Rock teams set to clash with Keltics

John
John Browne
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RUGBY Newfoundland senior, junior teams to play Nova Scotia squads Saturday

The Rock senior rugby team will look to improve its Atlantic League record to 2-0, while the Rock juniors are itching to get off the ground Saturday at the Swilers Ruby Complex.

Both teams will play Nova Scotia. The junior match is slated for 4 p.m. followed by the senior game at 6 p.m.

Rock fullback Morgan Lovell stares down the New Brunswick opposition during Atlantic Rugby League action last Saturday. Lovell scored 13 points in the game as The Rock won 50-8. Newfoundland's representatives take on Nova Scotia Keiths 6 p.m. this Saturda

The Rock senior rugby team will look to improve its Atlantic League record to 2-0, while the Rock juniors are itching to get off the ground Saturday at the Swilers Ruby Complex.

Both teams will play Nova Scotia. The junior match is slated for 4 p.m. followed by the senior game at 6 p.m.

Senior Rock coach Pat Parfrey said Newfoundland played "reasonably well" in their initial game against New Brunswick last Saturday which they won 50-8.

"The forwards were competent," noted Parfrey, "while the backs gave occasional glimpses of quality in a generally imprecise display."

Parfrey seemed more encouraged by the opportunity to get some of the province's fine young talent a taste of senior-level play.

"The opportunity to blood young players like Chris Burt, Robert Caines, Evan Buckley, Stefan Barter, Paul MacDonald, Zac Coughlan, Bob Rogers and Patrick Parfrey was valuable for our developmental program," he said.

"The Atlantic league is being used to identify the best players for the Americas Rugby Championships and for development of younger players," Parfrey pointed out.

While The Rock is expected to beat the Nova Scotia representatives this weekend, Parfrey doesn't dismiss the significance of the match.

"Obviously, the Wales trip (in August) will be key to getting heavy competition, but nonetheless the Atlantic games are very helpful in developing a template in how we want to play in the fall," he explained.

"We are definitely looking forward to Saturday's game," said Parfrey. "I think the public are quite interested in these games for the same reasons as shown by the good crowd last week."

Meanwhile, the fact that young players such as Rogers and Patrick Parfrey are skilled enough to earn playing time with the senior Rock team while also members of the U-20 rugby squad in the Rugby Canada National Junior Championship League, gives fans some idea of the talent level on the Rock juniors.

Rock juniors picked up an easy win last week when New Brunswick Timber failed to show up, but the home side will have to earn its points this time around. The Keltics blanked the Timber 30-0 two weeks ago.

Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are involved in a home-and-home series of games to produce an Atlantic winner that will go on to compete against Canadian rugby powers Ontario and British Columbia later this year.

The Rock is scheduled to play the other Atlantic province's representatives on the road next month.

Junior Rock coach Simon Blanks says although his full U-20 team hasn't played together yet, about half of the players competed together as part of an U-18 tour of the United Kingdom earlier this year.

"Our under-18 players who are on the U-20 team have played some very competitive games already this season," noted Blanks.

Overall, Blanks says his team is very strong and very fast and one of the team's "major strengths" is its front row.

"Our major strength is our front row with Robert Spearing and Josh Reid, two of the finest scrummaging front rows in the country for their age.

"If they are prepared to get themselves aerobically fit within the next six weeks we'll have a real shot at the big one."

Blanks said two 18-year-old forwards -Jordan Power and Bob Rogers - are fit and have the same scrummaging capacity as their older teammates.

Blanks rates Justin Grainger, perhaps better known for his basketball ability, and Tyler Godden as "two of the finest lineout players in the country."

He also pointed out that players in the back such as Patrick Parfrey, Evan Buckley and Grant Moffatt are good enough to have earned some playing time with the Rock senior squad.

As far as competing for a national title this season, Blanks says, "It's always our goal to go for the gold."

jbrowne@thetelegram.com




THE ROSTERS

The Rock senior team's roster for the six o'clock game is: Rod Snow, Chris Burt, Dan King, Brad Lester, Phil Alcock, Robert Caines, Justin Meyers, Kevin Parfrey, Adam Paul Dean Blanks, Mike Rudofsky, Jason Picco, Robert Wilson, Cyril Bugden and Morgan Lovell. Substitutes include Shannon Goodyear, Nigel Thompson, Stefan Barter, Paul MacDonald, Liam Fardy and Evan Buckley
The Rock junior team's roster for the four o'clock game is: Josh Reid, Neil Molloy, Robert Spearing, Justin Grainger, Nick Capps, Zac Coughlan, John Constantine, Tyler Godden, Dennis Maher, Patrick Parfrey, Kyle McGuirk, Evan Buckley, Shane Stratton, Duncan Maguire and Grant Moffatt. The bench includes Jordan Power, Bob Rogers, Craig Lynch, Stephen Critch, Andrew Taylor, Michael Pittman, Mark Blanchard, Stefan Mackey, Devin Lacey and Stefan Critch.

Organizations: Atlantic League, Rugby Canada National Junior Championship League

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick Wales Ontario British Columbia United Kingdom

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