The famous hospitality of George St. would have been in full effect on Saturday night, only it was the men in blue who would be holding the silver chalice. The Rock put up a fight in the first half, scoring first and holding the visitors to a single try and giving faint hope to the Wolf Pack no doubt watching on their computer screens. Alas, a refocused Ontario side appeared after the break and put any notions of the unlikely to rest.
Some typically choppy St. John’s weather greeted the two sides as they ran out for the kickoff, far from ideal conditions for a team to play fast rugby as Ontario like to do. The veteran forwards in the maroon jerseys put the pressure on early and Toni Wodzicki went over from a driving maul. The Blues looked a bit shellshocked and still it took time to find their groove. When they did, they made short work of the clearly outclassed home side.
It was always going to be difficult for the Rock, who endured their worst ever season and end with only a single bonus point on their record. Already deprived of Patrick Parfrey, they were without star no8 Zac Coughlan due to concussion and centre Ciaran Hearn, summoned back out west for national team commitments. In a team already short on genuine class, those kinds of losses are insurmountable.
Ontario were simply on another level in the second half as they added 38 points in a stunning turnaround. Andrew Ferguson led the way from scrumhalf, scoring twice and directing play superbly. Aside from Gordon McRorie, he has been the outstanding halfback in the tournament and one hopes will be rewarded with a spot in the upcoming ARC.
The forwards came on in the second half, with Tom Dolezel again putting on a dominant display at the scrum. Lucas Rumball impressed throughout and Seb Pearson got through a good 80 minute session with no difficulties. The men out wide had it easy going as the big men took care of business in the final forty.
It’s the fourth consecutive CRC title for Ontario, well and truly the dominant province in the country at the moment. Whether the selectors agree with that should become clear pretty quickly with the imminent announcement of the ARC side. One would hope that form should be the primary determinant, but the minds of the wise men out west are for the most part a mystery to those residing east of the misty mountains.
ATLANTIC ROCK 5 vs 45 ONTARIO BLUES
Saturday, September 27, 13:30 EST, St. John’s
Blues – D. Daypuck 5c, A. Ferguson 2t, A. Clark 1t, H. McQueen 1t, T. Richardson 1t, L. Rumball 1t, S. Windsor 1t
Rock – T. Wodzicki 1t
Blues – H. McQueen yellow
Rock – M. Hamson yellow
P. McNicholas; B. Thomassin, B. Harris, A. Rogers (C. DeBove), R. Wilson (T. Hart); C. Alexander, T. Pomeroy (A. Paul); F. Walsh (A. Forrest), O. Parfrey (capt.), B. Rogers (S. Cutcliffe); J. Meyers (C. Browne), B. Lester; T. Wodzicki (J. Power), K. Baillie, M. Hamson.
R. Lebel (J. Lofthouse); D. Moor (D. Mathie), J. Wilson-Ross, D. Daypuck (capt.), J. Webster (J. Campbell); S. Windsor, A. Ferguson; T. Dolezel (R. Brouwer), R. Barkwill (J.T. Rowbotham), D. Wooldridge (J. Rumball); H. McQueen, S. Dunham (H. Murray); L. Rumball, A. Clark (T. Richardson), S. Pearson.
Referee: C. Assmus (BCRU)
Assistants: A. McMaster (ORU) & M. Doyle (NLRU)