Great start for host team in under-18 play

John
John Browne
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Province registers shutout wins against Prairie teams on Day 1

Newfoundland's under-18 men's team put itself in medal contention with a pair of wins on the opening day of competition in Rugby Canada's National Championship Festival in St. John's.

The provincial side built up 15-0 half-time lead and never looked back in blanking Manitoba 36-0.

Toni Wodzicki scored early in the second half and then some crucial defending in the final minutes preserved Newfoundland's 5-0 win over Alberta earlier in the day.

A Newfoundland player (centre) prepares to tackle a Saskatchewan ball-carrier during their under-16 match in the National Rugby Festival at the Swilers Rugby Complex in St. Johns Wednesday. Newfoundland won 26-5, one of two victories the provinces under-

Newfoundland's under-18 men's team put itself in medal contention with a pair of wins on the opening day of competition in Rugby Canada's National Championship Festival in St. John's.

The provincial side built up 15-0 half-time lead and never looked back in blanking Manitoba 36-0.

Toni Wodzicki scored early in the second half and then some crucial defending in the final minutes preserved Newfoundland's 5-0 win over Alberta earlier in the day.

Newfoundland coach Pat Parfrey said his team played very well defensively for the majority of the game in the match against Alberta.

"We were on top for most of the game, but we didn't organize very well in the last five minutes and let them (Alberta) back into it. We wound up defending our own line in the last three minutes," said Parfrey.

Newfoundland dominated from the opening whistle and never gave Manitoba a sniff of the endzone in the team's second match of the day at Swilers Complex.

The host team ran and passed the ball well, dominating physically while holding a wide margin in overall ball possession.

Since flawless isn't in coach Pat Parfrey lexicon, he noted - as some of the more vocal fans did - that a few of Newfoundland players held on to the ball too long and points were left on the field.

"We'd like them to move the ball in the overlap," said Parfrey.

Still, there was some clever running in traffic from the Newfoundland backs and big prop Josh Reid had a few memorable moments on offence and defence in the one-sided match.

Wodzicki and Reid each scored two tries against Manitoba. Pieter Van de Merwe and Zach Coughlan had the other tries for the winners.

The Newfoundland coach had said he was wondering whether his team had the required passion coming into the tournament, but he seems pleased with the opening day's effort and now feels his team has a definite shot at a medal.

"B.C. and Ontario will likely play for the gold, and the bronze will probably be between Alberta and us. If we win a medal, we'd be thrilled. We've got good athletes and it all depends upon coming together at the right time."

Parfrey described British Columbia and Ontario as big, strong, talented teams and said it would take a "super-human performance" from Newfoundland to beat either one of those powerhouse sides.

Newfoundland's U-18 team plays Ontario 9:30 this morning at the Dogs RFC pitch in Mount Pearl before meeting New Brunswick at 2:30 p.m. at the Swilers Complex. Newfoundland finishes the round-robin with a match against B.C. 4:45 p.m. Friday at Swilers.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Alberta, Manitoba Rugby Canada St. John's Ontario British Columbia Mount Pearl New Brunswick

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  • chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    GOOD JOB NFLD SHOW THEM WHO'S THE BEST,MAN I'AM SO PROUD OF HOW NFLD HAS COME SO FAR IN THE FINE SPORT OF RUGBY, AND SINCE I STARTED PLAYING IN 1989 IT'S COME A LONG WAY.HATS OFF TO THE COACHES,PLAYERS,PARENTS,AND ANY OTHERS WHO MADE THIS VERY FINE SPORT WHAT IT IS TODAY IN NFLD KEEP UP NFLDS MAIN SPORT AND PAST TIME.GOOD LUCK GUYS.

  • Wanda
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    My son Robert Brown is playing U-18 for the Newfoundland home team.

    They have a great, strong team this year. Go guys! We are here in London, Ontario rooting for you!

    Show them what us Newfoundlanders got!

  • chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    GOOD JOB NFLD SHOW THEM WHO'S THE BEST,MAN I'AM SO PROUD OF HOW NFLD HAS COME SO FAR IN THE FINE SPORT OF RUGBY, AND SINCE I STARTED PLAYING IN 1989 IT'S COME A LONG WAY.HATS OFF TO THE COACHES,PLAYERS,PARENTS,AND ANY OTHERS WHO MADE THIS VERY FINE SPORT WHAT IT IS TODAY IN NFLD KEEP UP NFLDS MAIN SPORT AND PAST TIME.GOOD LUCK GUYS.

  • Wanda
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    My son Robert Brown is playing U-18 for the Newfoundland home team.

    They have a great, strong team this year. Go guys! We are here in London, Ontario rooting for you!

    Show them what us Newfoundlanders got!