The future of Newfoundland rugby looks pretty good despite results at the recent youth nationals.
Neither the Statoil Newfoundland under-18 or under-16 boys rugby teams picked up a medal at the national youth championships, held last week in Sherbrooke, Que., but coach Pat Parfrey says both teams showed promise.
The province’s U-18s had an overall 5-3 record, but Parfrey noted, “We started 15 under-17 players against Ontario and managed to be competitive until the last 10 minutes.
“We had a very young team, with two-thirds of the squad being underagers, so I feel optimistic about next year’s group challenging British Columbia and Ontario.”
Parfrey noted the Statoil team’s player of the tournament was Kieran Lacey, who was captain despite being an underager “and literally played himself to a standstill against Ontario. He had to be carried from the field with exhaustion during the second half.”
Statoil’s U16 team won just one game, that in the consolation round, but were within one score in their games against Alberta, Quebec and New Brunswick.
Parfrey said the team “played good rugby despite the fact that a month ago we were quite concerned about their capacity to play in a tournament where the seven other teams were more experienced.”
Daniel Aylward, who coach Pat Parfrey said “played skillfully despite a lot of pressure at the scrum half,” was chosen the Statoil team’s player of the U-16 tournament.
I don’t know if Newfoundland will beat B.C. and Ontario in age-group competition next year, but by the time our young men turn 20 or 21, most of them will be equal to anyone in the country.
The Olympic women’s soccer medal ceremony brought a tear to my eyes when I saw the tournament referees standing alongside the U.S. gold-medal winning team on the podium. You can’t say they don’t deserve it after their help they gave to the U.S. in games against Canada and Japan. Elite women’s soccer teams deserved better officiating, even if —heaven forbid — they are male!… Canadian women’s soccer team stole the show for our country at the 2012 Olympics and should earn female team of the year honours and Christine Sinclair the nod for athlete of the year. Sinclair is one of the few Canadian athletes who came through under pressure ... Sinclair got to carry our flag at the closing ceremonies, but you could have made an argument for Canada’s only gold-medal winner. Rosie Maclennan took first place in bouncy castle (trampoline), but her reward for gold is $20,000 which eases any hurt she might feel being passed over for the flag bearer… I’ll say one positive thing about the U.S. women’s soccer team: They have the best goalkeeper in Hope Solo, who made two brilliant saves in final ... Canadian women’s soccer coach John Herdman turned that team around in less than a year. Don’t tell me great coaches can’t make a difference (see local rugby)...Couldn’t believe Jared Connaughton’s foot-fault mistake cost Canada a bronze medal in 4x100 relay. How do you train all those years for the Olympics and not pay attention to such detail? It’s worse than dropping the baton. Have to admit I felt sorry for Connaughton when I saw the look on his face during closing ceremonies. He looked miserable. In the meantime, there was no excuse for one of his teammates throwing the Canadian flag to the ground in disappointment when he found out about the disqualification…And how about the performance of Canadian Damian Warner who finished fifth at the London Olympic decathlon? His performance was remarkable and completely out of left field...While four Canadian channels (Sportsnet, CTV, TSN and OLN) were covering the closing ceremonies live from London, NBC in the United States was showing the taped men’s volleyball final between Russia and Brazil. When NBC ran the closing ceremony, it broke away early to show new sitcom Animal Practice… Best line of the closing ceremonies came from TSN’s Jennifer Hedger who noted, “How is it that you can bring over 200 countries together for the Olympics but you can’t get Gallagher brothers together for one song,” in reference to Liam Gallagher, who sang the Oasis song Wonderwall without brother Noel, who wrote the hit. Apparently the boys still hate each other. Liam now fronts a group called Beady Eye that nobody cares about... Can’t get Pink Floyd back together for Olympic gig, but can bring back the Spice Girls. What a strange world...Usain Bolt might be a legend, but I cringe when he calls himself one. Hopefully it was tongue-in-cheek… CTV’s coverage of Paula Findlay’s triathlon failure was superb. The shot of her mother’s reaction to Findlay saying “I’m sorry,” though tough to watch, was television at its best because it was riveting and immediate… TSN’s Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole made the Olympics fun. Those guys are the best, very funny together… Canadian bronze medallist Richard Weinberger has a connection to Newfoundland. His mother Marina (nee Brockerville) was born and raised in Lawn on the Burin Peninsula. Richard’s grandmother, Theresa Brockerville is still alive and resides in the area. Richard, I’m told, used to visit Lawn as a child with his mother and sister. The 22-year-old Weinberger from Victoria, B.C., won bronze in the men’s Olympic marathon swim which is an event I didn’t know existed. .... Conception Bay South’s Ciaran Hearn has been named to Canada’s team for the 2012 North American and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Rugby 7s Championship, the 2013 Rugby 7s World Cup regional qualifier in Ottawa which begins Aug. 25.