Northern California Rugby Football Union Referee Society | Bringing The Payne
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Bringing The Payne

This week we will be presenting the final piece of the Between Two Pelicans interview with USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne and while transcribing the interview I ruminated on the power of language, especially when used by a leader. When in a leadership position one’s words carry more weight than those of the crowd. Words of praise and encouragement from a captain or coach has a demonstrably greater effect than criticism, which is why good leaders limit their criticism and negativity and strive instead to encourage and point out the positive instead. This is a key facet to refereeing as well because when you are the Sir (which is somehow a non-gendered term for referee) you have authority oozing out of your pores. You are the Sole Judge Of Fact And Law and what you say, as well as how you say it, matters. Relationships can be built or broken and how you say what you say can determine what happens and whether you have players complying with your vocal cues or resisting them. This applies to referee/coach interaction as well. A wise player, coach or referee will think and measure their words to achieve the desired effect.

This is not news and if you get a chance to talk to Dr Bruce Carter he has a wonderful story about two English coaches who were about to utterly destroy an underperforming exchange referee before wisdom intervened.

Words are the building blocks of thought. It has been claimed that English is the largest language in the world – usually by native English speakers – but while English is a large and varied language, that is frankly nonsense. It is true that the English language has great abundance of words all with subtly different meanings, but so does nearly every other language. French and Spanish will have several conjugations of the same verb and will inflect much more than English while the German habit of creating new words by sticking several others together makes the potential vocabulary huge. You can spend an amusing time on the internet just looking up “words in xxx language that we need in English”… and I haven’t even gone beyond European languages. The point is there are a variety of options when it comes to choosing exactly what you want to say and meaning exactly what you intend.

Without the correct words we can not articulate our thoughts and many experts suggest that without the correct words we can’t even think them properly because we have no context or manner of organizing our thoughts. There is ample evidence of this throughout history as new concepts came into being and suddenly join the zeitgeist, leaving people to look back at the past with a look of “what were those people thinking?” The simple answer is, they weren’t, or at least they weren’t thinking the same way people did later. The words to express the thoughts didn’t exist so, by extension, the thoughts didn’t exist.

As power and authority are gathered then one’s words have greater effect. They not only help steer other’s thinking, but more importantly, provide a window into how the speaker thinks. This is why the Dr Seuss vocabulary of our current President alarms so many people – it indicates a mind that can not grasp subtle nuance and lacks the means to create complex thought. Speaking with Dan Payne left me with the impression that not only was Dan passionate, but thoughtful. He was very articulate and made very sure that when answering questions he addressed all of USA Rugby, not just the shiny bits. The men’s 7s team gets all the publicity but he made sure to speak to the accomplishments of our women, who have by most measures outperformed the men. He extolled the progress and hard work of our youth programs. Even when he was walking around a subject he didn’t distract, change the subject or obfuscate, but thoughtfully and intelligently said nothing. In short, he used his words. That is a skill I can appreciate and admire.

Now it is time to Bring The Payne.

Between Two Pelicans

This week, as noted above, we present the final chapter in Hail Pelicus’ beloved interview series “Between Two Pelicans, The Dan Payne Tapes”. It all comes down to money with USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne. Sit back and relax as we present Part 1 of our interview:

Hail Pelicus: We have already touched on this subject: money. Money and also Rugby International Marketing – RIM. It is reported that there is a $1million shortfall in USA Rugby and there were some people who were let go. Are there any plans to rectify this? Does Strategy 2020 address this or is that a separate initiative and finally, isn’t this the issue that RIM was created to solve?

Dan Payne: I would say that if you look at Strategy 2020 financial accountability and sustainability is one of the key focal points especially in 2017. We have to live within our means but that also means that we don’t have to be happy with what our means are. We have to be prudent – we have to be disciplined and only spend what we have but at the same time we have to go out and generate new revenue and revenue streams. RIM was created for that very reason – to create additional revenue however until 2019, 2020, we are set with a static licensing fee. We are just getting a licensing fee from RIM for the next three years with a predetermined amount with the hope that as they commercialize the game and drive additional revenue that in 2020 when they can pay a larger dividend.

HP: I didn’t realize it was a fixed rate contract.

DP: Yea…

HP: You inherited RIM from your predecessor Nigel Melville. You mentioned there is a 3 year contract. Do you see this as the way to go forward? From the outside perspective is appears as if RIM has produced very little outside of The Rugby Channel and I don’t see anything outside of that they have produced or generated on their own.

DP: It takes time to prove – we can’t accelerate or speed up the results. We will know three or four years from now. If the intent of RIM is successful it will be a great resource for USA Rugby. It will have helped create the revenue we need to really grow and accelerate the development of our players and the game as a whole and that will have a knock on effect and continue to add value. I don’t waste a lot of time thinking about it because it is what it is – it is the world I live in, so we need for them to have success. We need The Rugby Channel to have success. We need for RIM to have success with the commercial assets they have.

HP: So if it proves successful then we would continue with it and we might see more RIM jobs in the future?


(EDITOR’S NOTE: There were some technical difficulties with the recording for the next few minutes so Mr Payne’s response is sadly lost.)

HP: Thank you again for taking the time to speak with Hail Pelicus and I notice that while you have a jacket you are not wearing a tie so the Northern California Rugby Referee Society would like to rectify that situation. (Hands Dan a NCRRS tie)

DP: That’s phenominal. I will probably wear this to my next Nor Cal event.

And there you have it. Please note, Mr Payne that we here in Pelicanland will be watching carefully the next time you are in Northern California that you keep your promise and proudly sport our tie.

This Month’s Society Meeting

Next Wednesday will be the final officially scheduled referee meeting of the season and the last good time to get your kit. This includes the boxes of track suits and kit bags that still infest my house and need to go.

The meeting will be held April 12, from 6:00-9:00 at the SFGG clubhouse on Treasure Island. Plan on coming early to play touch and enjoy some food and drink.
Here are the topics:

Eric Rauscher – Technical Zone, What and Why
Paul Bretz – Effective Team of 3 or more

You Ordered It Now You Gotta Pay For It

Expect invoices this week from Dan Wilson for the kit that has been ordered and handed out. If you have any disagreements with your invoice please let Dan and I know and I will be happy to tell you that you are wrong.

Kit For Sale

I am assuming that if you had earned and wanted your free jersey then you would have it by now. I will be selling jerseys as well as the rest of the kit at the Society Meeting.

Pelicans Abroad

Last week we had a report from Larry Freitas’ trip to the Sceptered Isle. He was very impressed with everything he saw and wrote about it in great detail so I split the report up. As promised, here is his second report:

Saturday the 11th the cloud returned, but at least it was in the mid-50’s, not the 40’s at in the previous week. Jack picked me up at the resort at 10am and took me to some farm where there was a gathering of locals, some on horse back, mostly women, in boots, white tights and navy or black flannel jackets, with black helmets. You guessed it, this was a fox hunt! There must have been 50 hounds let loose as two guys in red jackets tooted the horns for the start, but only after about a half hour of socializing amongst the onlookers, mostly elderly English, but with mostly west country accents, not BBC or RP accents, very tweedy non the less. Refreshments were handed out by women with platters of all sorts of delicacies and pastries, and mulled wine, orange juice, and anything but water. We got in Jack’s Jeep and took off after the hunt, and he had a good sense as to where they were headed, and we could see them riding up and down the hillside, riding through the glen, whatever, but I was just amazed and flabbergasted buy the whole event. I did get some great photos! Then it was on to rugby match at Bideford, hosting North Petherton. King George the V Ground a nice pitch, with covered grandstand on one side, and the clubhouse adjoining. Old Boys at the match in blazers, ties, scarves. The visitors won, and Stephen Bubyer was refereeing his first 6th level match. Jack and I were joined by Zerren. After the match everyone was packed into the clubhouse for a viewing of England thrashing Scotland. Afterwards we went down to Bude for dinner. One thing I learned is that Devon and Cornwall don’t like each other much.

Sunday arrived, and Stephen picked me up at 8:30am as he was heading to Topsham for a morning’s teenage boy’s match, and I went along for a ride so as to referee Topsham Exonian Ladies hosting Paignton Ladies. The game was originally scheduled for Paignton, but had been switched to Topsham. I had made arrangements for lodgings in Paignton, with the rugby club there and lodgings near the beach and train station. So I took the train to Paignton from Topsham, and got a ride with a few of the ladies back to Topsham to referee their match. Paignton had brought along 11, but Topsham had a few extra players, and at kick off the sides were even at 14 on the pitch. Zerren warned me that the last ten minutes of the match could see Topsham running away with a win because of their superior fitness, if the game was close in score. This game was considered a ‘friendly’ match that would not be reflected in division standings, as Topsham is one of the better women’s teams in the Devon and Cornwall area, and fighting for the top position in the table, and they were to score early and often for a 37-0 halftime lead. Paignton responded with a try early in the second half and were to score two more, but it all ended 56-17 for Topsham Exonian Ladies. I was impressed by the ball handling and passing ability of either side, some speedy runners who left would be tacklers well behind, and have to say that Topsham have two players, second rows, both a bit over 6 feet in height, one of them a very good runner with ball in hand, and also a very good counter rucker who also a number of times arrived at the tackle early to poach ball out of the hands of the Paignton runner. It was something to see Paignton’s little blond winger, not much over 5 feet in height, take her down in a tackle at one point in the match.

We all gathered in the clubhouse afterwards for some food and drink, mostly ales and ciders, sausages and chips (what we call fries). Got back to Paignton and my little bungalow that was home for the next two nights. Paignton is a bit on the ‘seedy’ side I was to find out. The 1902 Paignton RFC clubhouse is a bit old and decrepit, and so is much of the town center. There is a steam train that takes on some ten miles and over the hill to the south and west to Dartmouth, a much more upscale place. Unfortunately the train doesn’t run on Mondays until April, and that meant another taxi ride to Dartmouth, taking the ferrry accross to the town, and enjoying what it has to offer, including the British Navy’s officer academy up on a hillside, and a castle at the mouth of the estuary that leads out to the sea and English Channel. There are desert palms planted here, so therefore it’s the British Riviera, this part of the English southern coastline of South Devon. Agatha Christie hung out here. The day was the warmest so far, with sun and inching up to 17C or 62F. I had left my shorts back in the bungalow. I got some great photos. Being Monday, and not quite tourist season yet, the castle was, wait for it, closed!

Finallly it was taking a train back to Twickers and Marriot’s, and an upgrade to the 6th floor, which meant, at no extra charge, getting a room with a view, literally, of the pitch!
Got to London that afternoon, and took in Victoria and Albert Museum. Friday the 17th, St. Patrick’s day, saw me boarding British Air for the direct flight back to San Francisco and a balmy 74F late afternoon. Now I’m typing this and looking outside the window on an early Sunday morning, seeing what I saw so often on this trip: cloudy skies!

-Larry Freitas, who will admit to being an Anglophile.

Last Saturday, In Hayward, CA…

Nothing happened.

Playoff Match Reports

It is playoff time again and many of us will be called on to adjudicate these matches. Please note that quite often matches will be listed by seeds, so the game will be something like Pacific #3 vs South #1 or Winner Match 3 vs Winner Match 1. When writing your report narrative please make sure you explicitly identify which team is which so that I can update the team names in our reporting section below. Many thanks to those who did playoff matches already who have made my life easier.

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

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

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

If you have any questions as to how to use the app please refer to the following video:

On To The Game Reports!

Date: 03/25/2017
Brown 44 – Yale 5
Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Welcome back, rugby! Yale traveled to Brown in this Ivy-League semi-final match up. The weather cooperated with our 11:00 am kickoff as the air remained cool and dry throughout. The match was relocated from Brown’s all grass rugby field to the turf field complex to keep it from turning into a mud bog. The make shift field was marked as properly as possible, with mobile posts in place and a plenty of width for 15’s.

Brown and Yale seemed evenly matched in size and fitness which accounted for the 5-5 tie at halftime. Brown scored first 10 minutes in, with Yale answering soon after. Lots of great high-intensity running, rucking and passing. A couple repeated infringements from both teams were handled well by the respective captains, buy Yale had considerably more penalties around the breakdown. This is where their inexperience started to show. Brown regrouped at the half and scored immediately upon gathering the ball in the second half, followed soon after by another try. Yale were strong in contact, rucking, mauling and scrumming well but Brown could anticipate Yale’s moves. At one Yale quick-tap penalty, Brown were back 10 but could see the play developing. One center sprinted forward for the intercept and a 60m try. That’s pretty much how the second half went.
(side note to the Ivy League Rugby: Harvard and Dartmouth compete in D1, the remaining Ivy League schools compete in D1-AA).

Date: 04/02/2017
Brown 19 – Princeton 12
Referee: Zanarini, Tom

Thankfully this match was played on a beautiful Sunday afternoon as opposed to a dreadful Saturday. Princeton returned from their South Africa spring break tour on Thursday, beat Penn on Friday, then traveled to Providence on Saturday to take on Brown on Sunday for the D1-AA Ivy League Championship. Both teams came out hard and fast with quick breakdowns and fast backs. There was no real flow to the match, so my commentary is lacking. The players are still having an awful lot of trouble figuring out what is a ruck and what is a tackle-only, even with communication. They want offside calls during open play. They also seem to want play-by-play from me. So, I guess that’s the common thread here; too much chirping from the players. But, not to disparage a very good match. These are both good teams with lots of skill.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Great to have you back in the HP, Tom!)

Date: 04/01/2017
USF 67 – Willamette 5
Referee: Sandhill, Peter

The National Small Colleges Rugby Organization – NSCRO had their annual regional semi-finals hosted at Cal Maritime over the past weekend. Four teams were vying for one spot at the next level. Willamette University traveled from Salem Oregon to play University of San Francisco on a pleasant, even hot, spring morning. Blue skies, sun and a dry field.

The game started clean and tight with a quick try each and scores level at five each. Gradually, USF worn down Willamette, with both consistent forward play especially pick and go patterns, as well as wonderful backs play. To their credit, Willamette hung in there with good spirit.

Thanks to Dillon Wall and JT for AR-ing. What a pleasure.

Date: 04/01/2017
Central Coast 7 – Google 76
Referee: Wilson, Giles

Central Coast have a field which is a bit narrow and slopes very slightly, they elected to play up the hill in the first half when Google won the toss and elected to kick.

Google had most of the possession and territory and the scoring reflects this. They scored 6 tries in the first half with 5 conversions for a 40 – 0 half time score. In the second half Google matched their try count but could only add 3 conversions while Central Coast managed a single converted try in reply. Final Google 76 – Central Coast 7.

Date: 04/01/2017
EPA Razorbacks 14 – Olympic Club 27
Referee: Fenaroli, Steven

The game was sunny and a nice day for rugby. Pretty evenly matched sides meant each meter was hard earned. OC scored first and took the lead early, never looking back. The game digressed and had 3 yellow cards and a red. It ended at full time.

Date: 04/01/2017
Granite Bay 9 – Jesuit Varsity 58
Referee: MacDonald, Neil

A highly contested first half saw excellent kicking as the teams traded penalties before Jesuit finally got past the stalwart Granite Bay defense to go into the break up 13 to 9. Granite Bay were unable to continue containing Jesuit in the second half, a problem compounded by yellow cards for dangerous play leaving the home team short handed for much of the second half, creating more space for Jesuit to exploit.

Date: 04/01/2017
Humboldt State 44 – Point Loma University 17
Referee: Stockton, Andrew

This was a well contested match through and through. Point Loma jumped out to an early lead, and maintained it throughout the entire match. Both teams fought hard, and made for a entertaining match. During the first half, there was an issue with tackles starting to become high, but I talked with both captains and made it clear that I wouldn’t stand for that kind of play, and the tackles cleaned up.

Early into the second half, #18 from PLNU failed to wrap in his tackle and jersey slung #15 of Humboldt to the ground. I yellow carded him for the offense. Humboldt took advantage of their 1 man advantage and scored a try and made the conversion. Then, at 58 minutes, #8 of Humboldt stiff-armed #9 of PLNU in the face. I awarded a yellow card for a strike to the face. PLNU was able to add a penalty kick and a final try right at the end of the match, giving them the 44 to 17 win.

Date: 04/01/2017
Marin 19 – San Francisco Golden Gate Varsity 43
Referee: Bretz, Paul

First time this year I had to have a water stoppage. Players were certainly overheated in the Marin sun. SFGG started the scoring but seemed to struggling in the waning minutes of the first half. At the half SFGG was up 17-14. Up until the 65th minute the score was 19-29. Congratulations SFGG on a good win competing against a good opponent.

Date: 04/01/2017
Mendocino 17 – Redwood 74
Referee: Bertolone, Cary

A beautiful, sunny, 82 degree afternoon and it was all Redwood in the first half. They scored at will, beginning in the first minute, and took a 38-0 halftime lead. Mendocino showed some heart in scoring three tries in the second half, but Redwood scored 7 more of their own to win 74-17 (Afa thought it was 81-17, but I have not compared my score card with his, yet).
Both teams played with proper enthusiasm with no foul play all day long. All great guys!

Date: 04/01/2017
Mother Lode 10 – CK McClatchy Varsity 40
Referee: Boyer, Rich

CKM started strong with winger Fernando scoring the first of his three long range tries within the first three minutes. Junior Waqavesi orchestrated the CKM backline to perfection which freed up multiple try scorers. CKM had no tee and consequently made no conversions. 35-0 at halftime, with an intercept try scored by the substitute 10, who would repeat his act again in the second half. Motherlode began the second half with momentum and scored two quick tries, keeping CKM on the back foot. But CKM held on, working through their phases, in a dominating display of rugby.

Date: 04/01/2017
San Joaquin 86 – SF Fog 12
Referee: Jury, Jeff

It was a beautiful day in Manteca. The Fog found themselves standing on green grass, which was unique to their season, since everything has gone synthetic in the city. Unfortunately, that uniqueness and San Joaquin’s gearing up for the finals was going to be their undoing.
San Joaquin scored 50 points in the first half, to the Fog’s 12. San Joaquin scored another 36 in the second half with the Fog coming close, but no cigar.
Final San Joaquin 86 SF Fog 12.

Date: 04/01/2017
Santa Rosa 51 – SFGG Green 0
Referee: Gordon, Preston

Santa Rosa defeated SFGG Green 51-0 on an 82F day in Santa Rosa. 5 tries in the first half and a further 4 in the second were more than enough for Santa Rosa to secure the result, despite playing the last 49 minutes of the match with 14 men after one of their flankers saw red for a punch. Aside from that one incident, the game was played in good spirits. While SFGG only brought 17 players, compared to Santa Rosa’s full complement of 23, this didn’t seem to make much difference. Thanks to both touch judges for the help.

Date: 04/01/2017
South Valley 13 – Colusa 69
Referee: Pohlman, John

South Valley hosted league leader Colusa at Paradise Park in Morgan Hill the past Saturday. Beautiful day and nice location except for a small rutted field.
Colusa scored first with a nice support try by #10 Brett Monroe. South Valley answered with a penalty three minutes later and almost took the lead but kicker Chili #3 missed the second attempt. Colusa’s hard charging #8 Ardy scored his first try. Followed by #9 Juan Loza first try of the day. Juan scored a few more as Colusa wore down the South Valley defense. The first half was competitive and finished with Colusa leading 26-13.
The second half started with Ardy catching the kick off breaking a half dozen tackles faking a couple of passes and scoring a 60 meter try. The defense for South Valley wore down and Colusa’s hard runners continued to break tackles for scores. Thus started the seven try s scored in the second half. Final score Colusa 69 South Valley 13.
The game was played in good spirits with both teams respecting each other. Good stuff.

Date: 04/01/2017
UC Davis 58 – UC Santa Cruz 29
Referee: Pescetti, David

A Pac West playoff weekend in the unanticipated Chico, California.

Saturday pitted the No. 2 Davis vs No. 3 UC Santa Cruz. The match began with a Slugs catching Davis snoozing and scoring a corner try in the opening minute to take the early lead. Still a bit dazed Davis countered with putting up 3 points on the board off a Santa Cruz penalty. Davis slowly started to awake. They converted the next score that came 8 minutes later. SC not wanting to stay within striking distance mimicked Davis and scored their own Penalty Goal off a Davis infringement. With 20 minutes gone in the first half the score was Davis 10 – SC 8. It was incredibly close. With 10 minutes remaining in the half, Davis made a push. Nailing and clawing for any points to put daylight between them and the Slugs. They managed a try, a converted try, and another penalty goal. At the half Davis had stretched it to 25 – 8.

Davis felt their opponent giving them a window of opportunity that extended into the second half scoring 19 unanswered points in the opening 10 minutes. This seemed to put the game out of reach for the Slugs, but they were determined to go out fighting. Santa Cruz scored a converted try within the last 15 minutes of the match. But during that time, Davis scored two converted of their own in an almost tit for tat ending. Santa Cruz did have the last final push, scoring two converted tries within the last 90 seconds.

Final: Davis 58 – Santa Cruz 29

Date: 04/02/2017
Point Loma University 35 – University of San Francisco 19
Referee: Hinkin, James

A perfect day for rugby at Cal Maritime saw Point Loma and USF meet for the Challenge Cup, the winner advancing to meet other NSCRO Cup winners, or something like that. Steve Hiatt – the poor man’s Paris Hilton – has all the details. The game was fast and fun and clean – just what you want. The players were committed to the tackles and ran with gusto, if not with great skill at times. some early nerves led to several knock ons but things soon settled down. PL proved to be dominant early and rang up 2 tries and a penalty in the first half while squandering several great scoring opportunities. USF were resilient and took their chances with an opportunistic try to make the half time score 17-7.

USF played better in the second half matching PL with 2 tries each but that, along with a couple of long range penalties from the impressive boot of the PL #9, meant that the game was always out of reach. Great game and great effort from both sides, both well coached and well captained.

Date: 04/02/2017
Chico St 18 – UC Davis 26
Referee: Pescetti, David

In the weekend finale pitted a rematch of two weeks ago, where Davis faced off against Chico. Davis looking to enact revenge over the loss suffered in the not so distant past. However, Chico was playing without their stud tight head prop.

Davis held firm in the first half holding Chico scoreless. Davis was able to create two converted try lead going into the half.

Davis’s two half mirror each other. Scoring both around the 4, and 13 minute mark. And only missed one conversion.
Chico made all their points in the second half. Coming out of the gate taking points with two penalty goals making 6 starter in the first 10 minutes. After another stalemate for 20 minutes. Chico made a late surge scoring twice in the last five minutes.

However time ran out and Davis moves on.

This Week’s Photo

CSUMB Head Coach and Friend of the Society Steve Hiatt got a chance to meet a hero. I’ll leave the reader to guess who the hero was. (L-R: Mike Conn, Sir Graham Henry, Steve Hiatt)

Hail, Pelicus!
For the Senate
Pelicus Pedem Referre

James Hinkin
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