Defiance topped by Breckenridge in rugby opener
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Defiance RFC, Glenwood Springs’ hometown rugby squad, lost to Breckenridge Blue Goose RFC by a score of 29-19 in Saturday’s season opener at Glenwood Park.
The game was evenly matched in the first half, with ferocious rucking and tackling from both sides. Breckenridge scored first on a smashing drive by its forwards after camping out inside the Defiance 5-meter line, but missed the conversion kick.
Glenwood answered with a 60-meter give-and-go between longtime wing Keith Jones and new fullback Chris Woods, who touched down between the posts. The conversion attempt missed its mark and the score was tied up at 5-all.
Late in the first half, Breckenridge scored again on a power drive from their forwards and completed its conversion to pull ahead 12-5.
Defiance answered back with a 10-yard crashing, spinning, diving score by No. 8 and man of the match, Lou Culostomy. The conversion was good and the score was again tied, this time at 12.
The second half began with strong inside play by both teams. Tragedy struck the Glenwood side at 17 minutes when hooker and team vice president Ike Fitzgerald snapped his ankle in two places.
“The loss of Ike Fitzgerald is a very large blow to the team, as he is not only an excellent player, but one of our leaders on and off the field,” Defiance coach Bob Herrell said. “The timing hurt us in this particular game because I felt that their forwards were beginning to tire and the 20-minute stoppage of play while waiting for the ambulance gave them a long rest.”
Play resumed with 23 minutes left in the game and Breckenridge kept Defiance pinned inside the 22-meter line, finally scoring with 10 minutes left. The conversion went through and Breck led 19-12.
Breckenridge scored another quick try off the ensuing kickoff to increase its lead to 24-12, but an inspired Glenwood team rucked the length of the field and drove in inside center John Silver with three minutes left. The conversion was good and Defiance pulled to within five at 24-19.
With two minutes to go on the clock, Breckenridge elected to kick off deep and out of bounds. The ensuing lineout resulted in a blocked kick in Defiance’s goal, touched down by Breckenridge. That rounded out the scoring at 29-19.
“I was actually quite pleased with the teamwork and support shown by the boys today,” Herrell said. “I am never happy to lose, but I think we came together as a team this week in a way that never happened last year. This year we have almost exclusively homegrown talent, as opposed to the large influx of foreign players last year, and it shows in the cohesiveness and unity of the team.”
Next up for Defiance is a trip to Vail this weekend for the club’s second game of the season.
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