BC Bears Frustrated by Opportunistic Atlantic Rock Side

Atlantic Rock rugby

photo courtesy Rugby Canada

St. John’s, NL –  The Canadian Direct Insurance BC Bears enjoyed some moments of quality in their first two Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) matches this summer, but a lack of execution resulted in a pair of tough losses to the Prairie Wolf Pack. The third leg of the CRC presented a shot at redemption for the Bears when they traveled to the East Coast on Thursday to face the Atlantic Rock, but the trend of missed opportunities continued in St. John’s.

One of the most pivotal moments of the game occurred just six minutes in, as the Bears were able to win a 5 meter lineout, but failed to drive the ball over the line for the try and were subsequently turned over by the Rock in the ensuing ruck. It was the closest the Bears would get to the try line on the day.

To their credit, the Rock held their shape in defense and waited to capitalize on mistakes. Even with their star player, Pat Parfrey, in the sin bin, the Rock were able to limit the Bears’ scoring opportunities, holding the Bears to a lone penalty kick for three points during the vital ten minute interval. Having weathered the storm, the Rock then went on the offensive, using the maul to propel a group of forwards, Matt Murphy, and the ball over the line for the game’s first try.

The Bears would narrow the advantage to just two points early in the second half, thanks to a second long-range penalty kick off the boot of Brock Staller. The nationally capped fullback out of UBC has been one of the most consistent threats for the Bears throughout the CRC, but the ball seldom came his wayon Thursday. The Bears also received some flashes of spectacular play from Rugby World Cup veteran, Phil Mack, who was slotted in at winger for this game, but too often Mack’s runs up field were left unexploited due to missing support players, messy breakdowns or slow ball from the ruck.

The Rock were able to pull away in the second half courtesy of some quick ball movement from their backs. A line break and big territorial gain by the Rock in the 57th minute led to an easy try for centre Emil Sehic. The Rock then continued to press ahead with some clever runs, forcing the Bears onto the back foot at the exact moment when they needed to be heading in the opposite direction. A Bears penalty deep in their own end led directly to a Rock try, courtesy of replacement prop Keelan Chapman. That made the score 20-6 with just under twenty minutes to play, but in the time remaining, the Bears failed to show the impetus needed to claw their way back into the game.  

The 20-6 win for the Rock propels them into an incredibly exciting Sunday where they, along with the Ontario Blues and Prairie Wolf Pack, will all have a shot at winning the MacTier Cup. Each team sits with a record of two wins and one loss, with head to head results and bonus points at the conclusion of playon Sunday likely to decide the tournament winner. The Bears will look to play spoiler against the Ontario Blues. Kickoff at Fletcher’s field in Markham, ON, will be at 3pm ET / 12 pm PT.

Canadian Direct Insurance BC Bears 6 – 20 Atlantic Rock

Scoring summary

Canadian Direct Insurance BC Bears
Penalty Kicks: B. Staller (2)

Atlantic Rock
Tries: M. Murphy, K. Chapman, E. Sehic
Conversions: A. McMullan
Penalty Kicks: A. McMullan
Cards: P. Parfrey (YC)

Referee: Chris Assmus

Canadian Direct Insurance BC Bears roster

1. Anthony Luca (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
2. Alex Mascott (UBC Thunderbirds)
3. Cody McClary (Port Alberni Black Sheep)
4. Sam Clark (UBC Thunderbirds)
5. Craig McLaughlin (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
6. Brendan Kelliher (Castaway Wanderers)
7. Josh Clark (Meraloma Rugby Club)
8. Admir Cejvanovic (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
9. Cody Rockson (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
10. Giuseppe Du Toit (UVic Vikes)
11. Manar Kulkhan (UBC Thunderbirds)
12. Cully Quirke (UBC Thunderbirds)
13. Brock Staller (UBC Thunderbirds)
14. Phil Mack (James Bay AA)
15. Gareth Marsden (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)

16. Adrian Longbone (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
17. Nick Hilderbrand (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
18. Micha Govorchin (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
19. Liam Chisholm (UVic Vikes)
20. Kevin Leask (UVic Vikes)
21. Jorden Sandover-Best (UBC Thunderbirds)
22. Doug Fraser (UVic Vikes)
23. Crosby Stewart (UVic Vikes)

Atlantic Rock roster
1 Frank Walsh
2 Owen Parfrey (capt.)
3 Jordon Power
4 Jon Phelan
5 Brad Lester
6 Matt Murphy
7 Matt Heaton
8 Zac Coughlan
9 Tony Pomroy
10 Patrick Parfrey
11 Aidan McMullan
12 Emil Sehic
13 Alex Rogers
14 Paddy McNicholas
15 Jack Fitzpatrick

16 Martial Lagain
17 Alex Forrest
18 Keelan Chapman
19 Chris Browne
20 Conor Keys
21 Jamie Mackenzie
22 Bryce Thomassin
23 Dan Lantos

Standings through round 3 of 4.

Ontario Blues – 9 points
Prairie Wolf Pack – 9 points
Atlantic Rock – 8 points
BC Bears – 1 point