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Pomroy gets the call; Newfoundland rugby player going to Italy after all

When he woke up Thursday, Tony Pomroy thought there was little chance he’d be travelling to Naples to play rugby sevens for Canada at the 2019 World University Games. However, that is exactly what’s going to happen for the 24-year-old from Conception Bay South, whose initial plans to be in Italy next week had been blown up by a clerical error that was not of his doing. — Contributed photo
When he woke up Thursday, Tony Pomroy thought there was little chance he’d be travelling to Naples to play rugby sevens for Canada at the 2019 World University Games. However, that is exactly what’s going to happen for the 24-year-old from Conception Bay South, whose initial plans to be in Italy next week had been blown up by a clerical error that was not of his doing. — File

After originally being denied a place on Canada’s world university sevens team by a clerical error, player from C.B.S. learns he has a berth for Naples

Tony Pomroy got a phone call from Paul-Henri Van-Thiel Thursday.

The resulting conversation was a lot more positive than one between the two earlier this month.

That’s when Van-Thiel, manager of logistics for Rugby Canada, told the 24-year-old Pomroy he wouldn’t be playing for Canada in rugby sevens at the upcoming World University Games, not because the player from Conception Bay South wasn’t good enough, but because of a clerical error.

But on Thursday, Van-Thiel informed Pomroy he indeed had a place on the Canadian team for the 2019 Summer Universiade (FISU), beginning Wednesday in Naples, Italy.
An injury meant another player had to withdraw from the Canadian side and Pomroy, a Memorial University student, was the obvious replacement.

It was news that made an afternoon visit to a fast-food outlet much more memorable than normal.

“I was going through the drive-thru at KFC when the call came in,” laughed Pomroy, who will forever remember where and when he received the news.

“The call ended at 2:48. I remember looking at my phone.”

It was a sky-high moment in what has been a real up-and-down month for Pomroy.

“It’s not the way you want to make a team, through someone else’s injury, someone else’s misfortune, but I have to say it’s still super exciting, especially with everything that happened.”

Tony Pomroy

On May 24, he had been notified in an email from Rugby Canada that he had been selected for the team. He was asked to confirm his acceptance and forward other information, such as academic eligibility documents, which he did.

But there was a mix-up. Pomroy’s acceptance was somehow forgotten or misplaced and his name wasn’t included on the final Canadian roster submitted to FISU. Rugby Canada worked to correct the mistake, but with paperwork at the international level, the matter was out of their hands and Pomroy was out of luck … until Thursday.

“It’s not the way you want to make a team, through someone else’s injury, someone else’s misfortune,” said Pomroy, “but I have to say it’s still super exciting, especially with everything that happened.”

Pomroy spoke as he was just about to take off on a Thursday evening flight to Halifax with the Newfoundland Rock, which is competing in the Eastern Canadian championships in Halifax this weekend.

He was originally scheduled to return to St. John’s with his Rock teammates Monday, but instead will be heading to Montreal, marshalling point for the Canadian Universiade team.

Pomroy has competed for Canada before, travelling to Chile and Argentina in 2016 with the national team development squad. That was a year after winning a silver medal at the World Trophy Competition in Portugal with the Canadian under-20s. But he figures the Universiade could be the pinnacle of his rugby career.

And while he is overjoyed he’ll get to compete in Italy, he is also glad to have learned something about himself in the turmoil of the last couple of weeks.

“I actually handled it better than I thought I would,” said Pomroy. “I obviously wasn’t happy, but I didn’t lash out … I tried to keep my cool as best I could.

“Looking at it, I think I did pretty well.”

Twitter: @telybrendan

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