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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: The positive bits

The year of 2015 will be marked by two great moments: Going to the Vegas 7's
With my buddy Tom Daniels at the Vegas 7's.
,  Scoring my first evedr try at the Catalina Old Boys Rugby Tournament
Doc Bryant, me, Aaron Tanner and Doc Balkian from the Spring of 2015
My lovely red headed bride enjoyed the ambiance in Newcastle.
Scotland had to work hard to earn the win in Newcastle....
, but also by catching a Rugby World Cup match to go with 2007 in France and 2011 in New Zealand: My wife and I were fortunate to see the very dramatic match between Scotland and Samoa at St. James Park in Newcastle England.
Great atmosphere in Newcastle!

My  wife and I with some Scotland fans in Newcastle, England.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015 indigenous Australian- USA Rugby Tour.

One of the joys of the internet, is that you never know who is going to reach out to you from what corner of the world.

A few months back, I was contacted by a man named Darrel Morris, an Aboriginal from Queensland, Australia.  He was keen to do a rugby tour with Aboriginal players. They wanted to play Native American, as well as other USA sides during their tour. I was able to refer Darrell to my good friends Chee and Timaris Montano of the Navajo Nation as well as some contacts with Pasadena Rugby who were able to get Darrell connected for some other games.
Chee and Timaris Montano and their family, of the Navajo Nation

For this tour, the Aboriginal side will play 5 different American college teams and an all native American side in New Mexico-where they will also stay on the reservation. The desire is to share cultural similarities as indigenous peoples and to develop international relationships.

They will also meet with faculty at the University of California Long Beach with the department of American Indian studies. The team plans on reaching out to do coaching clinics for youth rugby with African American Communities in Los Angeles, and for greater Los Angeles Youth Rugby.

These players mostly aged 18-20 are from a high risk group from dropping out of sports, and keep them playing rugby to keep mentally and physically fit. The hope for these young indigenous players is to learn from experiences of Native American and African American communities to help provide advice for their communities back in Australia.

The games and dates:

University of New Mexico at Abuquerque:  Monday 11/9/2015
All Native American Side in Gallup, New Mexico-Tuesday 10/10/2015
Painting from Native American Art Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Arizona State University at Scottsdale Saturday, 11/14/2015
San Diego State University, Wed. 11/18/2015
Long Beach College at Long Beach, Saturday 11/21/2015
Belmont Shores at Long Beach, 11/22/2015

If anybody would like to get ahold of Darrell, please email me at, and I will be happy to pass along your message. This is a unique opportunity for the American rugby community to reach out to a group of players from a part of the world, where Aboriginals have much to overcome in their society, not unlike underserved Native American Reservations and inner city communities in this country. Hopefully they can take in some other sights here in California, as well.
Sunset over Venice Beach, California-looks somewhat like the Aboriginal flag.

I have been lucky enough to go to Australia a couple of times in my life to see with my own eyes the art and culture of Aboriginal Australians. I hope that people in American Rugby Community will come out watch some the games, as well as meet Darrell and his players.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sharkapalooza Over 40 Rugby Tournament: Friends, Heat...and Stiff Muscles

Being a Navajo Oreo with my good friends Timaris and Chee Montano
This past weekend, I had a chance to get a run in and play some rugby at the Sharkapalooza over 40 Rugby Tournament. I first played at this tournament in Newport Beach, California 3 years ago with Pasasena's old boys. It was a great time. (Even though we lost both of our games)

This time, Pasasdena could not get a team fielded to play at Sharkapalooza, but my friend Peter Nguyen, who is an old boy with the Huntington Beach RFC said they could use a spare prop, so I decided to play.

With temperatures well over 90 degrees(32 celsius), it was a good thing that Huntington Beach had a deep roster. We had 3 full sets of props where we were able to do ice hockey style substitutions on the fly to keep everybody fresh. We lost a tough first game on a late Penalty to Las Vegas, 3-0, but we ended up beating Old Southwest(I was able to catch up with my good friend Chee Montano and his charming bride Timaris) 7-0, and then we beat the Las Vegas Irish by a couple of tries to take the plate.

One of the great things with the Sharkapalooza Tournament(Run by the Back Bay RFC) is that not only is the pitch ringed by palm trees and is just a gorgious venue, but it is about 200 yards from the Pacific Ocean, which felt really good and refreshing to take a dip in after the rugby was done to cool off.

After the rugby was done, my wife and I were able to go grab some fantastic Korean food with Chee and Timaris. Living in Gallup, New Mexico, it is hard to get authentic Asian food of any kind, so they really enjoyed the Korean fare in Costa Mesa.

I still am pretty sore from the weekend as I write this...but I do so with a smile on my face. The game of rugby is fantastic, but I am always amazed at what nice people are involved with this sport.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Good Bye Buddha the Bulldog

Back in 2006, it was a watersshed year for me: I made it to Australia, I started playing rugby, and I bought my first bulldog. A brindled puppy named Buddha. He was very popular at rugby matches-what can I say, he loved the ladies. He grew up to be 80 pounds of love- a much adored dog every where we went. He was great with my grandson Duncan when he was a baby and toddler back at our house in Minnesota. While I was working as a travel nurse in Texas, Delaware and New Mexico, he was huge piece of mind for my wife.

Well, two weeks ago puppy heaven got a bulldog. Buddha died in his sleep at the age of 9. 

I had to share my favorite picture of him. My wife squeezed a referee jersey on him and put a rugby ball in front of him. 

Buddha just loved my grandson Duncan..and it was pretty mutual.
RIP big guy...
Buddha the Bulldog back in 2012

Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 Vegas 7's: Flying Fiji Wins it with Style Points.

My buddy Tom and I made it in the Las Vegas on Friday afternoon, so we missed the Friday Matches, but we got a good start on Saturday to get over to catch the action. In the earlier round games, the Fijiians were flying high and looking unstoppable.
Fiji was head and shoulders above everybody in Las Vegas.
Canada and New Zealand both looked like they might have something to say as well, but the host country Americans played some really good rugby to draw 19-19 with South Africa, combined with two earlier wins, it set up a quarterfinal on Saturday night against the Auld Enemy from the North.
The Blitzbokke eating Fijian Dust...
Canada has kind of owned the USA in Sevens the last couple of years, so imagine the surprise when the US took advantage of two early scores against the Canucks, but they did not let their foot off the gas pedal in a 20-0 win, which set up the Sunday semifinals of Fiji-South Africa and New Zealand against the surprising Yanks.  Fiji dominate South Africa and New Zealand came back from a 5-0 deficit to storm past the USA, 26-12. South Africa played with a great deal of intensity and purpose to teach the Americans a lesson 31-0.
South Africa scores against the USA.

This meant that Fiji and New Zealand, two rugby rich countries in the sevens game, yet had never won the USA leg of the Sevens Series, would face off in the final. Fiji showed the power, pace and crowd pleasing panache in taking a large lead over the Kiwis. New Zealand
New Zealand Scores against the USA in the Semifinals.
would score a couple of late tries to make the score, 35-19-but this game was never in doubt to the fans of Fiji, who showed in very large and vocal number to wave the flag for their winning side.
Fiji fans rejoice!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Off to the Vegas Sevens....

My buddy Tom Daniels and I all set with our Kilts for the Vegas  Sevens...
I initially was not going to go this year's Vegas 7's because my wife and I really need to save money for our trip to the UK for touring Scotland and catching Scotland and Samoa play each other at St. James' Park in Newcastle, England. Then word came that the North American leg of the Sevens tour will move next year from Las Vegas to Vancouver, British Columbia. After talking this over with my buddy Tom, we decided that we had to make it to Las Vegas for one last time to see the Sevens series, which is about a 4 hour drive from where I live in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Six Nations 2015: Last Dress Rehearsal for England Before RWC 2015...

I Made it to the Temple of English Rugby back in 2012
Ok, I admit it, I am really up for this year's 6 Nations-The final big dress rehearsal before the Rugby World Cup to be played in England later this September and October. Ireland played very well during the November internationals, with wins against South Africa and Australia.  France, Wales and England were very up and down during their matches. Scotland showed improvement under the direction of former ASM Clermont coach Vern Cotter. Italy, seems to be like a Fiat stuck in reverse.

Let the games begin....
Can this 2015 England side live up to the legacy of the 2003 Rugby World Cup Champs?