Saturday, February 28, 2009

Quite a handful of rugby

So another week of quadruple practices for me and I'm pretty beat, beat up, and brow beaten by my parents for not job hunting 24/7. While my 'rents have a good point, at this point it's my money, my mistake. Annnd I might have gotten a small week long gig for a hundred bucks and every little bit helps.

Um on Tuesday my feet were absolutely killing me because I have no arches and I was barefoot for so long on Sunday (@ prom dress rugby). I didn't feel it on Sun or Mon, but when I put my cleats on (no arch support) SHIT I just about died. It was like sophomore year all over again, I could hardly walk much less run through practice (man I'm glad I finally bought good shoes and stopped having this pain on a regular basis). Later in a non-contact drill I was part of the defensive line, got bumped onto the ground and then someone planted on my instep ankle. The joint locked up and it seared like fire on impact but I think it's ok. It was a lot of weight on it and so I'm a bit worried that it could be fractured...namely because its such a difficult area to diagnose. Well I don't have two hundred dollars for x-rays so I'll just deal.

I'm having a blast helping out at the Berkeley U19 practices (despite the inordinate amount of muddy clothes I've had to wash as a result!). Actually my room smells like a swamp due to the hole in the ceiling, my muddy gear, and the lack of window screens and sunlight. All of it is my fault but still...I'm a tad worried about my lungs.

Alright in reality I'm just finishing up a post that I worked on weeks ago. So much shit has gone on I really don't have time for it all. More later. As always...your dutiful hooker signing out.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Synchronized Underwater Prom Dress Rugby Scuba Diving

The Goalpost almost floated away on us:

So the Job Corps field was flooded and a number of participants from both teams showed up. While everyone was appropriately garbed for a barnstorming match, the weather didn't permit for a full contest. After much milling about, the women were split into motley(mixed) teams and decided to play about twenty to thirty minutes of touch rugby. There were a number of highly amusing moments where certain agile Eagle wings attempted to make some deft cuts and ended up plowing face first through the lake. Considering the circumstances a fair number of wet weather spectators showed up and stayed through till the end(although a few stayed in their cars the whole time). Apparently some money was made and much fun was had by the participants.

A motley crew of women's ruggers

NorCal Collegiate Women's Rugby Updates

FEBRUARY 21 League Match Results
D1 Matches:
Cal 22 v Davis 10 (most of the D1 teams consider themselves to be rebuilding this year so it's not too surprising of a result. Davis may occasionally have better talent but Cal has a much better infrastructure, it's just a general observation but it may be the reason...I'll try to get the deets.)
Chico 24 v Reno 5 (Reno is a traditional contender for the wooden spoon)
D2 Matches:
SCU 24 v St. Mary's 17 (Now this is an interesting one, going off of history I would have expected St. Mary's to take this match easy. I talked to one of the Sac girls this weekend and apparently St. Mary's lost some of their size in their pack. Also credits got to be given to SCU, it's nice to see them with a win under their belts.)
UCSC played a mixed friendly with USF so no league points

Norcal Women's Collegiate League Standings for uh 08-09
Chico 15
Stanford 15
California 10
UC Davis 5
Humboldt 0
UN Reno 0

UC Santa Cruz 5
Sacramento St 5
Santa Clara 4
St Mary's 1

Alright I guess that's it. Practice tomorrow =]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

UC Berkeley Mens vs Univ. British Columbia

So I missed what ended up being a really fun motley friendly between UCSC and USF because I didn't find out my ride was bailing until 10:30 the night before the match =p I tried to pull a lot of fast favors and scrambled around on craigslist to no avail. In the end I figured it wasn't worth 8+ hours of transit and 30 bucks to go to Santa Cruz for like three hours. Even though I missed all my damn friends and what looks to have been one heckuva fun game. The teams were mixed evenly and the match ended 5-5 in this wonky friendly. It's weird seeing your teammates in different colored jerseys...really...really weird.

Getting Pretty High on a Mixed Lineout

Wait why is our wing playing flanker and our 8 is a scrum-half??

Kathy Flores in a much better mood + our 8-man in USF colors (again..confusing)

Motley Team Picture...damnit I shoulda just taken public transit! what did I do with my Saturday plans down the drain? Go to another rugby game of course! I was kinda on the fence because the UCB vs UBC match cost money which isn't something I have a whole lot of so I ended up biking over to Witter Field rather late (but beating most of traffic...wee for cycling). I figured I'd try and sneak in with the whole 'I look like a teenage/middle school boy' thing. I get to the front door and they're checking school ID's so no dice and I don't have cash and they don't take card. I'm missing kickoff and everything (2 national guard choppers are flying overhead the anthem is sung and I'm sure the Cal band did something fancy). So I'm bummed and trod off to find an ATM, 15 minutes later I drag my butt back up the hill and they've closed off the gates. No more ticket sales, no more admission with a crowd of about thirty still trying to wheedle their way in. At this point I'm pretty much like 'are you shitting me?!'. Then some nice older gentleman walked up to the gates and said that he had a spare free ticket if anyone wanted it. I raised my hand and walked right in for free (no atm money needed)! I spent the first half mostly peeking through the clump of people bunched at the top of the bleachers. At half time I snag a perfect seat next to a nice older gentleman and all is well. The program was nifty, you couldn't hear what the announcer was saying at all and both teams played pretty exciting rugby.

Cal put the pressure on UBC early on through a number of successful penalty kicks although UBC seemed to have an easier time putting tries on the board. At first Cal's beefy forwards looked to counter-ruck and generally manhandle their UBC opposite numbers but this enthusiasm quickly vanished as the game wore on. Throughout the game there was a high number of penalties and infringements. Cal fell asleep at the beginning of the second half and got in a rather uncomfortable position being down 14-15 for most of the half. During this phase in the game it felt like Cal was kicking away possession when they needed to keep it in hand and work through the phases. It appeared to me that Cal's forwards were struggling to break the gainline when running the ball which left the backs to play a bit of footy for territory. Unfortunately UBC's back three were quite suave under the high ball and had big boots of their own, for a good long chunk the Cal Bears were deprived of the ball almost completely. UBC made great punching runs and broke the gainline consistently and had a very slippery wing whom Cal struggled to get into touch. It was only through some great effort by Cal's wing that the bear woke up and turned up the gears against the Canadian Thunderbirds. Cal eventually won it 31-15 but in reality the game was much closer then that. Both teams subbed a fair number of players late in the second half when most of the tries were scored which may be indicative of the turnaround.

My view from the stands:

The National Guard Rugby...uh truck.

The crowd, while it was at full capacity was rather quiet. A few people tried to crank up the atmosphere but it wasn't Millennium Stadium by any means. UBC's section managed to get pretty vocal. After the match I figured I'd get a few autographs because heck why not...they put a section in the program and all. I got Chris Biller's signature because hey he's a hooker and goff seems to like him a lot. There was a ton of different media sources swarming the players after the event, tv interviews, radio journalists, and paper hounds which was pretty nifty. Oh while I was there I saw Rikus Pretorius and got his autograph as well. Bleh...nerdy but whatever. It's kinda weird 'cause I think I'm older then both of em. Oh well it was still fun and I'd have regretted the opportunity if I hadn't gone for it. It's kind of weird really because now I play for a team where a good majority of the players are of international caliber and...they're my teammates. It'd be kinda like being plopped in the middle of the Justice League Headquarters or something. It's just odd.

Oh well prom dress rugby tomorrow. I think I'm relying on good old fashioned public transportation to get to Treasure Island tomorrow. Lovely really, I get to bart to SF to bus back across the bridge to TI. It ought to be fun, come out if you can.

Friday, February 20, 2009

One practice down....a heck of a lot more to go!

This week has been crazy and it's not like I've gotten a WHOLE LOT accomplished but it's probably more then I've done in the last month so it's an improvement, all right? Just trust me...I mean heck I just installed a little hanging light doodad so I can finally SEE in my room at night! Holy crap it's amazing! Now onto rugby.

Tuesday: Was my first ABs practice and I'm not sure how my blog falls under their player policy. I think I read somewhere that you're not supposed to use their name without permission and such so I think I'm going to have to get things clarified before I proceed going into depth on the awesomeness that is their practices. I mean...super mondo gosh gee willikers awesome. I think it's ok going into the general stuff but if it gets cleared I think it'd be pretty nifty to post details on the sort of drills they do...cause they're obviously effective and surprisingly fun! Um but let's see...I've been biking a lot to try and build up my legs but I kinda pushed it the first day by trying to bike to the new Gilman turf fields. 6+ mile bike in the freezing rain before my first practice back from my hip injury = bad decision making on my part. I made it through warm-ups and about 3 drills before my legs were completely kaput. On the plus side I got to check out my hip mobility and strength with Laura Cabrera who gave me some cool tips + exercises and told me to check back in two weeks. It's neat because beyond the obvious (increased athleticism, focus, and skill level) each practice is planned with themes. Like instead of doing a drill just to practice a basic skill (passing) you're doing a drill that involves passing but is focused on developing field awareness. It's a given that you can pass now you're working on spacing, peripheral vision, and communication. Top two inches stuff. Oh I also had the obligatory rookie jackass moment where I managed to singlehandedly screw up a basic four corners drill. They run four corners with four balls and when they run to the center and pass to a direction they then run straight whereas I'm deeply ingrained to follow behind my pass. So besides not being used to focusing on four ballcarriers I also let nerves get the best of me and pretty much screwed up the drill about 6 times =p Oh well at least I learned my lesson and it reminded me that I have to really focus on instructions and the drill at hand. Everything is new and interesting and I think I have at least 3-5 lightbulb moments a practice.

Wednesday and Thursday I had practice with the Berkeley U-19 team (I didn't realize that they were an area team and not a HS team). Practices got a lot better, or at least I think I'm annoying the girls less. More recruits showed up so I think they have about 10 or 11 players which is pretty exciting. They have a game in about ten days that I think I'm missing because UCSC has a league game against St. Mary's. Ashley English led practice for the last two days and I worked with JQ to work on lineout throws with one of the girls. For the most part I just help move around the cones, snag balls, and do 1 on 1 stuff with rookies (basic passing, falling, knee tackling, and basic rucking/driving position).

Snagged a ride with Ashley to the ABs practice after that and because I didn't kill my legs on the bike ride (and perhaps due to the 3 x 10, 3 times a day lunges, heel touches and weird praying motions that I've been doing at LC's behest) I actually made it through the whole practice! Wooohoo! This practice seemed geared more towards communication, and I even did the contact drills. They were "soft" contact drills but with this group it's like being smashed by a very precise bullet train. I was definitely cautious going into contact but I was definitely getting rocked. It was pretty funny 'cause there was one part of a drill where you drove a partner about twenty meters while maintaining good form. I'm 220, I'm not the easiest thing to drive but Kelly Griffin (UCLA alum and socal griffins acclaim) was my partner and I literally flew! Let's just say I've never sprinted that fast in my life and there I was doing it in reverse. It was kinda like being hit by superwoman. Anyhoo I survived the practice with one knee to the forehead (I need to keep my head down when I'm placing the ball in a ruck) and a knock to the nose but bones intact! I'm still kinda working on learning all the different terminology that they use...I mean it may just be a D1 thing but grapes = inside passing or a vertical attack? Inside passing isn't the same as ours just means popping to a runner off your hip not literally passing left right left right...uh or maybe and I'm just getting confused again. Anyhoo Amara was right. I am slow to react to changes in play, it's something to work on. Pass the ball to the hole, don't run to the hole with the ball. Stuff that is probably so obvious to other teams is all brilliant news to me. I'm also trying to get the hang of being able to imagine the boundaries when Coach is explaining a drill...bleh. I'll just have to keep trying =]


It doesn't sound like anyone is driving down to the Champagne Classic but it may be a good thing. I'm pretty overcautious when it comes to injuries and it's served me well in the past (I've only re-injured myself once and it was for TAU playoffs) so for physical and financial reasons I may not end up attending the away matches (actually just make that a no). Which is a huge bummer because I've ALWAYS wanted to attend the Champagne Classic (and USA 7s) etc etc but oh well. There's always next year.

Oh in college news here is the pelicanrefs report on the Sac State vs St. Mary's game:

SAC STATE women 56 – St. Mary's 0 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
The final score of this match - Sac State Women 56 (29) - St. Mary's 0 pretty much sums up the one sided affair. The Sacramento ladies were just too fit, big, and skilled for a youthful St. Mary side which, to its credit, continued to soldier on throughout the match. The tries came in fast and furious in the first half, a number scored by Sacramento's sturdy but deceivingly fast No. 12, who appeared to cut through defenders at will. Five more tries were scored in the second half for a total of ten, three of which converted.

The only item of note is that, due to a number of collapsed scrums of unclear source, I called the scrums uncontested from the 16th minute of the second half.

As usual the ladies ruggers were polite, played in the spirit of the game, and refrained from the back talk that is frequent in the men's game. A wonderful dedicated pitch and a smallish but friendly crowd in attendance contributed to the good day.

There's another article floating around somewhere...and I added the link to Las Banditas because A)Jax is awesome B) Uhh Anna Richards is my biggest hero ever (so much so that if she asked me I'd switch to flyhalf...ahhaaaa) C)it's a funny cool site so check it out.

ABs vs SF Fog Prom Dress Rugby this weekend on Treasure Island. Go if you can. I won't be in a dress though. Ha.

UCSC will be playing USF this weekend at the most beautiful pitch on earth (or at least in NorCal). Of course I'll be there.

The pitch in heaven:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NorCal Select Side Developmental Camps Spring 09 + U23 Grizzly Info

Ripped straight from the email list but it's important info:

Hi everyone

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Mari Therrien and I'm coaching the U23 Grizzly select side this year. I've been playing rugby for over 12 years and have been gradually transitioning from player to coach. I've played select side rugby for over 10 years and been coached by lots of great coaches including the current WNT coaches. I was an assistant coach for the Grizzlies last year and am taking over as head coach this year as Jarred moves on to coach the senior side. The Grizzly coaching team this year will also include Michelle Stephen (Grizzly asst coach last year, ORSU hooker) as our Tight 5 specialist and Krista Gust (ORSU, Senior Grizzlies) as our backrow specialist. We like open, fast moving rugby and that's the style we'll be playing this year as we look to capitalize on the new ELVs. And we all play and coach rugby because it's fun so we will have lots of fun as we work to create a great team!

On April 25th we will be holding a regional U23 Development camp in the Bay area. This camp is open to all U23 players and will NOT be a tryout for the Grizzlies. The focus of this camp will be general skill development for all players from rookies to more experienced players with the goal of exposing more girls to select-side rugby without the pressure or expectation of tryouts. From all of the regional camps 40-50 players total will be invited to a tryout/training camp which will be held in May 9-10th. This training camp will most likely be held in Portland as it is the most central location in our territory. If players are unable to participate in one of the regional development camps and are still interested in trying out for the Grizzlies U23 team they will need to contact me directly. We held a skills camp in Oregon last weekend and will be holding camps in Seattle March 8th and Utah April 11th.

Please encourage all of your U23 players to come to this camp; the more the merrier! We'll incorporate a lot of rugby principles into fun games and I think everyone will have a good time! Throughout the day we'll cover a lot fundamental skills and hopefully introduce some fun new ways to work on them that you can bring back to your club if you wish. Coaches are welcome to come to the camp to see what we're working on and provide input on your players. We're still working on the final details for the camp including field space so I will email you as soon as we have a location nailed down. Assuming it works for the location we'll probably run the camp from approximately 9-3. (If you have any info on fields or could host this camp please email me!)

If you can distribute this information to all the U23 players on your team I would appreciate it. And if you can get a gauge of how many players from your team will be coming and shoot me an email that would be great! As you know it helps to know if you're planning for 45 players or only 15 players!


Mari Therrien
maritherrien@gmail DOT com
U23 Grizzlies Head Coach

I think this is a super cool idea because I know personally I've always been too intimidated to try out for select sides (uhh we'll just ignore the fitness and financial issues =p) but a...this is a really neat opportunity for LAU to get together and have some fun while yknow...developing. Oh yea and I made a slight mod to her letter because she originally sent out the wrong dates for the norcal camp. Alrighty and I'm still stoked for practice tonight...despite the downpour and thunderstorms.

Monday, February 16, 2009

International Rugby Fan

For the record in my last post I mentioned my lack of interest in men's rugby. I should correct that...I don't care about the domestic men's game. International rugby a whole different can of worms! My favorite national teams are (in order of importance) Wales, Argentina, Australia (and at the very least ANYBODY who is playing England!). I'm a big 6 Nations fan and Wales, Scotland, Italy, France, Ireland, and England (not by skill but by emotional attachment). H-cup I've been all about Bath (although it sucks about stevens) which is pretty ironic given my rancor towards the English National team but it's probably because all the pricks play for the wasps or falcons. In past years I like the Ospreys and Stade's weird to see Cardiff on top of the charts. Tri-nations I'm all about Australia 'cause Matt Gitteau is brilliant and cute and Deans has been doing an alright job. Super 14 I'm a fan of Western Force for the same reasons. Men's 7s I like everybody except NZ. Anything regarding the women's international game and I'll actually support the Eagles (despite the fact that I'll give mad props to the black ferns Richards is my all time hero). Women's 6 Nations I'll stick with Wales...nifty that they managed to get 2nd last year off of kicks. My world XV is probably an odd mess of players who would never slot in together but I will give a list of faves and asshats.

****Let it be noted that these are the opinions of a fan and not meant to be analytical or represent any sort of critical thought in the slightest...that is an entirely different matter altogether. This is merely a silly little list of school girl-like crushes and bitter anti-English grudges****

The Cool Kids
Gethin Jenkins (fit, fast, great hands)
Lee Meers (ok maybe I just like that his nickname is "the little pig"
Matt Stevens (stupid drugs!)
Victor Matfield (no explanation necessary)
The whole Argentinian Pack (nuff said)
Martin Williams (OG and awesome)
Ryan Jones (despite lack of form currently)
George Smith (OG and awesome)
Sergio Parrisse (good hands good leadership)
Dwayne Peel (I just love him ok)
Mike Blair (I might just love him more, footwork, leadership, great field vision and darts)
Juan Martin Hernandez (world cup...I was def. in the camp that thought he should stick to fullback when he first started insisting that he could play was I wrong and man am I glad I was wrong)
Luke Macallister
Augustin Pichot
Shane Williams
Lee Byrne
+ more

Dylan Hartley (cocky asshat)
Mike Phillips (for trying to grubber the ball through the English defense like 7+ times and being a cocky asshat)
Andrew Sheridan
Jonny Wilkinson (for being the most fragile sonnava bitch ever)
Toby Flood
actually can I just say the entire English backline?
Danny Grewcock
Piri Weepu
Ali Williams
Jean-Baptiste Élissalde (because he's a scrum-half...stop trying)
Ronan O'Gara (see Jonny Wilkinson)
BOD (over-rated)
Gordon D'arcy (asshat)
The Lamont brothers (see Jonny Wilkinson...let the Evans brothers play...they can actually tackle and score!)
I'm sure I hate more people but anyhoo

Tomorrow is my first practice with the ABs and hopefully I can get some help on my hip problem. Ugh it's probably going to be rainy...which wouldn't be a problem if I didn't ride my bike everywhere. =p More updates and women's rugby later! (this post is probably the result of me missing USA 7s due to money issues and a lack of a car).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Berkeley High School Rugby Practice

I'm going to keep this post short because I need to stop blogging at around midnight and staying up until 2am. It's really not helping the olde job search. So I've been biking around 5-8 miles a day since Monday and its felt amazing. Biking has always been a release for me, I'm still riding the tiny green schwinn hybrid that I've had since Middle School (yea I'm short ok). I've clocked more miles on this baby then on my car and for me it's home. Gliding through traffic, laughing at the chumps stuck for hours in traffic, sprinting when I want to sprint or to avoid being hit...or just letting go, stretching my arms and flying. There's nothing like it! If you're hot just bike faster, sweat more, and let the wind cool you. Too cold? Just bike faster, warm up! Damn I love my bike.

Ehhhh oh right rugby.

So Berkeley High School has around 6-8 players. There are a number of competitive HS teams in the area to play...they just need numbers. If anyone has kids in the Berkeley school system...send 'em out for rugby. Duh. What else, we're practicing on this slip of a field and it's been wet as hell in the last couple of days. For me I'm just there to help out, add a body to practice, and be an extra set of eyes. So far I've been helping a new recruit get up to speed with passing and basic contact skills. I'm still getting used to the differences between working with college women and high school girls. I'm trying to watch my language and keep things upbeat. So far I've worked with JQ from the ABs (ex-cal hooker) and Amanda (dunno an ex-all blue flanker). Overall their skills aren't too shabby, I was pretty pleasantly surprised...their passing form and hands are about the same as a college recruit. Hitting things hard and at pace is the main thing they're struggling with. It's difficult when they don't really have more experienced teammates to look at for examples. I'm finding it kinda hard to help out because I don't really have my fundamentals nailed down myself (to the standards of say the ABs) so I'm not that confident running/spotting drills that I haven't really worked on myself. At least I've gotten to see some neat drills and practiced talking to high school kids again. It's tough because at that age everyone sounds like they're being condescending to them versus college kids are out of their element and willing to ask for help. *shrugs* I'll keep working on it till I get a job...they have a game coming up soon and only have a scrum half. Yup. So next week I'm supposed to help pick out and train a hooker with JQ and teach how to scrum with a tight five. How do you recruit at the high school level? Any suggestions please leave a comment at the beeeeeep.

So upcoming events....uh the b-side game UCSC vs Santa Clara got canceled because their fields were closed due to the rain (that I've been slogging through on my bike after rolling around in mud puddles). Feb 21st Cal men's team is play Univ. British Columbia at Witter Field in Berkeley. Normally I don't mention men's stuff (actually this might be the first time I've ever touched upon the fact that men play this game too) but it's going to be the first in a series of broadcast games on stations you don't have to pay up the ass for (ESPNU) so if you're in the area watch the match in person and then watch the time-delayed broadcast so (American) advertisers can give a shit about our sport. What else...Wed Feb 18 there's a rugby development meeting on treasure island 6-9 which I may try to go to...although it might mean missing the HS practice....hmm.

Alright that's it...the Stanford vs Cal game review gets pushed back even further. Balls oh well. Gnite.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sacramento State WRFC vs USF

So I've had another busy rugby weekend and I'm getting further and further behind on this blog so I'll just have to keep plugging away. I think K-Train put it best a few posts back that sometimes its the hardest to blog when you have too much to say. I really am living in rugby heaven right now...there's so much rugby going on in the Bay Area that I'm actually going to have to skip some rugby events. Crazy right? Yea well whatever I'm missing UCSC's b-side match against Santa Clara University tomorrow night...mostly because I volunteered to go to the Berkeley High practice (and it saves me 20 bucks and is only a short bike ride away). Ummm so stupid me I went to the field today...having managed to switch around the practice days (between the HS and the All Blues). I sat around awkwardly playing around with a ball before scoping out the other fields at the park and then finally summing up enough courage to call a teammate and ask why no one was at the field. Bleh. Apparently they practice Wed + Thursday nights...which is a tad odd but whatever. This weekend is another by for UCSC and Sac State is playing St Mary's in Sacramento. Feb 21st UCSC plays USF...uh I don't know where...probably in Santa Cruz. On Sunday Feb 22 there is Prom Dress rugby between the ABs and the SF Fog 2-5pm at the Job Corps Field on Treasure Island aka the Goose poop field 15 bucks for entry and a hamburger. And more...I dunno I'm pooped just thinking about it all. Practice for the ABs start soon Feb 17. UGH AND I'M STILL UNEMPLOYED. Heaven's knows's not like I don't foolishly post everything and anything on this goshforsaken blog in a highly unprofessional manner.

Alright, back to business. I ended up attending both matches and it ends up I can't really concentrate on more then a single match in one day. Or maybe because the second game just paled in comparison to the competitive excitement of the first match. So anyhoo, I have a lot more to talk about when it comes to the Stanford vs UC Berkeley game and because of that fact I'm going to postpone my review of it until later (aka maybe tomorrow). Instead I'll focus on the second game which was hardly a match at all.

Ok that wasn't really meant to be a shot it's just poor planning. Sac State should never have been USF's first match of DII collegiate rugby. I can't say I know much about the team (USF) and the league didn't really know what to expect out of a brand new side coached by the WNT head coach Kathy Flores. Despite its instability this league has been fairly competitive in the last couple of years so it isn't a real shocker given the circumstances that Sac State trounced them. Sac State's (cal state Sacramento) been on a rampage all of pre-season and quite on form so they smashed their way through the USF defense left and right. Their pack was dominant, wheeling or driving every scrum, lineouts were nailed, and rucks were pretty rough as well. Sac had the pace and power to grind USF into the dust and if this match review sounds a little one sided it's because the game just WAS that way. Sacramento scored I don't know 6-8 trys in the first half...maybe more, USF lost about 6-8 players in the first half to some rather serious looking injuries. One or two players had to be stretchered off and at least one girl got a gnarly concussion. There was also some handbags, which is pretty rare to see in our league. I think it was from a ruck but it might have been a scrum but a USF girl punched Sac's lock (and captain) in the mouth and she retaliated with a punch to the face. No cards were given, the ref just gave em a chat. I talked to Sac's captain about the incident and she was highly apologetic and was pretty sorry about the whole mess. Ehh overall the match involved a lot of knock-ons, scrums, turnovers to Sacramento and then some massive stiff-arms (both through the forwards punching through or their FLYING backs)and ending in tries. USF never really threatened Sac's tryline. The pitch was turf with duct tape marking the lines. USF seemed to have a fair amount of fans and the facilities were nice. They also appeared to have a couple of assistant coaches. Because of the frequent injuries USF soon ran short of players and the teams were reduced to playing 12s. Then for some reason it switched to USF just playing down again. An injury shortly after half-time resulted in the game being canceled altogether. Sac's coaches were definitely ruthless in pursuing the win despite the matches friendly status. I dunno I think the whole thing might or might not be a misunderstanding...after the first bout of injuries USF proposed forfeiting and borrowing players from sacramento but Sac refused. Thus instead of having a mutually beneficial friendly this farce of a league match was allowed to play on. I dunno, it seems hypocritical for me to complain about the match given UCSC's recent 55-0 victory over Santa Clara (in a fairly similar fashion) but I think the difference is the injury rate. Yea a couple of the Santa Clara girls got hurt and one of ours messed up her ankle but it wasn't the same thrashing. The Santa Clara women were physically prepared for the match and the intensity of playing an A-side game. While on the losing side of many of the breakdowns (and occasionally unaware of certain laws) they were still very competitive and had fairly safe form going into contact. I mean it really is hard to judge..I don't have any doubts about Kathy Flores' coaching ability but I really don't know anything about the program. Apparently they had coaches before but I don't know who they used to play all of this is really up to speculation. I dunno I feel like the match would have gone better if it had been billed as a friendly b-side match because perhaps the coaching decisions would have differed. I guess the one positive that can be drawn from this whole thing is that Women's Collegiate DII has gotten a lot fitter and tougher and gone are the days when you could slap together a side and expect to win (or survive). It should also be noted that Sac doesn't really have a whole lot of players so they couldn't really field a b-side to play USF either.

This kinda brings me to my next the numbers game. Granted this is the number of CIPPed players (and everyone knows that lots of kids quit before league even starts so take these numbers with a grain of salt).

Number of CIPPed Players ordered by last years standings:
Div II
Sac State 21
St. Mary's 38
Santa Clara 24
USF 18

Div I (please forgive me but I don't really remember how the chips fell last year and I'm kinda beat so I don't feel like researching em...but I'll list the teams in roughly the right order...)
Stanford 43
Davis 50
Cal 54
Chico 32
Humboldt 27
UNR 32

Just some food for thought. Yea I know Santa Cruz should move to D1. We just got A LOT of rookies this year. That's why it's pretty exciting to have a b-side match against Santa Clara 'cause it's the first time that we can really field one (uh although a lot of the n00bs can't make it to the game so we might have a few starters). The admin and support structure has to grow a lot though...the ABs have like 12 executive officers and I think we have a match secretary, a treasurer, and a social chair...which just doesn't cut it anymore. Plus the team is trying to raise money by recycling cans...*sighs and shakes her head* anyways...more updates tomorrow. I don't want to seem overly negative/pre-occupied by the Sac vs USF match...I'm glad USF is joining our league (they had a ton of heart sticking with it and not giving up till they absolutely had to) and Sac showed some major attacking prowess. It's just painful to watch so many injuries!

Oh and last but not least it was damn hard to watch the match 'cause the two teams were practically wearing the same jerseys!

Sac State is on the right wearing Green and White and Gold, USF is on the left wearing Sac State's old jerseys...I mean Green and White and Gold.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Rugby Fundraising in the South

Wow...I just had to post this. LA Tech (Louisiana probably) WRFC raising money beating the shit out of a car. Seems to be working too! Although this probably wouldn't go over so well in recycle crazy California. At least its innovative...makes you wonder how they a) got the car b) got the car on campus and c) got the university to agree to let 'em do it.

Oh and the Chico vs Texas A & M match got posted on youtube as well:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Red/white stripes is chico and the solid maroon(?) is Texas A & M. The angry guy is Chico's coach.

I'm probably going to watch the USF vs Sac State game at the USF Koret Center at 3 o'clock on Saturday. I may go watch the Berkeley vs Stanford match at 12 the same day at Memorial Stadium. We'll see...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

South Bay Sequoias WRFC

So I went to the meeting tonight and took a couple friends. I pretty much destroyed my car doing so but it was worth it. Here are the deets from the meeting. Man I'm tired from writing this up. I know I state it at the bottom of the post but I'll write it here as well. I'm still playing for the All Blues, I'm just stoked that there's a women's team starting in the south bay. I'll do anything to get my old mates to start playing rugby again and this sounds like a cool convenient team for them.

So here's the deal, a new women's rugby team is starting up in the south bay (Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara area). The team bills itself as a third option, not too competitive and elite oriented, not too social, but just right. The team aims to become a fun competitive side with a more lax practice schedule and inclusive nature where all players can work together to achieve their goals. The core principal of the club appears to be community building, wherein the club will strive to give back to the community and raise awareness of the sport whilst remembering to have fun playing the game as well. The two co-founders are Katrina Logan and Tina Nesburg (who are both super legit ruggers) with Griff volunteering to coach.

At the meeting they reviewed long term and short term goals, as well as fund raising, team name, jersey colors, a rough spring schedule, task dispersal, CIPPing, and the next meeting time.

Long term goals are pretty much the principals listed above plus Katrina is looking into getting the club inc. and non-profit status to aid in fund raising efforts. So to recap succinctly: practice 1x a week, get youth involved in rugby, volunteer, and recruit.

Short term goals to get the club up and running some funds have to acquired. It would cost the team 100 bucks an hour to rent the STANFORD FIELD for practice + 50 dollars to run the lights. While this seems like a lot of money it's actually pretty cheap (15 players, 10 bucks a practice) and it's a beauty of a pitch. Additionally since league is in fall most of the practices wouldn't require lights. Practices would most likely be around 7 as that's when the collegiate side finishes up.

Fundraising ideas included clam bakes (Feb 28th...there's one in stanford that they might try and link up) and silent auctions of manual labor like baby sitting etc. Shoreline concerts were also mentioned where team members man booths and get paid + tip for volunteering. Also hooking up with SF Fog and their beer booth at pride and possibly other fund raisers with the club. Additionally getting sponsorship from employers would be a big plus.

As for the team name the Sequoias is kinda at the top of the heap. They want to make the name significant to the area to play into their whole community theme. If you've got something better, submit it but for now it stands.

They're welcome to any suggestions for jersey designs, colors look to be red/white or red/black. Personally I kinda think a red/brown would be cool but hey I'm color blind.

In the near future the Champagne Classic (March 7-8) would cost 375 bucks to enter, they're also thinking about friendly matches against local college sides like Davis and Berkeley. Once summer starts up there's Palo Alto 7s which costs 250 for a team (last years price).

In the immediate list of things to do:
Make a team email address (for info and inquiries)
Make a team google group
Make a blogspot/wordpress/legit website to put our info out on the net
Make a facebook group for all the kiddies
Make a team logo
Print shirts so we have something to play in until we can afford jerseys
Get started fundraising
Design jerseys in case some crazy rich person gives us money
Contact Santa Clara University about helping out their team/practicing with them until we can afford our own field (my suggestion)

The plan is to meet every two weeks to keep the ball rolling and everyone focused. The immediate goal for everyone is to find at least one new person to bring to the next meeting. Which is going to be at Steuber Stadium again (@ Stanford University) at 7 pm February 18 which is a Thursday.

Coolbeans =] I think I took enough notes and I don't think I left anything out. This is going to be a super neat team folks, so get back on the damn horse and start playing rugby again! Any questions? Email

PS I'm still playing for the All Blues. I just love rugby and help out where I can

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

UCSC WRFC vs Santa Clara Univ.

I caught a ride with one of our kid's dad's down to Santa Clara to watch our first league match of the season. While we can't take too much confidence from the final score of 55-0 it was nice to see our forwards rucking correctly. Over-committing of course but winning them, counter-rucking rather effectively as well. We occasionally won their lineouts and practically every scrum until it went uncontested in the last quarter of the match. Santa Clara has been a developing team for a while and it's looking like they're finally starting to get the numbers they need to consistently practice. A large number of their players were either completely new or playing out of position. Their scrumhalf was brand new and putting the ball into the scrum by bouncing it in on it's nose. They were often offsides on defense (multiple penalties for just running around rucks and picking up the ball) and played the ball on the ground but hey they're just teaching fundamentals. It doesn't sound like they had much of a preseason so I sent their vp some links and info about Berkeley's camps and some post-season events where they could get some additional game time to supplement our 4 team league. Our kids learned a lot from the game, with less pressure they got to build some confidence and for once had the gas to support each other. Our fullback Kathy scored a hat trick and our fly dotted down two. Tackling is coming along...we have two weeks before our next game...hopefully we can keep our skills sharp before locking horns with USF and Kathy Flores. It's weird, I'm going to watch USF vs Sac State this weekend and we'll see how they do. She's an amazing coach and I have no doubt that her players will be as technically sound as possible but it really is a litmus test for how much you can teach collegiate women in a quarter. I mean they're a brand new team and I think they might have only had one match or two during pre-season. Sac state will be chomping at the bit to take lead this year so I doubt we'll see any mercy and they are pretty damn battle hardened. They've been playing TOUGH matches all of pre-season with women's senior teams like the Davis Doubledeckers.

Oh and sac scouted our game and laughed as they left. We'll see...will the kids live up to our legacy of 6+ years of sweeping league? They have the potential...Heh. As dedicated as I am to UCSC I'm still working on the getting over it part. It's hard to de-attach, I've already had my four years. I put in my effort, won league for four years, won pac coast three years, made it to the semis 3 years, lost the big game, won the big game. Not too shabby, what's done is done, it's their team now. I know I've been repeating it like a mantra...but it's tough when a team has become so interwoven with your everyday life. Rugby isn't just something I do or like, it really has been a guiding force for me. Hence my move to the bay =p

Next up =========> I might actually start talking about the blues...except I can't because it's part of their player I don't know what I'll do about that. I probably will be going to the South Bay Women's club startup meeting to keep some friends company. And duh, info on the USF and sac state game.

Pics from Santa Clara: