Defiance Rugby Club ready to rumble |

Defiance Rugby Club ready to rumble

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson Emily McDonald, 15, swims the breaststroke during a Sopris Baracudas swim practice at the Hot Springs pool Thursday morning. The team is gearing up for the 33rd annual Sopris Barracuda Invitational meet this weekend.

Last season the Glenwood Springs Defiance Rugby Club gave Division II a shot and showed well with a third-place finish in the league.

The season took a toll, however, wearing down the squad that was at times short on manpower. This season the club opted to go back to a schedule that features primarily longtime Mountain Division rivals like Breckenridge, Vail and the Aspen B squad.”For a majority of the team the (Division II) season was just too long and drawn out,” team captain Mitch Bowers said prior to practice Thursday. “It’s kind of tough to do when you only get 15-18 players and that’s what you need (every weekend).”This year it’s all about having fun.”

The fun starts Saturday at 1 p.m. when the Defiance “Old Boys” take on the squad’s younger members at Glenwood Park. The game, being billed as the “Defiance Classic” will act as a tune-up for next weekend’s Ski Town Tournament in Jackson Hole, Wyo.Bowers is joined by a number of familiar faces such as lock Mitch Heuer, wing Keith Jones and flanker Justin Stencil, but there is also an influx of players new to the squad this year.Center Micah Mills is in his first season with Glenwood and should have an impact. The Defiance is also beginning to reap the benefits of the valley’s high school club program with three or four former or current prep players coming out for the squad this season.

“We’ve got old faces and new faces and it’s fun teaching new guys,” said Bowers, an 18-year rugby veteran. “It’s good to see the new faces. That builds the team for them in the future.”The Defiance has about a dozen games on its summer schedule, including the Ski Town and the Cow Pie Classic in Steamboat Springs, with the possibility of more games being added throughout the season.All home games are scheduled to be played at Glenwood Park and are open to the public at no charge.All home games are scheduled to be played at Glenwood Park and are open to the public at no charge.

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