After a slow start, the Prairie Wolf Pack proved they will be a force to contend with in the 2013 CRC after a convincing win over the Atlantic Rock on a blustery day in Calgary, Alberta.
Coming into the match on the heels of a disheartening 16-14 loss to the Rock in Newfoundland, the Pack had a difficult task ahead of them in the form of the always tough Rock outfit. Despite a very evenly contested first half, the story of the game was the strength of the impact players coming off of the bench for both sides in the 2nd stanza.
An early score by The Rock #8 Zac Coughlan put a scare into the home crowd and seemed to wake the slow starting Wolf Pack. Their response came in the form of 3 unanswered try’s. The first of those three was by World Cup veteran Scott Franklin who rampaged in from 20 meters out. Successive try’s came from #10 Gordie McRorie on a beautifully taken intercept on their own 22 metre line, and from Brodie Henderson on a powerful run up the middle through some lackluster Rock defence.
(Check out this Photo Album from the game shot by Jose Lagman - http://www.canadianrugbychampionship.com/leagues/albums_open.cfm?clientID=2581&leagueID=6921&albumID=12303)
Rock veteran Dean Blanks kicked a penalty at the 30 minute mark to bring the score line to 19-8 and was quickly followed by a well worked try which was finished by the strong running Jason Picco. Shortly after, Wolf Pack #10 McRorie was sin binned for an infraction off the ball and with the halftime score at 19-13 and the wind shifting in favour of the Rock, there were few in the stands who imagined this game was in the books.
The Wolf Pack also lost 2 influential players at half time with both Jake Robinson (#9) and winger Brodie Henderson succumbing to first half injuries. The depth of the bench was to be tested on this night as the Rock continued to live up to their hard-nosed style of play.
The home team answered that call in the form of a brilliant individual try from Wolf Pack veteran James Buchanan while playing a man short. Buchanan brought his high tempo energy to the 2nd half, which lifted those around him and made a statement that he is seriously fighting for a starting berth. A versatile player who has been mainly used in the centres, his role at #9 for this match would greatly influence the outcome.
Despite all of this, Dr. Parfrey’s men from the East coast were up to the challenge and responded with a penalty goal from Robert Wilson and a try from one of the 3 Parfrey children on the field this day – Kevin – which was successfully converted by Wilson to bring the score to 26-23 Wolf Pack with 25 minutes to play.
The difference in this match came at the 65th minute when replacement winger Duncan McGuire finished a brilliant effort from the Pack outfit. This seemed to energize the Wolf Pack and was followed by a well worked set piece try from fullback Carl Pocock and another intercept try by the man of the match Gordie McRorie. With all of the conversions, the final scoreline read 47-27 in favour of the home team.
The Wolf Pack will now face a quick turnaround and recovery and will play the visiting Ontario Blues at the Calgary Rugby Park on Monday at 1pm.
Tries: Gordie McRorie (2), Brodie Henderson, Duncan McGuire, Scott Franklin, James Buchanan, Carl Pocock
Conversions: Gordie McRorie (5), Pocock
Tries: Zac Coughlan, Jason Picco, Kevin Parfrey
Conversions: Robert Wilson
Penalties: Dean Blanks, Robert Wilson