The B.C. Bears handed the Atlantic Rock a 34-10 setback at the national under-19 rugby championship Sunday, but the team still came away with a bronze medal on the Swilers Rugby Complex turf.
The Rock finished with a 2-2 record in the event, beating the Prairie Wolf Pack 29-0 and the Voyageurs — a squad comprised of Ottawa and Quebec players — 52-12. They dropped a 22-19 decision to Ontario.
“We prepared very well, and played pretty well,” said Rock coach Pat Parfrey. “We were ranked fifth going in, and we achieved exactly what we were capable of achieving.
“A national bronze is pretty good, I think.”
The Rock jumped out to a 7-3 lead on a Chris Browne try that was converted by Tony Pomeroy.
Pomeroy also scored a penalty kick, but the Bears still led 13-10 at the half.
B.C. dominated the remainder of the game.
With the point differential count, the Ontario Blues took top spot and the Canadian Rugby Championship U19 title, followed by the Bears and Rock.
On a provincial level, Newfoundland is holding its own on the national rugby scene, but getting past Ontario and B.C. continues to be no easy feat.
The pool from which to select players remains as shallow as ever, although Parfrey and Simon Blanks and others who make up the nucleus of the game in these parts continue to scour the landscape for potential talent.
“There is not a large number of players available,” Parfrey said, “so in that sense we are over-achieving with our results.”
For the first time this summer, Newfoundland will send an under-14 team to the nationals, coached by Morgan Lovell.
“The fact we are going down in age is a good sign,” Parfrey said.
The under-14s will join the under-16s, coached by Simon Blanks, and under-18s (Peter Densmore) at the National Championship Festival Aug. 5-10 in Calgary. Newfoundland is also sending a women’s team to the event.