fun and good camaraderie for all involved.



Date: 05/11/2014

AIC 36 – Mystery Team that Jordan Can’t Identify 31

Referee: Bruno, Jordan


A close consolation game saw AIC run away with a win in the final seconds of the match. Very spirited and physical play from both sides.


Date: 05/11/2014

Venusian Land Rovers 10 – Gregorian Go-Go Dancers 40

Referee: Bruno, Jordan


Close match with well contested scrums and good play in the backs


Date: 05/17/2014

Olympic Club 75 – Singapore Cricket Club 27

Referee: Smith, Pete


Don’t let the final score fool you. This game was 33-27 with 20minutes left. OC scored immediately after Singapore pulled it to that score pushing it up to 40-27 and then ran away with it from there. Singapore as you would expect had a mix bag of talent and with the open subs, the game seemed to ebb and flow depending who was on the field at the time. A very enjoyable match to ref and many thanks to my AR’s ‘Hot Ref’ and ‘Quick Ref’.


(Editors note: Pete seems to have a bit of a man crush going on here. I’ll leave it to the reader to determine who “Hot Ref” and “Quick Ref” are.)


Date: 05/17/2014

Olympic Club 80 – Singapore Cricket Club 20

Referee: Bruno, Jordan


Good close game with Olympic Club taking a big lead late in the second half. Being an exhibition, both teams had a good social run.


This Week’s Photo


After requesting a photo from the National Championships held at Stanford and receiving nothing I was forced to look online for a pic of

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our referees. Fortunately I was able to find a shot of the team of three that did the D1 final between St Marys and Life.

D1 Final Referees

Hail, Pelicus!

For the Senate

Pelicus Pedem Referre