Defiance ruggers rally to beat Fort Collins
The Defiance Rugby Club of Glenwood Springs opened the summer season on the road.
And the local ruggers celebrated with a come-from-behind 29-20 victory over host Fort Collins.
The local rugby club, moving up to USA Rugby Division II club status this year, started strong at Fort Collins.
Jason Luoma scored the first try for Defiance early in the game. Adam Torme followed with the conversion kick.
Defiance expanded the lead when scrum half Kenny Murphy scored another try.
With the 12-0 lead, Defiance saw Fort Collins come back to cut the led to 12-7.
Luoma scored again for Defiance. Torme added the conversion and Defiance led 19-7.
But Fort Collins again rallied and cut the margin to 19-14 with another converted try.
A penalty kick and three more points for Fort Collins left Defiance clinging to 19-17 lead at halftime.
Immediately as the second half opened, Fort Collins added another penalty kick to take the lead at 20-19.
The teams battled back and forth before Defiance forced a penalty in the Fort Collins end.
Torme’s penalty kick sailed through the uprights and Defiance regained the lead 22-20.
Ten minutes remained in the game when Defiance again assumed the lead.
Defiance added a long, late scoring run in the closing minutes when Richie Columbus broke free on a 50-meter dash for five points.
Torme’s two-point conversion finished the scoring in a 29-20 win for Defiance.
“Overall, it was a great game for us,” said Keith “Hippie” Jones, a longtime Defiance player.
With an altered lineup and several players in new positions, the team adapted quickly, Jones said.
“We had to move a lot of forwards around and we played a new hooker and they did a great job,” Jones said. “Fred Webber was outstanding; he played great,” Jones said of rugby veteran Webber.
Steve “Hollywood” Holland also saved a possible Fort Collins score when he chased down a breakaway.
The Defiance Rugby Club, with training on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Glenwood Park, will return to the Front Range next Saturday for a game at Colorado Springs.
Then the Defiance club will prepare for a showcase game in Aspen in early June as a preview to the USA Rugby national championship game (Division I).
Defiance will take on the Aspen B side in the early game with the two finalists playing for the national title immediately after Defiance’s game.
The five-time defending national champion Gentlemen of Aspen A side is expected to play in the national final again this year.
Interested players are invited to the Defiance training sessions at Glenwood Park.
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