Long-time P.E.I. bed and breakfast owner recalls life-long fighting ...
Peers Alliance set to host annual poetry slam and have some wacky fun ...
UPEI student to share her experiences as an out, queer woman in China
Making East Coast workplaces more inclusive for LGBTQ2+ community
Have you heard about the SaltWire News app?
Visit SaltWire.com for more of the stories you want.
SaltWire Selects: Stories you don't want to miss
What you need to know about COVID-19: August 6, 2020
To nobody’s surprise, there will be no rugby played this season in St. John’s, and elsewhere, and that’s a big worry to one of the main movers and shakers of the game in this province.
“To be honest,” said Pat Parfrey, “I’m less concerned about national tournaments than I am about local play. If there’s no local rugby for two years, that’s where I will be pretty concerned.
“When you throw wrenches into this (like COVID-19), with one year gone and maybe even a second year gone (2021), you’re hoping small sports survive, particularly one like us where we’re dependent on having 23 players on a team.
“In a province like ours that is small and fragile, it’s a big issue when you lose a season and when you lose a second season, you’re wondering how the game can survive because we’re dependent on getting players out of schools, etc.
“If there’s no rugby for them, how are we going to maintain the pipeline? It’s a concern.”
Last year, the Atlantic Rock Under-19 team, with the majority of the roster comprised of players from this province, won the national championship at the Swilers Rugby Complex in St. John’s.
The senior Newfoundland Rock played Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Toronto Arrows Academy team in the Eastern Canadian Super League, winning the Atlantic portion of the league last year (the Rock beat Nova Scotia for the bronze medal) before losing to Ontario in the semifinal for the Eastern Canadian title.
Both Rock teams were ready to roll this year until the pandemic scuttled those plans. Of the 25 players who would have played U19 this season, 15 were pegged to be Newfoundlanders.
“We were really optimistic about that team,” said Parfrey, the U19 squad’s manager. “Losing out on that has been a big disappointment because they’ve been well prepared.”
As for the Eastern Canadian Super League Rock squad, figuring out how to keep players engaged this summer when there’s no rugby is the great debate.
“That’s a really good question, the big question,” said Simon Blanks, coach of the Rock’s Super League squad.
They’ve found an answer, however.
Well, kind of.
“Likely the best we can hope for is flag or touch rugby this season,” Blanks said.
“We canvassed the players and asked if that’s all we can get, who wants in? The response was actually overwhelming. Practically everybody said, ‘Yes, we want to do something.’
“So we’re looking at non-contact rugby starting the beginning of July or the middle of next month,” Blanks said. “Worst case scenario is we miss a summer, and play a full indoor league of flag or touch rugby at the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre.”