Sunday 26 February 2017

Bridging a 40-year gap to renew friendship with Canada's 'Mr Rugby'

Tony Ward

Tony Ward

Dr Pat Parfrey. Photo: Phil Cole /Allsport
Dr Pat Parfrey. Photo: Phil Cole /Allsport

Sporting friends are for life. In Chicago, I had the pleasant surprise of bumping into one of my team-mates from my first game for Munster, back in 1976.

It was at Musgrave Park against the Wallabies, and I hadn't seen Dr Pat Parfrey since that January day more than 40 years ago - we lost 15-13 with yours truly missing a late conversion that would have tied it up.

Parf' emigrated to Newfoundland, where having served as both national coach and president of the Canadian Union, he is the Canucks' Mr Rugby.

He is also a world-renowned physician.

In the last year, he has been appointed to represent Canada on the new World Rugby Council. It was in that capacity - as Canada's voice - he was present at Soldier Field.

He is eagerly looking forward to arriving in Dublin this week, where his son Patrick could well be lining out for the Canucks against Ireland at out-half or centre. No doubt a chip off the old block.

For sure, old friends are best.

Irish Independent

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