ROCK BEGIN REBUILDING PROCESS AFTER DECADE OF SUCCESS
Friday, July 5, 2013 - Submitted by Andrew Smith - RUGBYca Magazine
ATLANTIC ROCK (Quebec/ Nova Scotia/ New Brunswick/ Newfoundland and Labrador) 2012: 2-3 (3rd) Last CRC title: 2010 Pre-season fixtures: Atlantic Trial (June 15), vs Newfoundland (July 13), vs Wolfhounds (Aug 3) www.rockrugby.ca
The Parfrey legacy lives on in the Atlantic region and head coach Pat Sr will be back for another year at the helm of the Rock program. Joining him in the region's pursuit of their first national title since 2010 are sons Kevin, Owen and Patrick. Both Owen and Canada U20 graduate Patrick impressed selectors last year and were called upon to represent Canada-A during the ARC in Langford. Along with the Parfrey brothers, a number of returning players also suited up for Canada-A including Toni Wodzicki, prop Bob Rogers and no. 8 Zac Coughlan.
"Last year was a transition year from the great successful Rock team of the decade 2002-2011," said head coach Pat Parfrey. "Our pack was stronger than anticipated but our defence was disappointing. In our five-year plan, year one was a transition year and 2013 a consolidation year. If our young players toughen up we will be competitive in a league characterized by parity."
The young players Parfrey refers to are graduates of their development program including props Steve Cutliffe and Keelan Chapman, Jordan Power at hooker, Mike Hamson and Jason Kukavica on the flanks. There is plenty of potential in the backs with Doug Crowe at half back and Bryce Thomassin, Patrick McNicholas, Kyle McGuirk, Alex Rogers and Walker Blizzard in the three-quarter line.
Due to national team scheduling overlaps, the team's depth will be tested this summer without stalwarts Chauncey O'Toole, Ciaran Hearn and Jon Phelan for lengthy stretches. The squad will have veteran leadership to rely on during the season, however, as World Cup vet Frank Walsh as well as Brad Lester, Dean Blanks and Geoff Warden return for another year.