7s Up!


7s Up!

Ah, Summertime. That glorious time of year when the days are warm, the daylight lasts all day (huh?), trees and flowers are committing shameless acts of photosynthesis in broad view of everyone, and Pelican Society members sit around in gazebos and on verandas sipping wine while reading slim volumes of poetry to improve their minds. Actually, I’m not too sure about that last one, but you, dear reader, get the idea. This is the time of year when baseball fans still have hope for October glory (except for Reds and Orioles fans), swim suits are all the rage and the California Triathlon* can be completed.

Additionally, but more importantly, this is the time of year when props, locks and other members of the back hair and monobrow set drag their knuckles back to their caves until the time of year when mud, rain and fog can hide their physical and mental deformities from polite society. The rest of the rugby family head out to play 7s, the greatest, purest form of rugby. “You always put your best athlete on the wing” an old coach told me and I heartily agreed as I slipped into the #11 jersey. This is the time of year when wings shine, running about in all their glory, sidestepping pretenders at the tackle and their supremacy is apparent to all. As Mel Brooks said, “it’s good to be the wing.”

The Northern California Sevens Series started last weekend for both the men and women (more on that next week) and this may be one of the most important seasons to date, because this year the Nor Cal Sevens Series is coterminous with the Rugby Sevens World Cup to be held up in AT&T Park. (How? Seriously, how?) As the eyes of the world descend on a city obscured by the daily appearance of Karl the Fog, some few will notice the local action and it is imperative upon Pelicanland to put on a good show.

Based on the first weekend’s results, we have little to worry about in that respect. A full report will be in the next issue because, frankly, this is long enough already.

* The California Triathlon is when you snow ski in the morning, water ski in the afternoon, and then surf in the evening. Yes, I accomplished this feat back in the days of my youth, getting in some late season, early morning skiing up in Tahoe, at 10:00 drove down to Folsom Lake to waterski and then at 4:00 continued south to finish off the day with some sunset surfing in Santa Cruz. It was awesome.

Houston, We Don’t Have A Problem – Scotland Do!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: When the fancy (or his wife) tickles him, my predecessor Dr Bruce Carter will send in a column, commenting on an event or person that affected him greatly. Such is the column below and I literally could not have said it better myself. He even suggested the title, a quote from match commentator Dallen Stanford as the US were surging late in the game.)

I started playing rugby in Augusta, Georgia, before USA Rugby was founded, before Rugby Magazine existed, and before there was a national team. The teams you played against were real and all others were mere rumors. Book stores had nothing referencing rugby – I spent hours looking.

Our expat teammates assured us that this was a real game, played at a high level in other countries. For the annual team banquet someone would rent a mail-order spool of film, as big as a large pizza, along with a projector to show it, and we’d watch the 1971 Barbarians victory over the All Blacks – every year. It was the only game most of us had ever seen that we had not played in.

I review the technology and information-state of the former world to show how long it has been, a long rugby lifetime, many turns of the technological wheel, from the conception to the full maturity for our national team.

We really started to feel a part of the larger oval planet when Rugby magazine (originally called Scrumdown) came along. And then, exciting news – there was going to be a team to represent us all!

The first Eagles match was in 1976, a 12-24 loss to Australia in SoCal. That whetted everyone’s appetite and fired our imaginations: someday, we’d beat the big boys!

The big boys were what are now the Six Nations and The Rugby Championship. Until last Saturday, we’d never beaten any of these countries’ first XV.

It has been a long forty-plus years. The number of people who have worn the jersey is 500 + and the number of people who have labored in the larger vineyard is now probably more than a million. We’ve had our hopes raised, and dashed, many times.

We needed the portion of the iceberg that’s below the surface. We needed players who learned the game at an age where the skills quickly became second nature, as was the case for our competition. We needed athletes who were equal to the opposition players who were drawn from countries where rugby was at or near the top of the sports-viewership and public-adulation food chains. We needed quality coaches and competitions, training facilities and academies, scouts and development officers, and good rugby, of course, always needs good referees so that the players learn to trust the Sir and express their abilities within the Laws without needing to get their retribution in first.

It has been my feeling on more than one occasion (the two Tests previously played in Houston, as a matter of fact), we would have won with a mature, confident, referee. On those occasions, we got a ref whose rating, worldwide, was about where the Eagles were rated. Such refs don’t want to make a name by having the ‘wrong’ team win.

But to win, you have to overcome all opposition. Saturday, there was a little less opposition because there was a ref who’s been at the top for a long time – Wayne Barnes did the infamous New Zealand-France World Cup match as long ago as 2007. He doesn’t fear having the wrong team win, because he is confident that he lets the players determine the outcome.

I have read about every match the Eagles have ever played, attended probably forty of them, and watched all of the rest that could be watched without being in the stadium. With apologies to the very good players we’ve known over the years, especially plying our trade as we do in Pelicanland, nest of Eagles, this is the best team the Eagles have ever fielded. Across the board they are skilled, fast, and all but the skill positions are big, muscular big.

Even there – watch the match again, keep your eye on MacGinty and watch him defend. He couldn’t be a better tackler at any size: you can’t do better than 100%.

He also never missed a kick.

This was not a match for the faint of heart or for those lacking in hope. Such people would have turned it off after Scotland scored a try on their first possession at 0:58. Even if they turned it back on, they would have turned it off again when Scotland got a penalty try and then another with a man advantage due to the yellow card from the PT. That’s three cheap tries, the kind that have often been fatal to Eagles in flight.

Watch the match yet again to see who plays better, who wins the collisions, who gets numbers over the breakdown and even – gasp! – who wins the tactical kicking game. This was often the way to beat the USA, catching them out of position after several exchanges.

The Scottish kicker made two conversions from the touchline. Three would have been better. Although I must say I was disappointed that the crowd booed that third attempt, almost putting an asterisk next to it. But just as we have failed to overcome un-self-confident referees, Scotland failed to overcome rude decibels.

But what do you say when a team wins a game by a single point? In 1991 you say ‘Super Bowl champions’ (Giants). In 2011 you say ‘Rugby World Cup holders’ (New Zealand).

And in 2018, you say: Thank you to all of people, over forty years of hunger, who cleared the rocks, plowed the ground, planted the seed, carried the water and cultivated the crops, thank you for the harvest. And thank you especially, for those who brought it in and put in on our plates last Saturday in Houston, Texas.

– Pelicus Scriptoris

Pelicus Awardus

The Pelicus Festivus celebration has come and gone; jokes were told, some of the jokes were even laughed at, silly costumes were worn, good food was eaten voraciously, good wine was guzzled uncouthly and mascot fines were handed out to those whose shame will not be named here. One of the most important functions of the Annual Banquet is to honor those who have performed and served the cause of the Northern California Rugby Football Union Referee Society, both within and without our borders. All of the winners are deserved, one was a surprise break with tradition and one brought the house down with tears. Your winners:

Rookie of the Year – James Fonda
Pelican of the Year- Jordan Bruno
Bryan Porter Award – James Tesoriero
Assistant Referee of the Year – Rich Anderson
Scott Wood Award – Jessica Turner
Ambassador of the Year- Lee Johnson
Pelicus Scriptorus – Preston Gordon
Dixon Smith Award – Scott Wood

Of special note is the renaming of the Most Improved Award as the Scott Wood Award. We all still keenly feel the loss of Our Scott Wood and the Board was looking for a way to memorialize him when their attention was brought to the fact that the first match he ever refereed was abandoned. Yes, Our Scott, who most remember as a solid, sensible referee with a quirky sense of humor, got off to that most ignominious start. He worked hard on his craft and improved greatly to become one of the most trusted referees in the Society and so it was that in mind it was deemed fitting that the Most Improved award be renamed in his honor.

Another oddity that the cleverer readers may have spotted is the winner of the Bryan Porter Award. The Bryan Porter Award is given to the individual who most helps with the development of referees within the Society. This year it was given to an individual who not only filmed games, but sent detailed analysis and commentary with specific timestamps to help the referee find the action being addressed. Why is this unusual? Because the winner, James Tesoriero, is the coach of California State Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo. As a coach he would do match analysis, as many others do, but he would make a special effort to include the referee. Many clubs offer the referee a copy of their match tape for reference and that is most welcome, but nothing else. James went out of his way to highlight contentious decisions, even those that went in his favor, to help the referee understand his point of view and would continue a dialogue if necessary. Never was he accusatory, but always helpful as he realized that better referees make better games. It is the first time the Society has given an award to a non member, but I have the feeling it won’t be the last.

Finally, the Dixon Smith Award is not an annual award but one that is only bestowed upon those whose service to the Society soars above that of the others. It has only been award five times in the history of the award, a list comprising of Dixon Smith, Bryan Porter, Cheryl Leslie, Bruce Carter and Mike Malone – an impressive list indeed. This year we added Pelicus Radix Lecti, Our Scott Wood, whose influence was not only felt within our society but across this great rugby playing nation via his work with exchanges, coaching and at national and international events and matches. The number of tributes and moments of silence across the time zones in his honor attests to this fact.

The Naming Of The Flock

Another highlight of the evening is the roll call where we all respond to our Pelican Names and those who are still scandalously unnamed are recognized with their own Name. We allow such unfrocked members to propose a name for themselves and if deemed salubrious then it is so enshrined… but the Senate will not be mocked. Should such sobriquet be presented that is deemed unworthy or offensive then the Senate will bestow a name and the results, while funny, are never pretty. Also, should no name be suggested the Senate will pick one of their own liking and the results are often the same.

With that in mind, those named below are welcomed to the flock, with the occasional explanation. Please note that many of the names are not strictly Latin, but Latin-ish, so don’t bother if some professor you know wants to complain about the Latin grammar.

From now on Jessica Turner shall be known as Pelicus Liber Spiritus!
Meaning: Free Spirit

From now on Ron DeCausemaker shall be known as Pelicus Quarto Officialis!
Meaning: Fourth Official

From now on Tom Fennell shall be known as Pelicus Gulo Gulo!
Meaning: Wolverine
Explanation: Gulo Gulo, is the scientific name for “Wolverine” and pays homage to his alma mater, the University of Michigan. Gulo, in the singular, means glutton….which also fits.
(EDITOR’S NOTE) To be fair he was offered Pelicus Aesculus but he declined. Unsurprising since Aesculus is the genus for “buckeye”.

From now on Megan Holt shall be known as Pelicus Quartus Concussus!
Meaning: Four Concussions

From now on Preston Gordon shall be known as Pelicus Miratus Velocitas!
Meaning: Surprisingly Fast

From now on Duane Heil shall be known as Pelicus Graeca Nauta!
Meaning: Greek Sailor

From now on Stephen Moore shall be known as Pelicus Antipodus!
Meaning: Antipodes
(EDITOR’S NOTE) You really should have been able to guess that.

From now on Liam Bretz shall be known as Pelicus Filius Parva Digitus!
Meaning: Son of Pinkie
Explanation: Ask Pelicus Iudex Pennipe. Or possibly his wife.

The Senate Will Not Be Mocked

From now on Jordan Bruno shall be known as Pelicus Narcissus!
Meaning: Narcissist
Explanation: The Senate Will Not Be Mocked. Jordan had proposed as a name for himself, Pelicus Hot Refficus. This was deemed unacceptable and the Senate rendered its judgement with Pelicus Narcissus.

From now on Lee Johnson shall be known as Pelicus Inlaetabilis Raeda!
Meaning: No Fun Bus
Explanation: Lee proposed for himself “Nosiest Coachus”. This was deemed unacceptable.
So, given that Lee is English and was a prop before becoming a coach…
Given that the most famous English prop in recent memory is Jason Leonard…
Given that Jason Leonard is widely (ha!) known as “The Fun Bus”…
Given that in England a coach is another word for a bus…
Given that referee coaches are often tasked with pointing out referee mistakes and that is No Fun.
The Senate chose to bestow upon Lee Johnson Pelicus Inlaetabilis Raeda, which translates directly to “Joyless Carriage” aka The No Fun Bus

Flock Talk, Enriching The Vocabulary Of Pelicanland

Some knitted brows and other puzzled expressions were elicited in the opening paragraph and thus we have this edition’s Word of the Day:

adjective koh-tur-muh-nuh-s
1. Having the same border or covering the same area.
2. Being the same in extent; coextensive in range or scope.

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 we have developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition. The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Dude. It’s 7s season.

This Week’s Photo

(Some of) the winners of the 2018 Pelican Awards, posing with Our Noble Leader and Our Noble Emcee. L-R: Pelicus Iudex Pennipes, Danielle Wood for Pelicus Radix Lecti, Pelicus Fistulator, Pelicus Inlaetabilis Raeda, Pelicus Miratus Velocitas

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Summer Rugby Solstice


Summer Rugby Solstice

It is now the second week of June and we have reached the Summer Rugby Solstice when the seasons tip from 15s to 7s. This phenomenon notably occurs when the final USA Rugby club national championships are played and the calendar is all 7s going forward and is a couple of weeks before that other solstice that gets meteorologist all in a lather. It is a time of reflection and renewal and regret:

Reflecting on the season past and the accomplishments or disappointments therein.

Renewal of a new season and new opportunities.

Regret, oh so much regret, after the first few 7s trainings on not keeping up your conditioning after the 15s season ended.

7s is a whole new ball game and with the upcoming World Cup in our oddly shaped and far too small backyard (How? Just how?), all eyes and attention will be on 7s – the purest form of rugby on the planet. Now I need to take a break from writing to get a few more sprints in.

Pelicus Festivus

Yes, it is the annual Pelicus Festivus celebration where the Referee Society cleans up, puts on the finest attire and gathers together to congratulate each other on a Job Well Done. In the grand Pelicus Festivus Tradition we will have Feats of Strength and observe Festivus Miracles such as Pelicus Tempus Procurator actually buying someone a drink without requiring them to chase him down in an airport hundreds of miles away.

The Airing of Grievances was held a few weeks back so we won’t need to go into that again.

We even allow non-referees to attend, although you will have to pay for your own Festivus Dinner. From our Beloved Leader, Pelicus Iudex Pennipes:

It’s been an incredible season for NCRRS and we need to come together to celebrate our accomplishments, thank our family members who provide us with the ability to follow our passions, recognize those that we have lost and enjoy the evening together. All referees who have officiated matches this season and guests are encouraged to attend.

Save the Date: June 16th 2018
Location: Scott’s seafood Walnut Creek
TIme: 1800 hrs to 2100 hrs
Actual Time: 6PM to 9PM

(EDITOR’S NOTE: OK, I added the actual time.)

Please fill out the google form to let us know if you are coming, how many guests, and what you want to eat: https://goo.gl/forms/fziflNwpde11k2Y02 . NCRRS will pick up the tab for officials but guests are covered by you.

On a separate note, we have several new members to our flock that have yet to be adorned with Pelican names. I will be asking James Hinkin to reach out to you all to ensure that you have a name. If you do not name yourself you will be assigned a name by the flock. You have been warned. Roll call will commence our banquet so be sure you come up with your Latin (or Latin-ish) name.

Pelican Names

You have been warned.

The Dominion Of The Gladiatrix

Lucky I’m sane after all I’ve been through
(Everybody say I’m cool, he’s cool)
I can’t complain but sometimes I still do
Life’s been good to me so far

-Joe Walsh (Eagles 1975–1980; 1994–2016; 2017–present )

Yes, we open with a quote from one of our longest serving Eagles to seamlessly segue into the domination of the Life West Gladiatrix, because truly, Life’s been good. Very good. They took their second straight D1 title, thrashing the Raleigh Venom 91-22, a ridiculous scoreline for a national final. They declined to Take It Easy, instead choosing to Take It To The Limit. After Life West jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the opening minutes, Raleigh went into Desperado mode and answered with a pair of tries of their own. Not a team to be flustered, the Gladiatrix responded with a 4 try blitz to go into halftime with a comfortable 26 point lead, after all they are hardly the New Kid In Town, this being their 3rd straight national final (the first being in D2).

After flipping the record over and starting side 2 (ask your grandparents) the Gladiatrix once again came out on fire but Raleigh, hoping it wasn’t going to be One Of These Nights, fought back again with a pair of tries of their own, but a red card to Raleigh allowed several Gladiatrix to go on The Long Run to the try zone. What was the red card for? I Can’t Tell You Why, just that the referee decided some foul play had disrupted the Peaceful Easy Feeling of the match. In any case, the chances of a Raleigh comeback were Already Gone. “There will be a Heartache Tonight”, said Venom player Jazamine Grey.

Life West prop Catherine Benson was named MVP after a 4 try performance and the Gladiatrix have once again proven to be the class of women’s D1 rugby. “These ladies were fantastic”, said Head Coach Adriaan Ferris. “They have the Best of My Love”.

Where to go from here? Well for Life West it is back to Hotel California for a Tequila Sunrise or two but on a grander scale, one unnamed source in the WPL said they will consider adding the two time defending D1 champion Life West to their competition when Hell Freezes Over.

You Can’t Be An Elite Competition Without Elite Clubs

The Women’s Premier League is billed by themselves and USA Rugby as “the highest level of women’s senior 15s club rugby in the US” and yet they seem to annually come up with excuses not to add the Life West Gladiatrix. After winning D2 convincingly in 2016, the WPL said “you need to win D1”. Fair enough, so the next year in 2017 the Gladiatrix did just that. “Well, we can’t have you in our competition because our schedule is already set” was the reply from WPL. Now the Gladiatrix have won their 3rd straight title, the second straight D1 title (which was supposed to be the bar they had to reach to be considered good enough) and did it by an unprecedented 69 points. Surely now they will be able to join the competition. “Of course not”, said the WPL, “and don’t call me Shirley.”

You see, on May 29, FOUR DAYS BEFORE THE D1 FINAL, USA Rugby released the WPL schedule. (https://www.usarugby.org/2018/05/wpl-schedule-released/) The last time this happened (last year) the claim was that plans needed to be made and flights arranged. I called BS then and I call BS now. The first game is August 18, and even if you insert Life West into the schedule the day after their championship you can not tell me that 11 weeks is not enough time to arrange flights for the first games. You get even more time to arrange flights for the rest of the year. I defy anyone to give me a rational explanation why Life West is not in the WPL that doesn’t predicate itself on excluding a new, vibrant and yes, dangerous club and keeping the familiar teams of the Old Girls Club in, whether they deserve it or not. Money for travel isn’t an issue. Scheduling certainly isn’t an issue because, once again, it is early June. And they don’t start until mid August. Last year the DC Furies were 0-8 with a -251 point differential. They deserve to be there? Easy solution – drop DC and move Chicago to the Eastern (Red) conference. Or drop Chicago (1-6-1, -84 point diff) and replace them with Life West straight up in the Western (Blue) conference. Or promote a second club for balance if there is one available. Just do something, because the WPL can not claim to be the top competition when it doesn’t have the top teams.

When Life West doesn’t get the promotion they deserve the knock on effect locally is tremendous. They are forced to play essentially a D2 competition with WPL players and they steamroll teams. Can you blame Life West? Of course not, their players need match time, but it is telling that last year two women’s clubs, Colusa and San Jose, folded (although San Jose is staying on as an at large team). Moving Life West to the WPL, enforcing player restrictions and allowing their B side to play local D2 (as the All Blues do) would bring some balance back to the league and improve the recruiting efforts of everyone as well as allowing the smaller clubs to hang on to their better players. Will the cream rise to the top and go to the WPL clubs? Of course, but at the moment that really isn’t a choice and you have a top heavy league with only 4 viable clubs instead of a healthy league with 8 or more viable clubs. With the amount of collegiate talent the local sides produce this should be a no brainer.

Boys Will Be Champions

In our last issue I pointed out that the women were carrying the torch for Nor Cal rugby at the national championships and that was confirmed when Chico State and Life West won their titles. Of course, I only said that the Men had fallen short this year and will happily add Danville Oaks to the roster of national champions as they won the Boys High School Rugby National Club Championships. (See what I did there?) Danville had to beat another strong local side in Granite Bay in the semifinals 34-14 before defeating defending champion Royal Irish of Indiana with a thrilling 29-15 overtime victory. This brings the boys High School championship back to Northern California where it belongs after spending a few years in Indiana, of all places. Tries from The Son of Tammy Freeman (2), Jason Severance (2) and Jack Slimm led the way as the future of Pelican Men’s rugby looks bright. I don’t think we will see too many more championship-free seasons on the men’s side with this kind of talent coming through.

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 we have developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition. The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Dude. It’s the off season.

This Week’s Photo

This year’s rule: You win a senior National Championship, you get the honor of This Week’s Photo. Congratulations Life West Gladiatrix.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Chica Statement


Chica Statement

Life is generally pretty good here in Pelicanland. We have the best weather, the best community and the best rugby in the country. About this time of year the editorial staff here at Hail Pelicus rather smugly starts listing all the national championships won by our local clubs. We usually start with the easy one: Men’s D1 college. Between Cal and St Marys we have a slam dunk champion every year. UC Davis has been on a roll in the D1AA competition lately but moved back up to D1A so we fully expected UNR to step up. Stanford has been a solid bet for the D1 college women’s championship in the past but have fallen off recently so we may not get one there is the thinking. Men’s club is a little less automatic than men’s college but SFGG is usually is in the hunt for whatever competition they are involved in (it changes as the fickle winds of fate changes in USA Rugby) and there is usually a strong run in D2 and D3 that will produce a champion most years. The women are harder to predict because our women’s D2 teams are not quite at that level, but Sacramento Amazons are always in the final mix, and the WPL will not be considered a proper competition by Hail Pelicus until Life West is part of it – sorry, but if you want to be the top league you need to have the top teams. See “Annual CRC Is Not A National Championship Rant” for the details of that particular argument.

Speaking of the CRC, we could also count on Cal winning that competition – a made for TV Invitational – and calling it a national championship while St Marys goes after the USA Rugby 7s championship.

So how are we doing so far? Ooops. Um… this is a little embarrassing. For the first time in memory, we have been shut out. Nada. Zilch. How can we continue to claim to have the best rugby in the nation if we all lost?

STOP THE PRESSES! Our blushes have been spared, thanks to the Chico St women’s rugby team. Chico State thoroughly outclassed Central Florida to win the D1 championship 54-26. Congratulations to Captain Darby McFall and the rest of the Chico State women ruggers. This was truly a Chico State Chica Statement.

We Still Have Life

Speaking of chicas making statements, we actually still have one more Northern California club in national contention. The Life West Gladiatrix will be going for their second consecutive title v the Raleigh Venom on June 2. They will go in to the contest as defending champions and heavy favorites but rumor has it that Raleigh has a secret weapon. A mole. A double agent. You see, former San Jose Seahawk Jamie Tolen moved back east this year and is now playing with Raleigh. Upon being confronted by the Hail Pelicus staff she promised not to tell her new team about the Life West game plan. Of course, she may be lying. Good luck to the Gladiatrix.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This last bit was written with tongue firmly in cheek as Jamie is one of the sweetest, nicest ladies I have met. Of course, she is also a fantastic player, tough as nails and a fierce competitor, which explains why she is in a national final.)

Annual CRC Is Not A National Championship Rant

Well, the title says it all, doesn’t it? Just like the Varsity Cup (another invitational that was billed as a national championship), the CRC in an invitational tournament. A national championship must have teams that earn their way in on the field, not teams that are invited to boost ad revenue. Yes there are now some slots in the CRC that you can earn via qualifying tournaments and yes, there are big time schools that are good enough at rugby to have qualified if they had needed to, but while there are still teams invited solely to boost TV ratings and ad money it can’t be considered a national championship.

Not that that’s a bad thing.

I love the CRC. It is the first time I can recall that rugby was on American network television, exposing the game to a wider audience than ever before. Gods and Weather Priestesses know I would have loved to play in it. It still isn’t a national championship, and that is well known to United World Sports who run the event. They hint at a national championship with the name “Collegiate Rugby Championship” but don’t quite say so. It is instructive to note that the original name of the event in 2010 was the “Collegiate Championship Invitational”. The only people who call it a national championship are overeager press (I’m looking at you, Alex Goff and Pat Clifton) and the teams that participate in it – especially the winners.

But is there a collegiate national 7s championship? I am not so sure. The USA Rugby national championship has been hurt in the past by many of the better teams opting out to play in the CRC and in the present by the Byzantine and opaque selection process for participants. Yes, there were a series of 7s tournaments around the country, but nobody was ever sure which events led to which seeds, or even if winning a particular tournament guaranteed a seed or not. Until these issues are addressed I can’t call the winner a real national champion.

Your Chance To Meet The Editorial Staff Of Hail Pelicus

The 15s season is winding down so it is time for the Members of the Society to gather together and congratulate each other on a Job Well Done. We even allow non-referees to attend, although you will have to pay for your own dinner. From our Beloved Leader, Pelicus Iudex Pennipes:

It’s been an incredible season for NCRRS and we need to come together to celebrate our accomplishments, thank our family members who provide us with the ability to follow our passions, recognize those that we have lost and enjoy the evening together. All referees who have officiated matches this season and guests are encouraged to attend.

Save the Date: June 16th 2018
Location: Scott’s seafood Walnut Creek
TIme: 1800 hrs to 2100 hrs
Actual Time: 6PM to 9PM

(EDITOR’S NOTE: OK, I added the actual time.)

As soon as we finalize food options I’ll be sending out a Google form to collect your food choices. NCRRS will pick up the tab for officials and guests are covered by you.

On a separate note, we have several new members to our flock that have yet to be adorned with Pelican names. I will be asking James Hinkin to reach out to you all to ensure that you have a name. If you do not name yourself you will be assigned a name by the flock. You have been warned. Roll call will commence our banquet so be sure you come up with your Latin (or Latin-ish) name.

Pelican Names

You have been warned.

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 we have developed a form that will centralize the process, regardless of the competition. The link to the discipline form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mmUNg11uVOSkIsUtHifSqQzalhWbwohk_J6AmPyrucQ/viewform

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 04/28/2018
De La Salle 50 – Bullard 29
Referee: Andrew Stockton

This was a great match between two very talented teams, although the score isn’t really an accurate reflection of how close the match was. While Bullard certainly played with a lot of heart and passion, it was clear from the start that DLS was the stronger team. They had better conditioning, better tactics, and better skills, and it showed throughout the match.

The scoring was opened about 10 minutes into the first half with a brilliant break down the line by DLS. He was completely in the clear until Bullard #10 streaked in from out of nowhere to make a great, try saving tackle. However, his tackle was a high, seatbelt style tackle, and, as he brought the player to the ground, he rolled him up on his back to prevent the try. I consulted with my AR and we came to the decision that without the infringing player, there was no doubt that the try would have been scored. I awarded a penalty try to DLS and yellow carded #10. After that, DLS was able to score a couple of more times and make a few of their kicks before Bullard went on a tear down the field and scored a great running try to put 5 points on the board. It was a tactic that they would reuse throughout the day and one that would give them a decent amount of success if it weren’t for handling errors within arms reach of the goal line.

Also worthy of note in the first half, and something I haven’t seen in many high school games, was the great discipline from both teams. There were a few early penalties, but then there were almost none for a good chunk of the first half. This would continue into the second half until the last couple of minutes where the tired DLS replacements would commit 3 stupid penalties leading to a Bullard try with time expired on the clock.

As I stated earlier, the skills of DLS were what won them the match, and this was apparent in the second half. DLS was clearly the better conditioned team, and when it came down to it, they were able to make big breaks and play with speed to put themselves up by a comfortable margin. In fact, with time winding down, it looked like the score would end at 50-10 in favor of DLS (Bullard had knocked on two clear try scoring opportunities on the wing). However, the replacements seemed to lack the passion that the starters had, and they gave up 3 tries and 2 conversions, including the try in extra time that was aided by a yellow card to DLS #17 for a high tackle.

Again, both teams were very well behaved and I wish them both luck at their matches this coming weekend.

Date: 04/28/2018
Jesuit High School Rugby Club 45 – San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club 28
Referee: Steven Fenaroli

SFGG came down to meet JHS on their home field. The game was contested with both teams fighting hard at all aspects of the game to gain every advantage.

At halftime Jesuit had scored 28 and SFGG had not scored at all. 60′ through the game, JHS had begun to sub in replacements.

Scrums were issues all game as SFGG had issues driving straight, standing up, losing his bind, and losing their feet. It was a long scrum day.

SFGG kept their composure and battled back having two great runs ending in trys.

Date: 04/28/2018
Lamorinda Rugby Football Club 3 – Danville Oaks RFC 50
Referee: Roberto Santiago

It was beautiful Nor-Cal morning as we were set for a bushy-tailed 9:30am kickoff. Both teams came out playing hard right off the first whistle. Danville opened with two quick tries, including an electrifying pick and run by their #8, who did everything you tell players not to do (run sideways away from support) but managed to find the corner and get the ball down to Lamo’s five-meter line before being tackled. After ten-minutes the score stood 12-3 and it looked like we’d have a contest. Danville put over three more tries between 13:00 and 25:00 to give themselves a cushion at half-time.In the second half, La Morinda played better, controlling a fair amount of possession in Danville’s half. However, they just couldn’t find enough cohesion to put on over the try line. Three second half tried for Danville gave us the final margin in a hard fought match.

Date: 04/28/2018
Olde Gaels 32 – Bend Roughriders 34
Referee: David Pescetti

What a treat to have had the privilege to be in the best seat in the house for this one. Bend traveled far from their homes in the far north to face the prestigious Old Gaels. This one was a battle from the get-go.

Starting the match was a solid game plan from each team. Bend clearly favoring their forwards and Gaels their 7 and fullback. Striking first was the home side, Gaels, breaking through, scoring, and converting. With the ensuing kickoff they promptly marched down the field and scored again, but missing the conversion. Gaels 12 – 0 Rough Riders missing their DMX. The Gaels tacked one more try on at 20 minutes, to take a staggering lead of 17 – 0. Looked like they were cruising. However, took near on twenty full minutes before Bend was able to straighten their bearings correct. A minute after the last score Bend was able to muster their own points. Gaels ahead 17 – 7. Right before the half the Rough Riders were setting in their stride. putting points on the board to actually put the Gaels behind. Gaels 17 – Rough Ridgers 19. Luckily for the Gaels halftime came.

The second half started like the first ended. Rough Riders riding their momentum to another score. RR 26 – Gaels 17. Still very much within reach. With 11 minutes to go, Bend tacked on what seemed to be the nail in the coffin try. Going up 16. Looked like Bend was just muscling their way past the Gaels. But this sparked energy into the Gaels. They stormed back scoring at 7 minutes and at 2 minutes. They had all the momentum. On the last kickoff Gaels had possession. They were moving the ball out wide. Then tragedy struck. They knocked it on.

Final: Bend Rough Riders 34 – Old Gaels 32. Congratulations Bend. Good luck in Texas

Date: 05/05/2018
Elsie Allen 22 – De La Salle 31
Referee: Preston Gordon

Elsie Allen emerged victorious 31-22 after a tough challenge from De La Salle on a beautiful day at the St. Mary’s stadium.

Pre-match, I assumed that the game would be on Pat Vincent field, as usual, so I parked there and got set up. 40 minutes before the match it became clear to me that something was amiss, given that the only other person around was one of the assigned ARs. A quick phone call to one of the coaches sorted this out, but that meant packing everything up and driving to the stadium to look for parking. When I arrived at the stadium there was only 30 minutes left before kickoff, which obviously compressed the pre-match timeline. The lesson is the usual one: when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me. Luckily this error was not a major one, and we got started on time.

The teams were very well-matched and played a competitive, very clean, and fast game in front of a couple hundred people who seemed to appreciate the entertainment on offer. Elsie Allen’s scrum was a bit stronger, and they had a couple of standout backs, whereas DLS’ backline as a whole was perhaps a little bit sharper and the team a bit fitter overall. Obviously both sides were well-coached to look for attacking opportunities wherever possible.

At halftime Elsie Allen was up 26-12, having scored 4 tries to 2 in the first 40 minutes. Towards the end of the second half, De La Salle mounted a comeback, coming within 14 points at 31-17. DLS had the opportunity to cut that lead when they opted to kick a penalty from ~20m out, more or less in front of the posts, but the kicker’s strike hooked the ball just to the left, which may have sealed the result.
The last 5+ minutes of the match were fairly intense, with Elsie Allen on defense inside their 22. DLS was helped by a 67′ yellow card to the Elsie Allen #5, who went to the naughty chair after cynically killing ruck ball as he was retiring to an onside position near his own goal line. De La Salle maintained their effective attacks, being held up in goal once, before one of their backs broke through on the outside to score after time had expired. While the conversion was missed, this brought DLS within a respectable 9 points. I think if this game had lasted 80 minutes they would have had a pretty good chance to finish their comeback.

I was asked to say a few words to the players and their parents after the match, which I was happy to do. For anyone who couldn’t hear me in that big crowd, I was serious when I said that while it was fun to be ARing Cal-Lindenwood on TV at the same venue one week previously, this was a better contest and that I was happy to be there instead of in Santa Clara for the D1A championship.
Thanks to Ed and Duane for being great ARs, and to the young man who stepped in to cover as a TJ in the first half. And, of course, congratulations to Elsie Allen on their trophy.

Date: 05/05/2018
Jesuit High School Rugby Club 24 – Danville Oaks RFC 25
Referee: Steven Fenaroli

Rugby NorCal hosted a one day tournament with games from 9am-3pm. This was a long day of rugby but was full of great rugby.

JHS and Danville met in the varsity prem final. It was a great game and JHS was ahead at halftime. Danville figured out how to get the ball out wide and were able to score more trys by getting the overlap.

At 80′ JHS was winning 24-20. Danville had a lineout on JHS 10m and was able to recycle the ball and score in the corner at the final whistle. Before they took the conversion, they had won by one point.

Date: 05/05/2018
Jesuit High School Rugby Club 53 – Peninsula Youth Razorhawks 26
Referee: Andrew Stockton

Both Jesuit and the Peninsula Razorhawks should be proud of the way that they played and the fact that they both made it to the NorCal Championships; no small task.
The first half of the match was very hotly contested in between the two teams. Each team had some excellent runners who were able to cut up defenses. The Razorhawks in particular had some very big bruising runners who would often drag 2 or three Jesuit tacklers behind them before being dragged to the ground. Both traded a few tries, and Jesuit was able to add 2 penalty goals to give them a 20-19 point lead going into half.

At half, my team-of-three and I decided to use the field monitor on our pitch to make sure that the parents on both teams were generally behaving themselves. The first half had seen comments along the lines of “keep it fair” and “call it both ways” from a couple members of the sideline, but I ignored them and decided to deal with them at half through the field monitor. We had no issues until a passing comment at the end of the match that I didn’t respond to.

The second half started just as heated as the first half. Both teams traded tries, making the score 27-26 in favor of Jesuit. However, due to the dry heat, and the conditioning of Jesuit, they began to pull away from the Razorhawks. Jesuit’s runners were able to streak through the lines, and the fatigued Razorhawks were unable to make tackles. This also led to lazy play on their behalf which led to quite a few penalties in the second half. This led to an altercation between the players that ended in a Razorhawk player being red carded for unsportsmanlike play.

These factors gave Jesuit a 53-26 win. However, it is worth noting that at no point during the match did the Razorhawks give up. They player with a great amount of passion, determination, and grit. I believe that if they had better fitness and discipline, they would have won this match. Hats off to both teams for a great season and good luck in summer 7’s and next year.

This Week’s Photo

As the only team to win a National Championship (so far, go Gladiatrix!), Chico State get the honor of This Week’s Photo.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

Death Be Not Proud


Death Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

-John Donne

Many of you have already heard the tragic news that the Pelican Society and the whole rugby family suddenly and unexpectedly lost one of the good ones, R Scott Wood. It is a difficult time for all of us and especially his family. He is survived by his wife Danielle and his daughter Gemma. As stated in the poem above, “soonest our best men with thee do go” and never has that line rung so true. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with the transition and to assist in Gemma’s future college fund. Please be as generous as you can. The link is here:

Scott Wood passed away shortly after he refereed a high school playoff match hosted by the Elsie Allen Lobo Rugby club in Santa Rosa. It is believed that Scott experienced a heart attack in his car while driving home. He was stopped at a street signal when the episode occurred and in spite of valiant efforts at CPR from first bystanders and then paramedics he never woke up.

How can I properly eulogize and give such a man his due? The short answer is I cannot. I can only reflect on how he affected me and how I saw he affected the people around him. His love for his wife and family, his love of country, his love of rugby, all of them are reflective of the man for it is how we love that, in the end, determines who we are.

All of the above could have been easily seen with just a quick perusal of his Facebook page or 5 minutes of conversation, but you wouldn’t have had to look too far or talk too long to discover one of his deepest loves and a major reason why he was so well loved in return. You see, Scott can be considered lucky to have passed after doing one of the things he loved, but that was not the thing he loved doing most: being outstanding in a field. He chronicled this passion over the years with constant selfies, showing just the top of his head from the eyes up and behind him the field in which he was outstanding. It was this kind of humor that really connected me to him. Taking a classic dad joke and turning it into your signature social media calling card? Genius.

You see, we shared that same sense of humor. This is also why he appreciated and understood when I constantly referred to him as “Our Scott Wood” in this publication. The base pun of substituting ‘R’ with ‘Our’ was clever enough – remember that the quality of a pun is inversely proportional to how funny it is – yet the deeper meaning was not lost on him either, as “Our Scott” or “Our Dave” or “Our Nev” is a term of possessive endearment used in England. It wasn’t just Scott who refereed all over Northern California without complaint no matter how long the drive, it was Our Scott. It wasn’t just Scott who served on the Board of Directors, it was Our Scott. It wasn’t just Scott who maintained the pelicanrefs.com website, it was Our Scott. Because he is one of us. He is family. He is ours.

Requiesce in pace, Pelicus Radix Lecti, Our Scott Wood.

Pelicus Scriptoris Speaks

As you will be able to tell from the next item, Dr Bruce Carter has a special relationship with Scott and his wife Danielle. Danielle asked Dr Carter to speak at Scott’s service but unfortunately he can not make the trip in time. He sent me the eulogy and asked me to publish it and to that request from him I never say no. He is far more eloquent than I could ever be.

Memento Mori: Scott Wood

We were, fair queen,
Two lads that thought there was no more behind
But such a day tomorrow as today,
And to be boy eternal.

“The Winter’s Tale”, 1.2.79-82
William Shakespeare

When one of our better friends dies young the effects are multiplied. He is gone, his family’s lives shattered and cast adrift, and our own mortality thrust unwillingly into the foreground. We do not know the right things to say. Our usual sense of having some control over our own lives is shaken.

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote, “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

What I propose to do, and say, and think, is to reminisce about my friendship with Scott Wood, a friendship doubly rooted in rugby and refereeing but blossoming far afield.

Scott was a half-generation younger than me, with a trace of the baby fat still about him, and consequently will always be a youth to me. In turn, our adventures together pursuing the oddly-bouncing ball from England to Edmonton to Oahu and points in between seem to me a part of my own youth, especially as I have since matured into quiescence if not incipient senility.

Shakespeare’s King Polixenes of Bohemia, grown into the cares of serious adulthood and quoted above in The Winter’s Tale, recalls his youth with his best friend and the sense that it would go on forever. (‘Behind’, by the way, carried at the time the connotation of ‘as a result’ or ‘yet to come’. People still use it this way in phrases like, “I did some time behind my addiction.”)

This youthful feeling went with Scott and me when we flew to rugby assignments, often rooming together, anticipating and then dissecting our games, celebrating the good life of friends and shared passions.

What times we had. We shared an Army background, and philosophies of life, and other interests major and minor. We introduced each other to music that took hold. The days of our youth are the days of our glory.

We were in Honolulu in October of 2008 to work a tournament, having been together on exchange in the East Midlands of England the month before. We both had jobs, but Scott at least had the excuse of not being married. That was about to change.

There in the hotel he borrowed my perhaps providentially pink Sony laptop, smart phones not having penetrated much into the market, to check e-Harmony. He announced that he had found an enticing prospect.

So next it was that he and Danielle asked me to officiate at their nuptials, set for November of 2009.

Chance may throw people together. Being thrown together repeatedly is not chance. In this light, how unlikely is it that I had long since made plans to fly to Maui for a medical conference the day after the event and found out that the happy couple would be on the same flight for their honeymoon?

To see Scott become a husband, and then the proud father of Gemma, was a joy. To share time around the pitches of the oval planet was a pleasure. To work with him on the board of the NCRRS was a privilege.

Those who have worn the uniform of life know that when we sign up for the good times, we also enlist for the lean season. That season is here.

Young Scott Wood refereed a high school playoff game April 21 2018. Mike Gadoua, there to announce the match, reports that our old friend was in good form and good spirits. Scott left this world on his way home.

That leaves the rest of us to pause, and to reflect, and to hope that we can leave behind more love than we take with us. In the long run, I trust that the happiness we derived from our associations with Scott will outweigh the immediate pain of loss, however long it may last.

Commit. Love. Serve. Care. Give. Pursue your passion. Be a friend. That’s the best way, unfortunately, to leave a void in many lives, but I am grateful that that’s the path Scott Wood chose.

– Pelicus Scriptoris

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 04/21/2018
Colusa County 25 – Olde Gaels 44
Referee: David Pescetti

In the D3 Norcal finals had Colusa vs the Old Gaels. Despite ‘Old’ being in their name they didn’t appear to be so. Looked more youngish and spry. Maybe they should consider changing their name to the ‘Middleage’ or ‘Graduated Gaels’. Enough of my rant and onto the game.

Colusa jumped out to a lead playing off a scrum set piece that used their backline to slice through the Gael defense. Missing the conversion put them up 5 – 0. Gaels responding in short order, two minutes later, and converting their kick to take the lead 7 – 5 Old Gaels. A penalty committed by the Gaels allowed Colusa to retake the lead by the slimmest of margins, 8 – 7. Not to be outdone, the Gaels took the ball off and marched the kickoff down to respond. This time missing the conversion, 12 – 8 Gaels. This action occurred in the first 20 minutes of the first half. The second half of the first half was, by contrast a drought. No one scored anything. That is, until the Gaels took the ball, with no time remaining in the half down the field to put an exclamation point into the break. 19 – 8 at the half.

The teams were ready before the refs were, seems like they wanted to get back at it. The second half had similar results as the first. Both teams going tit for tat. One team scoring and the other responding. The difference in the second half was Gaels making 2/3 conversion vs the 1/3 for Colusa, and Gaels converting 2/2 penalty kicks. Critically in the second half, threatened a few times, but came away without points or the Gael defense delayed Colusa enough that time eventually ran out for them.
Final Old Gaels 44 – Colusa 25

Date: 04/21/2018
San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club 35 – C K McClatchy High School 19
Referee: Peter Sandhill

Picture Treasure Island, a very warm sunny morning, the lush grassy pitch a little soft underfoot with a full day of playoff rugby ahead (various levels). This High School Varsity playoff had a 9.15am kick off. CK McClatchy had won the mid-season match-up and both teams had something to prove. Having set expectations before the game with each team about the tackle area (sometimes a bit random at HS level) and general behavior, the game started at a very fast pace and high skill – clean rucking, kick-chase on display, fast hands through he backs. The first PK was around the ten minute mark and the overall penalty count around 14. While SFGG had the upper-hand in the first quarter, McClatchy were first to score following a deep bomb (kick) that came down a few meters from the SFGG goal line, recovered and try. Converted: 7-0. SFGG came out with an increase in intensity and it paid off with three tries in the second quarter, two through solid forward work, one demonstrating superb pick and go from rucks. The other try was via the backs, many hands touching the ball. 17-7 at half time.

As it is with rugby, you never know what will happen, especially if players heads are ‘right’. McClatchy were singing at half time and I knew they weren’t done. For the first 15 minutes of the second half, McClatchy demonstrated some deft backline work, really stretching SFGG, until around 8min when McClatchy scored once (converted) and then again around 15min, out wide. McClatchy 19 – SFGG 17. Game on.

The final quarter saw SFGG, with great composure, rally back with all sorts of skillful rugby – hard forward drives, lovely backline work, maintaining possession for periods, and most impressively, the SFGG #10 put several deep, high kicks through to the McClatchy left winger with the SFGG opposing winger, like lightening, putting pressure on his opponent. Two of those moves led to tries (one converted). Add two successful PKs leading to a final score of SFGG 35 – 19 McClatchy. Hats off to both teams for a clean, well fought, superb game of rugby, with great sportsmanship.

At the end of this game, a PRP coach said to me, “Wow, that was high school rugby! What great athleticism and rugby skills on display. NorCal Rugby is really progressing.” Indeed, his words echoed my experience of refereeing this game.

Date: 04/21/2018
Cougar Rugby Club 48 – Oakland Warthogs 28
Referee: Rich Boyer

A nice game in the pre summer heat. Cougars would hit with quick strike tries, while the Warthogs had to work for theirs. Warthogs were undone by knock ons at inopportune moments. The Cougar #8 was quite prominent and scored a few long range tries, while the wing, #11, made some nice runs himself. The Warthogs were physical, but the Cougars created overlaps and took advantage. The Warthogs got on the front foot late in the second periods scoring three converted tries, results brought on by impact subs.

EDITOR’S NOTE: With so many territorial and national appointments this week for playoff matches there are several reports that I can’t access via our reporting system as the NCRRS is not the official assigner for the matches. To alleviate that problem I have included the summaries from USA Rugby’s Club page. I have edited out matches that didn’t involve Northern California sides.

Samurai Sportswear Pacific Rugby Premiership

This week’s only PRP game showed Life West Gladiators attempting to play the late-season spoiler against visiting San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG). SFGG is on a red-hot streak in the wake of last week’s must win domination of Old Mission Beach Athletic (OMBAC). The game seemed to never get going, as both teams bolstered their defense when necessary, not letting the other gain any momentum. SFGG scored first at the 25 minute mark, with Life West answering a few minutes later. The half closed with both teams knotted up at just 7 apiece. SFGG knew they needed this win in order to be a contender at the top, and that determination showed when flanker Matangi Tonga scored right away in the second half, Again, Life West were able to answer and brought the score back to even at 12. At the 60 minute mark, #8 Akuila Uaisele scored the go ahead try (his second of the contest) and Colby Stevens was able to add the conversion. Life West had the opportunity to immediately answer, but opted for a safe penalty kick as a response. In the stratagem that is rugby, it is a gamble to answer 7 points with 3, and that gamble proved to be fatal to Life West as Matangi Tonga scored his second try at 73 minutes, sealing the victory for SFGG 15-26. This win completes the trinity atop the PRP at 34 points, with all three teams on the road for round 10.

Northern California Men’s Division II

The final between SFGG D2 and San Jose Seahawks was on the ticket as the one to watch. The Seahawks bested SFGG in a defensive battle 25-22 for the NCRFU Division II title. The will “host” PNRFU DII champions Eastside Tsunami at Treasure Island this coming Saturday.

Northern California Women’s Division II

In the championship match for the second division of Northern California’s women’s rugby, the Sacramento Amazons triumphed over the Berkeley All Blues D2 36-24. The game got out of hand early for the Blues as they gave up 26 unanswered points to the Amazons in the first half hour. While, the All Blues made an impressive attempt at a comeback, ultimately, the Amazons’ large lead was just too big for the All Blues to overcome.

Northern California Men’s Division II

See Pelicus Spaghetticus’ outstanding report above.

Collegiate Men’s D1AA

The two premier teams in men’s spring D1AA rugby, Dartmouth and Nevada, met to see who would be crowned Spring Champion. The winner of this game would advance to go up against the Fall Champion, Mary Washington, to be crowned D1AA’s national champion. It was Dartmouth who got on the board first via a try to their hooker Mason Koch. Nevada’s attempts to keep pace with Dartmouth proved fruitless, as every time Nevada responded Dartmouth seemed to score two tries and quash any chance of a comeback. Despite this, at the break Nevada was only down fourteen.

As the second half kicked off Dartmouth again was the first team to score scoring the first ten points of the second half. The score remained 39-15 until Nevada responded with a try to cut the lead to 19, in the 70th minute. This lit a fuse underneath Dartmouth and the men from New Hampshire went on to score 21 points in the waning moments of the game to blow the score line out to 60-20. Dartmouth will now take on Mary Washington in the National Championship game in Fullerton, CA on the 5th of May.

Collegiate Women’s D1 Elite/D1

The women’s top tier of collegiate rugby has a rather unusual structure. D1 Elite and D1 compete against each other in the Round of 16 and quarterfinals and do not get separated until the results of the quarter finals. The winners of the quarter finals advance to the D1 Elite Semifinals while the losers compete against each other in the D1 semifinals.

The third quarterfinal saw BYU come up against UC Davis. BYU had prevailed against Arizona State the day before, while UC Davis put away Grand Canyon to book their spot in the next round. It was another one-sided affair as BYU showed their class and advanced to the D1 Elite semis courtesy of a 92-0 score line.

The final game to determine who would be placed in the Elite bracket and who would be in D1’s bracket came down to Lindenwood and Chico State. Lindenwood saw off Stanford, while Chico State pushed their way through UC Santa Barbra to advance. The match went to Lindenwood in a 71-0 affair.
The semifinals and championship will be determined over the weekend of May 4th and 5th in Fullerton, CA.

Collegiate Women’s D2

In the round of 16 and quarterfinals for women’s D2 we saw some familiar faces triumph and book their spots in the semifinals. In Stanford, it was Claremont and Nevada that went toe to toe in the quarterfinals after they beat Santa Clara and Long Beach, respectively. This was the closest of all the quarterfinals Claremont prevailed by six points. They shot out to an early 15-0 lead in the first 25 minutes, but Nevada determined not to go down without a fight, clawed their way back into the match in the second half, and eventually took the lead with only four minutes left on the clock. Unfortunately, for Nevada, that was enough time for Claremont to come back and secure a win with only two minutes left in the game.

In a battle of California, UC Irvine and Fresno State faced off against each other after automatically qualifying for the quarters. It was all one way traffic with Fresno opening the game by scoring 67 unanswered points. UC Irvine, in a show of tremendous spirit, was able to add some points to the board in the final ten minutes of the game, but the game was Fresno’s. Final score 74-14.

This Week’s Photo

Scott Wood, front and center, in his usual position of being surrounded by friends.
Standing: Bruce Carter, Paul Bretz, Tim Luscombe, Lois Bukowski, Aruna Ranaweera
Sitting: Josh Tameifuna (holding ball), Scott, Tom Coburn.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

There Are The Tries That Time Men’s Souls


There Are The Tries That Time Men’s Souls

It is playoff time here in Pelicanland and this is the reward, the payoff for all the hard work put in for the last 12 months. Very few teams win a championship so for everyone else the season ends with disappointment and the need to work harder for next year starts then. Actually, I tell a lie. Even the teams that win championships feel that need because they want to experience that feeling again. The joy of victory. The satisfaction of a job well done. The point is everyone has been putting the work in and for the teams that make it this far, this is when it pays off. Training in the cold and the rain. Doing just one more set in the gym. Passing up that last beer at the pub. (Yes, I know, but it does happen. Weird, but true.)

“These are the times that try men’s souls”, talented scrumhalf Thomas Payne (no relation to Dan Payne) said way back in 1776, while he was discussing his local club’s chances in the British Colonial Rugby Football Union D1 semifinal (they won). Seeking to further encourage his side he continued, “The summer 7s player and the sunshine supporter will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their club; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of player and coach.” Sage words, indeed.

(Historical footnote: Dissatisfied with the administration of the BCRFU Thomas Payne – still no relation to Dan Payne – successfully advocated for the local clubs to break off and form their own Union, which has been in operation ever since.)

It is no different for the members of the flock as we have all been working hard to perfect our craft, putting the extra running in, studying the laws and guidelines, and working with our coaches and evaluators to be at Peak Beak for the playoffs. Not only do the cream teams rise to the top but the cream referees do as well. For all of those who get playoff assignments, congratulations. For all of those who didn’t, don’t despair, but remember Thomas Payne (he really isn’t related to Dan Payne) and his famous dictum, “Missed appointments, like hell, are not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Thomas Payne quotes above were taken from his inspirational leaflet The Catastrophe and not the famous revolutionary pamphlet The Crisis that was published some time later on. Although, to be fair, The Crisis was based on The Catastrophe, which passionately detailed the need to separate from the BCRFU.)

Weekend Update

With several leagues heading into or already in playoffs it is time to take a quick look around the landscape. So here we are with the latest:

Women’s D2

The All Blues D2 side beat an impressive SFGG 48-40 but the Sacramento Amazons still remain on top with a 7-1 record . The All Blues will play the Amazons this weekend in the D2 Final at SFGG.


Not really sure, as most of these are national appointments (ie: USA Rugby sends the Nor Cal B Panel to do our games) and because of that I don’t get results when I download the games. All I know is that OMBAC and Belmont Shore sit atop the standings with SFGG close behind. Life West and Olympic Club are well back. Do they have playoffs? Who knows?

Men’s D2

In the Upset of the Week SFGG D2 beat the perfectly cromulent #1 seed Sacramento Blackhawks, dealing them their first on field loss of the season. They will meet the San Jose Seahawks in the D2 final this weekend as the Hawks took care of business against a game Vacaville side.

Men’s D3

Was off. The final is this weekend when thine most Olde Gaels will deal combat with Colusa. Huzzah!

Men’s D1-A

Both St Marys and Cal cruised through their first playoff matches and will each host quarterfinals this weekend. Cal takes on Navy and St Marys gets Lindenwood. With the D1-A Final to be held at Santa Clara University’s Steven’s Stadium, neither Cal nor St Marys should sleep anywhere else but their own beds before meeting in the final. Yes, that’s a prediction, and I’m sticking to it.

Men’s D1-AA

Nevada took care of business down south in Long Beach and beat the hosts in the semifinal to set up a date for the D1-AA National Championship. Nevada will now face Dartmouth in the Spring Championship at East Carolina University this Saturday.

Women’s D1-Elite

Chico State will take on the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara while Lindenwood will try their luck against Stanford this weekend at Stanford University’s Steuber Rugby Stadium. More on that next week.

Women’s D2

University of Nevada’s ladies get a chance to match their brethren with a matchup against Long Beach St. The men won in an exciting, tense match and now for the women to match that this weekend at Stanford. Fresno St is set to take on UC Irvine as well in the other quarterfinal held at Steuber Rugby Stadium.

As you can tell there is a lot going on and Nor Cal is well represented in the national landscape yet again. Good luck to all participants as they battle it out. Personally, I will be lying on a beach so will have to wait until Monday to find out what happened.

Disciplinary Action Reporting – Process For Reporting Incidents

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

1. Copy the link and have it available on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone add the link to your home screen.
2. When needed fill it out and click submit. The discipline chair of the competition you refereed will receive a notification about the incident.
3. He/she may contact you latter for more details.
4. If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uz0_gTaOnY

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 04/14/2018
University of California 85 – Grand Canyon University 14
Referee: Phil Akroyd
AR: Matt Hetterman
AR: James Hinkin
#4: Eric Rouscher

One of the D1-A round of 16 games brought together number 16 seed GCU and number three seed California in Strawberry Canyon. GCU sneaked into the playoffs in only their fourth year of existence. The Phoenix, AZ outfit have made some real investment into their rugby program and brought in a former Scotland 7s player as coach, a kiwi coach, and their captain is a giant Englishman from Staffordshire. That gives the impression of a wholly overseas flavor, but those are the only foreigners involved – all others are U.S. born and raised players who have taken up the game here. Very commendable, and also highlights the level of competition of serious rugby colleges and the recruitment battles that we may have in the future. That has to be good for the college game.

Unfortunately, when it game to the on-field operations, GCU showed their lack of experience. They really put themselves in a deep hole early on with some kicking decisions that appeared a little ‘off-piste’, while deep in their own half. They gave up 26 points in the first eleven minutes so the game was out of reach from the start. Cal managed to put 45 points up by half and GCU managed a converted try that also came from some risky play from Cal’s own line, which seems to be a tactic of late but undid them last year against SMC too.

In a near mirror image of the first half, Cal added another 40 points in the second half and GCU 7, so I certainly covered some miles. Other than the high scoring, the game was notable for the lack of other events. Scrums were very clear, no foul play or cards, lots of advantage, and very few penalties conceded by either team.

GCU can be happy with their season, while Cal move on to play Navy on Saturday back at Witter Rugby Field, which should be a more thorough test. Thanks to James Hinkin, Matt Hetterman, and everyone’s favorite Wizard, Eric Rauscher for the in-game support.

Date: 04/14/2018
SFGG Women 40 – Berkeley All Blues B 48
Referee: Lee Bryant

Beautiful day for some great rugby! Being a part of a good women’s club rugby match is one of my favorite places on the rugby pitch. Watching those experienced women weave the ball through well-executed tough hits reminds me why I love this sport. The first half was relatively evenly matched with a small margin score going into half time. Both teams had great runners and big forwards so the contest at the breakdown was tough. High tackles became the bane of SFGG and played down to 14 twice in the match. Blues managed to put up a few unanswered scores in the second half and SFGG couldn’t make up the difference despite a push with 15 minutes to go in the match.

Date: 04/14/2018
Sacramento Blackhawks D2 22 – SFGG D2 29
Referee: Rich Boyer

This was a hard hitting game. The Blackhawks stepped to an 8-0 lead on a quick try and penalty kick. SFGG fought back and were rewarded with a converted try. At times it looked easy for the Blackhawks as they found space and were off to the races, only to be undone by errors. They continued to pound and scored a converted try, which was answered near half time by SFGG. 15-14 at half. Both teams continued to be very physical. The Blackhawks had two long goal line stands but were eventually done in by the SFGG number six, who identified a gap, took advantage and scored the winning try.

Date: 04/14/2018
San Jose Seahawks 49 – Vacaville 36
Referee: John Lane
AR: Stephen
AR: Jonathan

A glorious day at Independence High School for the D2 playoff.

Two enthusiastic sides prep’d for the game and the formalities of boot checks and coin toss were completed early allowing the teams to go through their pre-match routines un-interrupted. Supported by Stephen and Jonathan as AR’s the game was started with Vacaville kicking “uphill” to San Jose who had chosen side having won the toss. The Seahawks dominated early play opting to kick at goal for a 3-0 lead on 3 minutes following a breakdown infringement. This was followed by a converted try on 6 mins with Vacaville slipping off a couple of tackles. 10-0. Vacaville started to get more into the game after these early setbacks. Looking to move the ball across the backline, a period of pressure was build up. This was initially turned over but the clearance was returned upfield with some strong running and after a few phases Vacaville crossed for a converted try leaving the score at 10-7 on 13 minutes.
The Seahawks drove forward and maintained pressure in the Vacaville half for most of the rest of the half with occasional breakouts by Vacaville. There were a number of turnovers by both sides as players became isolated after multiple phases. The Seahawks, trusting their kicker from reasonable distance, extended their lead to 16-7 with penalty kicks on 20 and 25 minutes. This was followed up with a disallowed try for double movement as they looked to build a strong lead before half time. On 31 mins, the lead was extended again with a converted try, 23-7. Vacaville put in a strong finish to the half but a number of opportunities were lost through knock-ons and players becoming isolated leading to turn overs. The half finished at 23-7.

The second half was lively on the scoreboard as both sides played open and attacking rugby throughout.
As in the first half, Seahawks started better and crossed for a relatively easy score on 43 mins to move to 30-7. The response was quick by Vacaville with an excellent score, converted, to bring the score to 30-14. This score was negated on 50 minutes as Seahawks pushed the lead out to 37-14 with a converted try. The next 10 minutes were fairly even with the subs benches starting to be activated in the hot sunshine! Seahawks scored next on 62 mins in what appeared to be the close out score for 44-14.
Possibly Seahawks relaxed a bit with the 30 point lead but it was also clear that Vacaville were going to play to the full 80 and the last 15 mins were played with open endeavor to pull back the lead. 12 points were added with tries on 27 (converted) and 31 minutes by Vacaville. 44-26 with 9 minutes remaining. Now I was being asked for the score and points difference by both sides!!! Seahawks broke away for a try on 74 minutes to stretch the lead out to 49-26. Vacaville kept chasing the game and crossed for unconverted tries on 39 minutes and with the last play of the game with the clock in the red! to leave the final score 49-36.

Date: 04/14/2018
Olympic Club B 24 – OMBAC B 51
Referee: Cary Bertolone
AR: Tony

Beautiful day at Treasure Island, around 70 degrees with a breaze. OMBAC scored at 7 minutes and at 24 minutes. O Club intercepted a pass to score at the end of the half. OMBAC up 12-7. It became more of a trackmeet in the second half. OMBAC scored in the 4th minute, then scored on an 80 meter sprint one minute later, O club scored a try two minutes later, and so on. Good game, most everyone in good spirits, final score of 51-24, OMBAC. Thank you Tony, who AR’d for me. On a funny note, my touch judge from O club allowed one of his yellow card players back in, 5 minutes early. I saw him playing, immediately, and stopped the game, penalized them and sent the player back off the field. Team mate yells that’s your touch judge, I replied that’s your teammate and we all laughed.

Date: 04/14/2018
Shasta Highlanders 62 – Southern Oregon University 29
Referee: Jeff Richmond

With twelvish players on each side, rookies, and a coed component this was truly a friendly match. Worth the drive!

Date: 04/14/2018
St Marys College B 48 – PAC (A-Side) 14
Referee: Roberto Santiago

A picture perfect day for rugby at St. Mary’s. The home team was their usual selves; cohesive, fast, well coached. The visiting representative side came with just 15 players, and put up a good showing considering that they hadn’t played together much and had no subs. St. Mary’s scored at the ten-minute mark on a nifty move that saw the ball carrier nearly tackled, but able to cradle the ball between his palm and wrist just long enough to reach over for the try. The side traded scores before St. Mary’s put in two in a row, the second coming off of a lineup and maul into in-goal. The visitors then put in a furious series that ended with a grubber that caromed off the goal post and right to a hard charging back, who dove over for the score at 41:00.The second half saw fatigue set in as St. Mary’s was able to bring in fresh legs and score four unanswered tries. The visiting side did put up a memorable goal line stand. St. Mary’s kicked ahead and looked for all the world like they would score on the initial 3-on-1 action within five meters. But the lone defender was able to tie up the ball carrier until help arrived. The next two phases produced a ball held up in goal, and a point of pride for the undermanned team.

Date: 04/14/2018
Danville Oaks RFC 24 – Lamorinda Rugby Football Club 31
Referee: Steven Fenaroli

Lamo and Danville met at St Marys for a match to decide #1 and #2 for high school clubs. Danville struck first with a penalty goal. Lamo responded with two tries. By halftime, Lamo had scored twice more and Danville had scored two tries as well. Danville kept trying to claw back but Lamo continued to keep the game out of reach.

Date: 04/14/2018
San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club 62 – Marin Highlanders Rugby Club 0
Referee: Preston Gordon

SFGG jumped out to an early 12-0 lead in their last match of the regular season with second and fourth-minute tries. Marin settled things down after that, mounting attacks of their own, until SFGG added 2 more tries at 17′ and 19′ to increase their lead to 24-0. The fast game continued, helped by the sunny and fairly warm weather. Before the end of the half, SFGG added two more converted tries to lead 38-0. The yellow card to a Marin player for not releasing the ball (as a team repeated infringement) didn’t help their cause.

In the second half several substitutions were made on both sides. This may have reduced the scoring somewhat, with SFGG being held to 4 more tries, but Marin certainly came close to scoring themselves, and their defense was standing up to the onslaught pretty well. With 10 tries and 6 conversions to zero, this game was one-sided, but that didn’t detract from the spectacle.

One further note from this game that pertains to law 9.7.b: I awarded a scrum in the Marin 22 just before time in the match expired, with SFGG throwing in. Time expired well before the scrum engagement sequence, and both captains were made aware of this. The scrum ensued and SFGG hooked the ball back to their captain, who was at #8. He unbound from the scrum, picked the ball up, took a step backwards, turned, and threw the ball ~20m into touch. He watched the ball go out, turned back around, and seemed a bit shocked to see my yellow card already flying high. While the yellow card may be a bit harsh in this case, I determined that this was an extremely cynical infringement, especially when it would have otherwise ended the match. Once I explained the laws and the SFGG captain went off, Marin took their last opportunity to attack and made good use of it. Eventually SFGG effected a turnover, went through one ruck, and then kicked to touch to end the match.
There is a very similar situation as in the second video example on the World Rugby laws page (http://laws.worldrugby.org/?law=9).

This Week’s Photo

With no other picture available, here is a shameless plug for Saturday’s Club Finals at Ray Sheeran Field.

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre