News


Razorbacks claim the Championship in an overtime thriller.

Coach Sam Tiger Vailala guiding his team to a 4-0 finish for the season..

In what was a season filled with many hurdles to overcome, it was the Razorbacks who took their opportunities and clenched the 2021 California Rugby League Championship.

Coach Sam Tiger Vailala guiding his team to a 4-0 finish for the season.

The match kicked off at 4:00pm at Boxer Stadium in suburban San Francisco. In what was an overcast day with a light breeze blowing across the field.

It was end to end Rugby League from the beginning to the end of the match. With both teams taking turns at scoring.

Like always it was the control of Tino Mafi which steered the Razorbacks around the park. This with the hard running of Tookey Stevenson and Sione Finefeuiaki.

For the Savage, Daniel Vete and Vita Foloumahina were the power runners and it was Viliami Soaki who was steering the team around the park.

The Savage were without their inspirational leader and coach Akuila Uaisele who broke his leg in two places last time these teams met.

Going into the half it was a one try ball game with the Razorbacks in the lead.

When the half came back it was the Savage who took control of the game. The 400 fans in Boxer Stadium sounded like an army of 4000 with them hanging on every play.

Full time came and both teams were on 34.

Over the PA system came the voice of League Commissioner Richard Fale – “Both teams will continue until a point is scored”

The extra time ran for no more than 5 minutes with the Razorbacks crashing over to claim the victory. Their fans rushed the field to celebrate.

A full replay of the match will be available on the California Rugby League YouTube this Saturday.

 

Mine Digital Sponsors California Rugby League World Championship

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – (September 16, 2021) – California Rugby League is pleased to announce that digital asset exchange and brokerage firm Mine Digital has signed on as the major sponsor of its premier end of season event.

The 2021 season will culminate with the Mine Digital California Rugby League World Championship event at Boxer Stadium in San Francisco on Saturday, September 25th.

Mine Digital COO Matt Starkey is a passionate rugby league fan. He said having the opportunity to be involved in this unique game in California was something the company just couldn’t turn down.

“So far, the most exciting part of working with the CRL has been the engagement over social media and coming into contact with so many great rugby league clubs, not only in the USA, but across the world,” he said.

“It's great to see grassroots organisations expanding the game with people who genuinely love the sport and want to further its advance across the world. We love some of the names like the Dead Pelicans!”

Starkey said as a base for the game, California makes a lot of sense because the US West Coast has access to Pacific Islanders who love the sport, as well as ex-patriate Aussies, Kiwis, Brits and other Europeans who can either play, or help the growth of rugby league by going to games in person.

“To most NRL fans in Australia, the USA has always been a logical part of the expansion of the game, and we all believe here that it would do so well,” he said. “Unfortunately, many attempts have been made with little proper planning.”

He said that the CRL is a breath of fresh air in that regard given its belief in rugby league’s potential stateside.

“The CRL appears to be a devoted organisation that wants to further the code in a part of the country that appears willing to make it happen,” continued Starkey. “We have high hopes our early support will set the ball rolling for a long-term partnership and future growth in the country.”

Mine Digital will also be supporting a women’s rugby league game between the East Palo Alto Razorbacks and Sirens that will be the curtain-raiser to the World Championship match. The Sirens will be a compilation team made up of players from Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

Starkey said Mine Digital was introduced to rugby league in America through its connections with USA Rugby League (USARL) club the Delaware Black Foxes. The company's CEO Grant Colthup has a longstanding friendship with Delaware’s coach, Liam Mulhall. That friendship led to Mine Digital undertaking a club sponsorship with the Black Foxes.

Mine Digital specialises in cryptocurrency and is based in Australia. Starkey said the company is on the verge of being able to offer some breakthrough trading opportunities.

“We have an exciting time ahead in the next few months at Mine Digital with the launching of our new exchange offerings MineTrade and MineSwap,” he added. “Keep an eye on our twitter handle @Mine_Digital for the latest updates.”

Essentially the Mine Digital platform will have 3 offerings:

- MineTrade which is the flagship offering including the top 25 coins for trading, crossed up against each other offering many pairs

- MineSwap (similar to other swap platforms such as UniSwap) offers clients access to an entire universe of other coins most exchanges don't list

- House of Hodl which is a staking platform for people to bring their ETH, BTC, USDT and DOT (currently, with more offerings to come) to earn rewards

“At this stage we don't have any plans for MineTrade in the USA given the current regulations, but anyone in the world can use MineSwap and HoH,” concluded Starkey.

 

Strong Start for the Razorbacks

Final scores 32–30 to the Razorbacks.

An exciting day of Rugby League in California started off with the rivalry match between the Razorbacks and Immortals.

Sam Tiger the coach of the Razorbacks and Immortals Skipper Nuilevu have a great rivalry born out of countless tough and close games.

The last time they met in the 80-minute version of the sport, it was the Immortals who came home strong in a close 2-point victory.

The game took place in the San Francisco Bay area at Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex in Berkley.

Generally, on Saturdays in Berkeley it’s the Golden Bears taking the center stage, however this Saturday it was California Rugby Leagues turn.

The game started strong with each team notching up early tries. It was end to end for the whole first half with the score 20-18 to the Immortals at half time.

Stand out performers on the day for the Razorbacks were Sione Finefeuiaki, Max Nauci, Tevita Tameliau, Tino Mafi and Matt Almeida.

The end to end football continued all game with the scores always remaining within 10 points.

Coming into the final 5 minutes the Razorbacks were down by 4 points. With driving play after driving play they managed to get within 5 yards of the try line.

It was at this moment that strong runner Matt Almeida crashed over with the winning try. The razorbacks crowd and players we over joyed with their first victory of the season keeping their record clear at 1-0.

Final scores 32–30 to the Razorbacks.

The Immortals impressed for a team missing some of their big names. The side never backed down and fought right to the end.

This game was one of the closest games we have seen this season.

Notable performances from Immortals Tomasi Mocelutu, Nate Halaapiapi, Skipper Nuilevu and Sione Latu.

Full match replay is available on California Rugby Leagues Facebook Page.

Updated: Path to the Championship Games

California Rugby League has revised its schedule to provide all teams THREE competition games to prove they have what it takes to be Champions and bring home the trophy..

From the onset of the 2021 season it was always clear there would be hurdles to overcome for the California Rugby League competition.

The health and safety of the players has been the guiding light throughout the last two years.

This saw last weekend’s fixtures be canceled to comply with state regulations and keep the competition in good standing with local authorities and insurance providers.  

California Rugby League has revised its schedule to provide all teams THREE competition games to prove they have what it takes to be Champions and bring home the trophy.  

Once each team has played THREE competition games, the teams for the Championship Game and the Third Place Game will be selected.

This giving even greater meaning to the August 28th clash against the San Francisco side. If LA are to win this weekend they will complete the season at 3-0. If they are to come up short, they will be relying on the result of the Savage vs Razorbacks game to secure a spot in the Championship game.

The Structure of the Championship Weekend will be as followed:

September 25th – Bay Area - Finals

1 v 2 (Championship Game)

Lady Razorbacks vs TBC

3 v 4 (Third Place Game)

All Games will be available on California Rugby League Facebook and YouTube pages. 

Tino Mafi again lead the Razorbacks around the park with good ball playing linking nicely with strong ball runners Sione Finefeuiaki and Tookey Stevenson.

California Rugby League made its way down to East Palo Alto for the third time in a year. The outcome of the game had big ramifications of the final standings of the 2021 Championship.

A great local crowd was down early tailgating in the carpark of Rich May Memorial Field adding to the atmosphere of the contest.

The game was officiated by Junior Caucau who was making his debut as a match official in the California Rugby League.  

At 6:30pm the game kicked off – The first night game of the season – The Razorbacks put on two early tries showing great energy in attack.

For the Young Tigers, there was no panicking as the Evan Walkers coached team had been in a similar situation when they met with the Dead Pelicans a month earlier.

It again was free flowing Rugby League with both teams throwing the ball around looking for opportunities in attack and both teams stepping up and putting their bodies in front in defense.

Tino Mafi again lead the Razorbacks around the park with good ball playing linking nicely with strong ball runners Sione Finefeuiaki and Tookey Stevenson

For the Young Tigers, it was Mason McCrory linking with Jordan ‘The Human Wrecking Ball’ Haines and Josia Ratu.

The game went into the half with scores tight and the end to end football continued into the second half.

With 16 minutes to go the Young Tigers had them within 1 try. Thanks to great attack by Josia Ratu who notched up his 5th try for the season in just 2 games.

The last 16 minutes of the game the momentum changed after some strong running by Fatai Vailala who had his first game of the season.

Final scores were 44-22 to the Razorbacks. Both teams must be commended for playing the game for the full 80 minutes and not getting caught up in any nonsense.

Full replay is available on the CRL YouTube.

10 Questions with Dead Pelicans Captain Rob Beasley

We have 5 Fijian national players in the North Bay and a couple of players who represented the USA Eagle jersey like Steven Tomasina and Gary Parsigian..

How did the Dead Pelicans get together as a team?

The team started because Darek "Da Kid" Bailey and I were playing for a social rugby club that we felt didn't play often enough. So, we decided to get a bunch of ruggers we knew from northern California area and we knew there were ballers and go play tournaments. Our first tournament was Las Vegas 7s in 2018. We placed 3rd with 0 days of practice and some players not even knowing their teammates' names.

 

What cities and towns make up the North Bay?

The North Bay Area is the area north of the SF Golden Gate Bridge up the 101 to Healdsburg and as far inland at Vallejo and Napa. We include Colusa County as the Far North Bay.

 

 

 

What inspired the name some are calling ‘The greatest sporting team name’?

That team that first traveled to Las Vegas in 2018. Yeah 11 out of the 12-man roster were named to the Northern California all-star side at some point in their rugby life. The name for the Nor-Cal All-stars... the Pelicans. So, we decided to call ourselves the Dead Pelicans to pay honor to our all-star status.

 

Is there up and coming talent in the North Bay we should know about?

Yeah, the Elsie Allen high school Rugby club is a prominent club in Northern California and is in the heart of the North Bay, Santa Rosa. Jerome Nale and TJ Salato are two players that the CRL has only seen glimpses of, but look for them to be key players in the second half of the season.

 

How did the team find the transition to playing Rugby League?

In all honesty, it is a rough transition. sometimes we put on a 15 minute clinics before our matches to remind the guys they are playing league rules not union rules. But we are making due and our style has transferred well.

 

A lot has been said about your team's unique playing style. Where does it come from?

Our unique playing style comes from most of our players being either 7s players or Fijian which means you play 7s.

But yeah Oscar Kolinisau and Waisea Gigia have done a great job of passing on their Olympic knowledge to us.

 

 

 

Who are the players we should be watching out for this Saturday?

Jerome and TJ are going to Denver to play in Rugby Town, so they will not be playing.

I think the players to watch this week are Epi Feoko a very decisive first receiver whose size doesn't match his heart. And, Gregory Scott a short stalky wing out of Sac. He is built like an NFL running back if they stood 5'5.

 

Is it true there is Touch Rugby every evening in the North Bay?

The old boys do play touch 5 nights a week in Rincon Valley. But us younger guys have practice 5 nights a week at For Pete's Sake in Santa Rosa.

 

Who are some notable players from the area?

We have 5 Fijian national players in the North Bay and a couple of players who represented the USA Eagle jersey like Steven Tomasina and Gary Parsigian.

 

 

 

What is next for the Dead Pelicans after this season in the California Rugby League? 

I'm not sure we are still an elite traveling side, so we will probably keep traveling and try and make our way over to Europe or Australia for some tournaments.