Northern California Rugby Football Union Referee Society | MORE BETTER REFS
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Bruce Ricard has been promoted to L1 on the basis of his recent reports. Congratulations to Bruce, and our apologies for misspelling his new bride Karla’s name.

Dave Pescetti has been promoted to L3. Dave is a graduate student at Cal Poly who is from the Bay Area and spends enough time here to have begun his refereeing career on the right foot.


Send Pete Smith your availability to referee for the upcoming weekends.

Also, remember to check for assignments at They are on the home page.


By Bjorn Stumer, NCRRS Exchange Officer:

As part of our development program, our Society has an active exchange program with other Societies throughout the US, in Canada, and the UK. We send our folks out and we receive incoming referees, all in the name of development and the spirit of our sport. We need hosts for the following incoming referees, so please let me know if you can provide billet, transport, and/or hospitality. If you cannot billet, you can still take the refs out for a good time, or help with their transportation.

1. A yet to be named referee from Victoria, BC/Canada: either the 9th or 16th of March (still to be determined).

2. Virginia referee Chris Davis: March 23d – Match at Treasure Island.

3. Northwest referees Tony Maphosa & Mary Castle: March 1; and Chad Douglas April 6.

Personally I am hosting Alberta referee Andrew Petti on March 9th

Hosting can be a way to repay the Society for that exchange you went on, or will get you kudo points for upcoming exchanges.


It’s one of Murphy’s laws: people inform us of their desire to take a level one referee course a week or two after several courses are held.

To help meet this need, Matt Eason will be offering the IRB course in Sacramento over two evenings, Tuesday and Thursday, February 26 and 28, 2013, from 6:00 until approximately 9:30 each evening.

Attendance at both sessions will be mandatory for completion of the course.

The location of the course will be:

Kennedy High School
6715 Gloria Drive
Sacramento, CA 95831

Class size is limited to 20, the cost is $50.00 if pre-registered with USA Rugby.

Matt Eason:


Don’t forget our monthly meeting at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island next Wednesday, from 7 until 9. We start on time and finish on time, but if you’d like to arrive any time after 6 food will be available.


Wednesday, February 6C

CALIFORNIA 62 – Cal Maritime 6 Referee: Preston Gordon

ARs: Rob Hendrickson, Rich Anderson

Witter Field

By the 7pm kickoff time it was crisp and clear but not windy. Cal, playing their frosh/soph side with the odd upperclassman or two, kicked off to the west and immediately put the Keelhaulers under pressure to the point where, maybe 20 seconds later, they had earned themselves a 5-meter scrum after the ball was carried back into in-goal and grounded by the visitors.

Cal enjoyed the first couple of minutes of possession before one of their players was caught in a high tackle by Maritime’s #8 in the 3rd minute (Nota bene: foul play is foul play, whether in the 3rd second, 3rd minute, 30th minute, etc. No leniency is warranted just because it happened early in the game). He took a 10-minute break, and it took Cal about 5 minutes more to score their first try. From that point on it was mostly one-way traffic, with Cal scoring 6 tries before halftime and converting 4, for 38-0 on the board at the break.

In the second half play was much the same. Cal did a good job countering Maritime’s deep kicks but were also playing in a more disjointed manner than usual, so Maritime had several opportunities to attack. Their efforts were rewarded with 3 shots at goal due to Cal offenses at the tackle and they kicked 2 of those penalty goals. Cal added 4 more tries and 2 conversions to finish things at 62-6. More details here:

A couple of other notes: thanks to Rob and Rich, and to the coaches of both sides for the feedback. Thanks also to whoever it was that was cheering for the ref from the stands – it’s hard to see up there at night when the lights are on. Next, I was pretty impressed by the new high-performance athletic facility that Cal’s rugby team is using. That can only be good news for American rugby. Lastly, this game makes it 299-16 to the victors in the 4.375 games I’ve reffed in 2013, so I can’t be far behind James Hinkin on this year’s hit list.

Stanford 0 – ST. MARY’S 57 Referee: Donagh O’Mahoney

Quick summary, don’t have my score sheet handy but from memory.

Very good conditions. Dry with very little wind and pitch in very good condition.

St Mary’s were the stronger team and scored the majority of tries in the first half to lead 40-0 at half time. Stanford were more competitive in the second half and came close to scoring but errors and good defense prevented them from scoring. Very high penalty count against St Mary’s in the first half at the breakdown but second half saw a vast improvement in the penalty count.

Seconds: Stanford – St. Mary’s

No report received.

CALIFORNIA 112 – Cal Poly 7 Referee: Pete Smith

AR: Rob Hendrickson

Referee Evaluator: Mike Malone

My score was 112-7. Not much to write about. Very clean game with just a few penalties and pretty much one way traffic.

Seconds: CALIFORNIA 133 – Cal Poly 0 Referee: Paul Bretz

SF State – San Jose State Referee: Jen Tetler

No report received.

CHICO STATE 46 – Santa Rosa JC 10 Referee: Stephen Valerio

The last time I found myself heading up I-5, I had the benefit of Giles and Bruce’s company. At lot less conversation this time.

The teams were ready, the pitch was soft, though a couple of lines were missing and some were thin (which caused the occasional difficulty), but it was clear, crisp day and we kicked-off on-time. Chico St’s loose forwards were very strong and provided the basis for their attack throughout the match. With the bonus that their outside center was a very strong runner, and Santa Rosa had their hands full. The game remain contested throughout, but the final score line of 46-10 didn’t do justice to the strong Santa Rosa’s effort. Both sides played hard but were friendly throughout and displayed great sportsmanship. It was definitely worth the trip.

Seconds: CHICO STATE 55 – Santa Rosa JC 5 Ref: Valerio

With Santa Rosa having only half a B-side, Chico St provided the remainder. Unfortunately when one side is still introducing themselves and the other is a cohesive group, readily able to string several phases together, it makes for a one-way match. That being said, the match was notable for several reasons:

Chico St’s Flyhalf slotted a drop goal, his first successful one in match after 6 unsuccessful attempts.

I had a Santa Rosa kick drill me from behind. I will put that to the fact that a forward was kicking rather than to my positioning.

In one sequence I called 3 successive penalties against a Chico St player. Clearly a rookie still finding his way around the pitch, he failed to bind correctly at a scrum, played a ball from the ground and came in from the side. He then collected a pass off of a breakdown and dotted down for a try. When I blew the whistle to award the try, he went to his teammate “What did I do wrong?”

Finally, Santa Rosa’s one score took me by surprise. After poaching a ball, they got an all too rare chance to run a couple of phases. Inside Chico St’s 22, the flyhalf then kicked the ball. I figured the ball would go dead but the kick was perfectly weighted and Santa Rosa touched it down for the 5.

NEVADA 44 – Sierra College 34 Referee: Cary Bertolone

A beautiful, sunny day in Reno (although it never got over 36 degrees) saw us kick off at 1:00 PM. Reno took one minute to find the try zone. Two minutes later, Reno’s speedy backline dotted another one down and before you knew it, Reno was up 17-0. Sierra steadied up and scored 7 at the 24 minute mark. The score was 22-12 at the half.

Reno started out the second half with a quick try. At the 17 minute mark of the second half, Reno took a quick tap after a penalty for Sierra not coming through the gate and I figured that about settled the game with a lead of 32-12 and later 39-19, but Sierra came on strong in the end with three late tries to close the gap to a final score of 44-34. Great game with good players and good coaches!! Fun to ref!!!!

Seconds: Nevada 0 – SIERRA COLLEGE 15 Ref: Bertolone

We had a short seconds game with Reno loaning Sierra a few players. In fact, Reno’s scrumhalf scored the last try for Sierra, giving everyone a good laugh. Good spirits and rugby vibes all day long!


Lamorinda 12 – DANVILLE 60 Referee: Tom Zanarini

Not all rugby ceases during the Vegas Sevens. Beautiful sunny day on St. Mary’s campus. The field was a little worse for wear. Better than most, but pretty torn up for SMC’s usual standard. Both teams came out swinging but the bigger, older Danville team won the day.


Barbarians 15 – SAC LIONS 36 Referee: Jordan Bruno

Seconds: Barbarians 5 – LIONS 31 Ref: Bruno

For both matches, the speed and discipline of the Lions side proved too much for the Barbarians to handle. Lions dominated the scrums and set pieces and showed great agility in their backline to move ball in hand and outscore their opponents.

COLUSA 31 – Shasta 13 Referee: Anthony Nguyen

The weather was great as the two teams took the field for kick-off. Both teams started off strong with possession changing rapidly between teams. Several close penalties towards Colusa’s own try zone allowed Shasta to take multiple penalty goal attempts, two of which they made. Colusa hammered back with quick and fast maneuvers that resulted in two spectacular tries in the first half. Half-time was rapidly approaching, and both teams fought fervently for points before the end of the half, but to no avail. So far, Colusa was leading at 14, Shasta 13.

The second half started off with a bang with Colusa immediately scoring another try. Shasta fought back harder with strategic runs and excellent gameplay, which earned them a well-deserved try. Much of the same intensity found in the first half also lingered into the second half. Colusa was able to close the match with one more successful try. Final Score: Colusa 31, Shasta 13.

SJSU 52 – Fresno State 22 Referee: Tony Levitan

San Francisco State 10 – SIERRA COLLEGE 39 Referee: Paolo Diaz

Reffed SFSU vs. Sierra at Treasure Island.

Beautiful day for Rugby at Treasure Island. Cool, no wind. 2 PM start so the sun was a little low in the sky.

Game started out with a lot of intensity. Good hard, rucking and counter rucking by both sides. SFSU scored first and then was matched by Sierra. Went back and forth through the half. Halftime score was 12-10 for Sierra.

Second half was a different story – Sierra’s superior fitness and athleticism overwhelmed SFSU’s heart. SFSU threatened to score several times but Sierra’s defense was just as committed as their offense. 27 unanswered points by Sierra for a final score of 39-10


Reffing in and around California
Report from Wesley “wezflash” van der Linde, Natal Sharks Academy

I’ve been back home in Durban a week now and still can’t believe that my time in California is now over. I will never forget the friends made and places visited. I’m in awe of how blessed I am to have been afforded the privilege of visiting such a vibrant rugby community in California. My time in Sacramento was indeed extra special. I got to stay with such wonderful people, namely Rich and Nola Boyer and Ray and Kat Todd-Schwartz. They treated me like their own son and I cannot begin to thank them for all the hard work they put in to making me feel at home.

Refereeing in California was quite an unforgettable experience. All in all I refereed close to 15 matches across all age groups. I got a good idea of the quality of rugby in California and it definitely surpassed my expectations. I’ve already shared on my experience refereeing St Mary’s and SFGG, and how I felt the rugby very fast paced and of good quality for a pre-season fixture.

I was well impressed with Motley Land Park Rugby Club, and believe the work being done there by Richard Boyer, Matt Eason, and the coaching team is going to impact on the National team in the near future (editor’s note: it already has!). Their ball skills and free flowing rugby is something to behold, and I am really happy to have had the opportunity to referee one of their Sunday matches.

I got to referee a midweek high school fixture between Davis and Kennedy High. It was the first time I had ever refereed on a (gridiron) Football turf and that I will definitely never forget and certainly brag about among my peers. My refereeing experience in LA was also unforgettable. UCLA is stunning. Being able to referee there was quite magnificent. The field was gorgeously green, and the weather was a lot more of what I am used to back home. UCLA’s Dennis Storer Classic was the name of the event. I had the privilege of refereeing Cal twice, once on Saturday and again in the final match of the tournament.

The next big event I was fortunate to be a part of was the Kick Off Tournament. The 2013 version was the 29th Annual in Sacramento. With 130+ sides from all around this was definitely the biggest tournament I have ever been involved in. The weekend started off on Friday with a referee’s development course wonderfully run by David Williamson (Berkeley) and Paul Cassidy (Alberta), and a referee coach’s course, both of which went very well. That evening we enjoyed an informal dinner and drinks social at Streets of London Pub. The food was great, meeting and chatting with all the refs and those involved in the KOT was absolutely fantastic.

That next morning we were in full swing! All the refs were there and ready to tackle the day’s rugby matches, which spanned across 9 levels of competition and 7 whole rugby fields! I was amazed at how enthusiastic everybody was and how passionate the rugby players were. Who would have guessed that one would find such joy for the game of rugby in the USA, but here it was, a wonderful rugby spectacle. There was a good crowd in to watch the rugby and they were not to be disappointed. I enjoyed all the support from my fellow referees and we all had such a great time doing what we all love.

I was given the privilege of refereeing the final match of the day, the Varsity Gold final. This match included a color guard presentation from the California National Guard, and a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. It was all quite overwhelming but I just took in the moment. The match was a great way to end the day’s action, well contested and played in good spirit, with Jesuit triumphing over Lamorinda (last year’s NorCal champs).

Later that evening all were treated to a ‘fabulous’ referee banquet at the Courtyard Marriot Grand Ballroom (Number 1s required!). We all had a great evening chatting, eating, drinking, and listening to a couple of speeches. Fortunately Ray Schwartz gave me a Pelican mascot, but it didn’t stop there as I found myself with a rather large collection of referee pins, kindly handed over from various people.

The next morning it was back to business. It is important to note here that we were very well catered for under the (20 x 40’) referees’ tent. Thanks to our “referee mom,” Thais Armenta, we had everything we needed and more. Good food, healthy fruit and plenty of liquid! We couldn’t have refereed as well without it all. Sunday was just as busy as Saturday and we were all once again immersed in the wonderful game of rugby. The weather was once again good and it stayed that way throughout the day.

We had a few new referees on Sunday, but they all just slotted in and everything ran smoothly. I had a good opportunity to just take in the atmosphere and I realized that what was happening all around me was absolutely phenomenal. I am blown away by the quality of rugby and the commitment of those involved in their local schools and clubs. The commitment that drives the KOT organizers is clearly a reflection of this widespread passion. I don’t know why anyone would not want to be involved in such a wonderful event.

As the day drew to a close I had to say goodbye to a number of referees who had to catch a plane (or drive) home. It wasn’t easy to do this because of the bonds we had formed. This is what rugby does, it brings us together, and it makes the world a lot smaller. It’s a wonderful thing.

I would like to thank all those who made this KOT 2013 tournament such a success. I especially would like to thank Ray Schwartz for all his hard work in organizing the referee side of things at the KOT. It was such a blessing getting to know Ray and I’m looking forward to coming back some time soon in the near future. My refereeing season is about to start back home and I believe that the refereeing in California has prepared me very well for the coming months. I’ve grown as a person and referee and this is all thanks to what is going on in California with regards to rugby development. Keep up all the hard work! Keep celebrating and growing this wonderful, heavenly game!

“Refereeing is not a popularity contest; it is a test of integrity, honesty, and having the guts to make the right decision at the right time, regardless.”

– Mark Lawrence

Regards/Beste Groete

Wesley van der Linde


Something was going on in the concourse at the IRB Sevens in Las Vegas. Let us know what you think it was…


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

James Hinkin
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