The rumours of The Rock’s demise have been exaggerated. Last year’s Canadian Rugby Championship winners bounced back from Saturday’s defeat to British Columbia with a convincing 29-8 victory over Prairie Wolf Pack at Calgary Rugby Park. The cornerstone of their triumph came from a dominant pack but the backs chipped in with three tries that shattered the home sides resistance.
Wolf Pack head coach Col Jeffs was conscious of the fact that his pack was in need on improvement, even after their season opening win against Ontario Blues. World Cup call-ups and injuries meant an all-new front-row needs to be bedded in; and quickly. The Rock’s front three, Rod Snow, Peter Densmore, Phil Alcock demonstrated the perfect blueprint for Jeffs as they harried and heaved for every inch.
The Rock’s manager, Rick Graham commented, “We had our way with them at the scrum. Our pack has after been outstanding at winning us ball and tonight we really capitalized on that. The front-three were immense and the back-row were much improved from the last outing.”
A Dean Blanks penalty put the away side into a 3-0 lead after five minutes but it was a mere raindrop to the storm that followed. Centre Robert Wilson took advantage of the disarray in the pressed Wolf Pack defence to record the game’s first try. Wingers Yannik Fortin and Rob Turk finished off the hard work and fine passing from the midfield and the Wolf Pack were reeling.
The Parfreys, Kevin and Owen, in the back-row combined to damaging effect and gained vital yards and turnovers for The Rock. Graham declared that Owen Parfrey was the side’s man of the match and it was hard to argue with him. The champions will hope that they can keep the two in tandem for the remainder of the season. For the Wolf Pack, centre Nick Blevins was a constant threat and he made some much-needed breakaways to provide relief for his put-upon teammates.
Blanks continued his assured kicking form by adding some penalties for The Rock. The home fans had something to cheer about midway through the second half, however, as substitute Dustin Luther showed determination to push through for a try. Christian Wolff added a conversion and a period of pressure ensued but the Wolf Pack could not gain another score that may have shifted momentum. A final Blanks penalty ended the scoring with 10 minutes to go and the game finished at 29-8.
Despite the win The Rock, a team made up of players from Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, are in fourth place with four points in the table, while the Wolf Pack are tied for second with B.C. on 5 points.
The Rock will next face Ontario Blues in Newfoundland on August 20th while Prairie Wolf Pack travel to Kelowna on August 13th to do battle with B.C. Jeffs will be keen to assure his squad of the positives to their 1-1 start but will be working his forwards hard on the training ground. The Rock’s head coach Pat Parfrey will be planning a rousing welcome for the Blues. His side have shown that there is plenty of fight left in them.
The Rock: Tries: Robert Wilson, Yannick Fortin, Rob Turk Conversions: Dean Blanks Penalties: Dean Blanks (4)
Prairie Wolf Pack Try: Dustin Luther Penalty Kick: Christian Wolff