It’s a battle between two winless sides on Wednesday as the Prairie Wolf Pack host the Atlantic Rock at Calgary Rugby Park. With the Canadian Rugby Championship final spots already decided this match is for pride and a chance for some young players to get their name in the lights. Sunday proved difficult for both, with the Wolf Pack falling heavily to the Blues and the Rock coming up just short against the Bears.
The pack hand the captain’s armband to veteran loosehead Peter Houlihan. He’ll be joined in a sturdy front row unit by Casey Reed and Nick McAuley.
Lucas Albornoz shifts into the second row and an all-new back row of Connor Gilbert, Wayde Hodgen, and Kyle Morrison takes the field from the get-go. Calgary Saints prop Lalit Bharadwaj is set to make his CRC debut from the bench.
[Edit. Note: The lineup we initially received incorrectly listed Lucas Albornoz in the second row. In fact Conor Turner and Riley Fahlman will start once again.]
Mark Discombe earns his first Wolf Pack start and will distribute to Canada flyhalf Robbie Povey, while former BC Bears fullback Evan Thomas is rolled out in the midfield. Jake Bentley is named on the left wing in place of Conor Desmond and Cam Hall gets a run at fullback.
With Paddy Parfrey out injured it’s Martial Lagain who skippers the Rock. Enfield utility forward Evan Dickie is given a start at loosehead prop having featured at both lock and flanker in previous games while TMR flanker Lucas Hotton is forced into second row duty. Moe Abdelmonem is awarded a start after an outstanding 40 minute shift on Sunday while Canada u19 select Carson O’Sullivan makes his senior CRC debut at No 8.
A new-look but familiar halfback combination sees Halifax Tars duo Graham Barry and Cooper Coats reunited in CRC duty while a pair of former UNB Ironmen will run out in the midfield in Emil Sehic of the Fredericton Loyalists and Colin Alexander, now at Balmy Beach. Another interesting positional change sees former lock Chris Browne start on the wing, one of two call-ups to the squad along with reserve scrumhalf Adam Paul who has replaced the injured Tony Pomroy.
PRAIRIE WOLF PACK
1 Peter Houlihan (capt.), 2 Casey Reed, 3 Nick McAuley, 4 Conor Turner, 5 Riley Fahlman, 6 Connor Gilbert, 7 Wayde Hodgen, 8 Kyle Morrison, 9 Mark Discombe, 10 Robbie Povey, 11 Jake Bentley, 12 Adam Bontus, 13 Evan Thomas, 14 Brandon Baker, 15 Cam Hall
Replacements: 16 Robert Blunden, 17 Lalit Bharadwaj, 18 Ryan Kotlewski, 19 Hubert Buydens, 20 Lucas Albornoz, 21 Jake Robinson, 22 Mozac Samson, 23 Carl Pocock
1 Evan Dickie, 2 Martial Lagain (capt.), 3 Jordon Power, 4 Lucas Hotton, 5 Brad Lester, 6 Liam Carter, 7 Moe Abdelmonem, 8 Carson O’Sullivan, 9 Graham Barry, 10 Cooper Coats, 11 Chris Browne, 12 Emil Sehic, 13 Colin Alexander, 14 Dan Lantos, 15 Brett Johnson
Replacements: 16 Owen Parfrey, 17 Frank Walsh, 18 Jake Chahwan, 19 Jon Phelan, 20 Conor Keys, 21 Adam Paul, 22 Charles DeBove, 23 Jack McCarthy