St. John's rugby standout returns home for game while waiting on World Cup spot

Allan Bradbury/CBC

A noted St. John's rugby player was back in the fray of local scrums for a one-game engagement against Nova Scotia last weekend.

After a successful run for the Toronto Arrows' first season, Patrick Parfrey returned to play with his home squad, NL Rock Rugby, last Saturday against the Nova Scotia Keltics. The Rock won the game 32-15.

Parfrey was named to the long list for Canada's team the Pacific Nations Cup on Tuesday. After a few weeks training at home, he will head to British Columbia with hopes of landing a spot on the roster for the Rugby World Cup in Japan in September and October.

Ciaran Hearn of Conception Bay South, who has played for Canada since 2008, was also on the long list, announced Tuesday. 

Parfrey, from a family involved in the game, has been playing rugby for as long as he can remember. He has four older brothers who were all involved, and his father, Dr. Patrick Parfrey, is a longtime coach.

"I guess I can't really remember when I actually started playing. I just have always been around the rugby field," Parfrey said.

Parfrey made his first appearance for the Canadian National Rugby Union team in 2013 and has made 26 appearances for the team since.

Major League experience an asset

Part of his preparation this year was playing with the Arrows of Major League Rugby, which started play in 2018. Parfrey joined the team after the start of the season, and they put together a string of wins and made the playoffs, finishing third overall. The season ended in the semifinals to a tough Seattle Seawolves team that would go on to win the championship.

Playing with the Arrows has helped him prepare for the upcoming international stretch, he said.

"It's quality games, and as Canadians we don't really get as many high-level games as you'd want to so being able to play in those games heading into international window is actually a great help."

Despite training in Victoria with the national team, playing in Toronto with the Arrows, and all of his travel, Parfrey says he still considers St. John's home, coming back at least once a summer to play at the Swilers Rugby Club.

"In my mind right now it's a place I want to spend the rest of my life."

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