Rock falls short

John Browne
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Lancashire tops Canadian champs

Ciaran Hearn

Poor finishing in the first half of play came back to haunt The Rock as visiting Lancashire escaped with a 27-15 victory in exhibition rugby at Swilers Complex Saturday.

A victory was not out of reach for the Rugby Canada Super League (RCSL) champions against the English, but turnovers inside the Lancashire five-metre line proved costly.

While Rock coach Pat Parfrey gave the credit to the Lancashire defence, there were several Rock unforced errors in the mix.

Rocks flyhalf Dean Blanks missed a few early penalty kicks and, in retrospect, the team would probably have done better to keep the ball in hand.

We probably werent wise to attempt long distance penalties, said Parfrey. We missed three (penalties) and that meant we werent attacking with the ball in hand.

But you have to remember that Lancashire is a different quality team than we are used to playing. These guys can defend. They were able to get over the ball and slow the ball down on us, Parfrey said.

They are a very good rugby team and the fact that we were able to create so many (scoring) opportunities is a great credit to our fellas.

Blanks kicked a penalty and converted one try for The Rock which got single tries from Ciaran Hearn and Mike Rudofsky.

Blanks almost produced a try in the final seconds of the match when he caught up to his deft squib kick and was tackled at the three-metre line. He could have used some support as his back pass was intercepted to end the match.

Strong leg

Lancashires Steve Nutt was superb in kicking five penalties and a convert for 17 points. Tries came from Dave McCormack and pint-size scrum half Darren Wilson, the smallest player on the field who broke a tackle to produce Lancashires final major.

It was a very entertaining, physical match and there were a few dustups with punches thrown. Yellow cards were handed out to Nutt and Rocks Chris Mooney on the day.

We didnt finish at the end and that was a problem, said Rock prop Danny King, who replaced starter Rod Snow.

I also thought we kicked the ball too much instead of running it down their throats.

The Rock had its fair share of possession throughout the match and probably should have had another 15 points with a bit of luck and a little more concentration against the very quick English side , which punished the home team for its mistakes.

It was a tough game, said Lancashire coach Mark Nelson. They gave us a big test and credit to our lads for coming through and winning.

Nelson also praised his squads opponents.

They played well in all areas of the game. They tackled well and attacked the fringes well. They used the ball well against us when they had it and we are a very good defensive team.

Lancashires Eastern Canadian tour continues later this week with matches against Niagara Thunder and Toronto Xtreme, Rock rivals in the RCSL.

Weve been looking forward to this tour for a year now, said Nelson. Its a fantastic place to come and its a great experience for the lads.

Geoff Warden didnt play for The Rock due to an injury and Stu Ault decided a few days ago he wasnt coming to the province this summer.

Organizations: Rugby Canada Super League

Geographic location: Niagara Thunder

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