If The Rock was looking for ammunition as they reload for the Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) final Saturday, they’ve got it.
Last week, the Calgary Herald website carried a story quoting Prairie Wolf Pack coach Mike Shelley saying his team had better players than The Rock.
The interview that led to story was done via cellphone just after The Rock had beaten the Wolf Pack 27-23 Sept, 4 in St. John’s in the first-place match to decide the host team for the league final.
“I think we’re better than them, to be honest,” said Shelley in a story by the Herald’s Kristen Odland. “We’ve got better players.”
Shelley went on to say, “They guys here (in St. John’s) have been playing for quite a long time, a few seasons at least. (and) they (Rock) go on expensive tours to the U.K.”
“It’s not just the fact that we know we can run it close with them; we know we can beat them,” concluded Shelley.
Not surprisingly, those remarks didn’t go over too well with The Rock’s captain, Peter Densmore.
“To be blunt about it,” said “Densmore, The Rock’s veteran hooker, “it’s a sign of complete disrespect.
“Typical mainland attitude: If we win, it’s because we’re playing at home. If we lose, we’re not that good. That sort of thing.
“If we keep winning, then they’ll still have some kind of excuse. I guess they have to justify it in their own heads, I dunno. I thought we had more of the play.
As far as going on tour to the United Kingdom, Densmore sais, “Just because we prepare for the season… what the hell does that matter? Kind of childish, really.
“He’s entitled to his own opinion, “but at the end of the day, they came up short.”
Game time for Saturday’s final is 3:30 p.m. at Swilers Complex.
Based on Wednesday night’s practice, The Rock will probably be without star fly half Dean Blanks for the final.
Blanks, who is the CRC’s top scorer, was injured in the first-place game two weeks ago. He sat alone in the bleachers at Swilers Complex before making himself useful by collecting balls and adding his weight to the scrum machine.
According to Rock coach Pat Parfrey, Blanks is “very doubtful” for Saturday’s championship match.
If that’s the case, Morgan Lovell will take his position in the lineup and Ciaran Hearn, who was slotted to play on the wing, will move to fullback. Newcomer Ben Trevorrow will fill in on the wing. It’s likely Jason Picco will be added as Blanks’ replacement on The Rock’s roster.
The Wolf Pack are expected to train 10 o’clock this morning. Representatives of both teams will be at a news conference 11:30 this morning at the Swilers Complex.