The Prairie Wolf Pack defeated the Rock 22-18 in a tightly contested match up at the Swilers Rugby Complex Saturday afternoon in St. John's. The Wolf Pack took an early lead 2 minutes in after a quick dart up the middle a ruck on the Wolf Pack 22m line led to a long run finished by #9 McRorie and converted by #15 Woodward. After a period of sloppy play and dropped balls the teams seemed to settle into the game. At the 13 minute mark, The Rock replied with an unconverted try from 20 year old tighthead prop Bob Rogers following a Rock lineout and drive from the 5m line. A Ciaran Hearn penalty gave The Rock an 8-7 halftime lead.
With a strong wind in his back and to the amazement of the 1,000 + crowd, Hearn attempted a penalty from 61m, striking the post well above the crossbar. Moments later from a scrum on the Wolf Pack 5m line, Rock scrum half Mike Simpson broke right and threw a miss pass to wing Tyler Wish who scored in the right corner to make it 13-7 for The Rock.
The Wolf Pack answered back quickly when three minutes later they turned over a ball from an isolated Rock back, moved the ball left springing wing Jeff Hassler. The Canadian 7s international made a great deal of ground before flanker Chris Long scored under the posts. It was converted by #10 Wulff making it 14-13 Wolf Pack.
The back and forth continued, as four minutes later it was Zac Coughlan, to Owen Parfrey to Benoit Piffero who finished the corner after a ruck on the Wolf Pack 5m line. The Rock were now up 18-14.
The Wolf Pack took the lead for good after several missed tackles led to #8 Clay Panga driving in from close range to dot down for a try. 19-18 Wolf Pack.
With 10 minutes left in the game and The Rock desperate for points, replacement Jasmin Kulkavia was yellow carded after being on the field less than 15 seconds. With The Rock down to 14 men, the Wolf Pack's Wulff slotted a penalty to take the final score to Wolf Pack 22, The Rock 18.
The loss marks the second for The Rock in the 2012 CRC so it doesn't look good for their chances at the title. Rock coach Simon Blanks, while desperately disappointed with the loss noted the six U21s in the Rock lineup played admirably. He recognized his team put forth a "Herculean effort" but it just wasn't good enough against a tough Prairie side. He noted the yellow card late in the game was disappointing and especially tough to take as a Wolf Pack stomp to the head went uncarded earlier in the game - The touch judge mis-identified the offending player as one who had previously left the field so only a penalty was awarded.
The win was extremely satisfying for the Wolf Pack as it marks the first time the Wolf Pack have defeated The Rock. It gives them a 3-0 record in this year's CRC putting them in the drivers seat in the competition.
Next up for The Rock is the Pacific Tyee on Tuesday night in St. John's, while the Wolf Pack take on the Ontario Blues in Oakville that same night.
2 mins WP McRorie Try
3 mins WP Woodward Conversion
13 mins Rock Rogers Try
31 mins Rock Hearn Penalty
45 mins Rock Wish Try
48 mins WP Long Try
49 mins WP Wulff Conversion
53 mins Rock Piffero Try
67 mins WP Panga Try
75 mins WP Wulff Penalty
The Rock team for Saturday is:
1.Frank Walsh - Vandals RFC St. John’s, NL
2.Benoit Piffero – St. Anne-de-Bellevue RFC, Montreal, PQ
3 Bob Rogers - Dogs RFC Mt. Pearl, NL
4.Jon Phelan - St. Anne-de Bellevue Montreal, PQ
5 Brad Lester - Dogs RFC Mt. Pearl, NL
6 Toni Wodzicki - Wanderers RFC Montreal, PQ
7 Owen Parfrey - Swilers RFC, St. John’s, NL
8 Kyle Baillie - Mudmen RFC Edmonton, AB
9 Mike Simpson - Swilers RFC Sudbury, ON
10 Patrick Parfrey - Swilers RFC St. John’s, NL
11 Ciaran Hearn - Castaway Wanderers RFC Victoria, BC
12 Llyr Morris - Mudmen RFC Charlottetown, PEI
13 Morgan Lovell - Swilers RFC St. John’s, NL
14 Tyler Wish - Swilers RFC St. John’s, NL
15 Dean Blanks - Dogs RFC Mt. Pearl, NL
16 Steve Cutliffe - Dogs RFC Mt. Pearl, NL
17 Keelan Chapman - St. Anne-de Bellevue Montreal, PQ
18 Jordan Power - Dogs RFC Mt. Pearl, NL
19 Zac Coughlan - Swilers RFC St. John’s, NL
20 Jasmin Kukavica - Loyalist RFC Fredericton, NB
21 Scott Forrest - Tars RFC Halifax, NS
22 Patrick McNicholas - Swilers RFC St. John’s, NL
The Prairie Wolf Pack roster
1.HUBERT BUYDENS Saskatoon Wild Oats/ Castaway Wanderers
2. TYLER HAWES Canucks/Bow Valley Grizzlies
3. ANDREW TIEDEMANN “C” Castaway Wanderers/St. Albert RFC
4. ERIC LOPATINSKY Calgary Hornets
5. SPENCER MASSIAH Calgary Hornets
6. CHRIS LONG L’Aquila Rugby 1936
7. AARON PEACE Calgary Hornets
8. CLAY PANGA Calgary Hornets
9. GORDON MCRORIE Calgary
10 .CHRISTIAN WULFF Calgary Saints
11. JEFF HASSLER Calgary Hornets
12. MOZAC SAMSON Calgary Saints
13. NICK BLEVINS Calgary Hornets
14. IAN SHOULTS Calgary Irish
15. STEPHEN WOODWARD Calgary Irish /Santa Monica Rugby Club
16. CASEY REED Prairie Wolf Pack U20
17. DUSTIN LUTHER Castaway Wanderers/Regina Campion Grads
18. BRENNAN DAKU Regina Campion Grads
19. JOHN ANDERSON Calgary Hornets
20. JAMES BUCHANAN Calgary Hornets
21. ADAM BONTUS St. Albert RFC
22. JOSH HART Cowichan Rugby