Glenwood ruggers ready for a smashing season
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Two major highlights made the 2007 summer season unforgettable for the Glenwood Defiance men’s rugby club. First, Glenwood joined the ranks of the other teams in the Mountain Rugby League such as Vail, Aspen and Breckenridge by acquiring its first international players as ruggers. Talented players suited up for Defiance from Wales to New Zealand to Kenya, helping the squad compete in the tough league.And second, Defiance beat the Gentlemen of Aspen, 37-20, for the first victory over the Gents in 14 years.
One year later, Defiance is back on the pitch and ready to see what 2008 holds in store. This year, eight new players from Ireland and Scotland will be joining the team. Four of the Irish players are already training with the team, while two more of their countrymen, as well as two Scottish players, will be joining later this month.Only one of the international players from last year is back for 2008 and that is flyhalf Morgan Harris, who will play for Glenwood for six weeks starting in July. Others were unable to make the trip back, and former center Teddy Omandi is now playing for Aspen.Outside of many new faces on the field, Defiance also has a new head coach in Bob Herrell. Herrell has more than 30 years of rugby experience and will be assisted by last year’s head coach, Graham Askew.Glenwood has been practicing for more than a month and will kick off its eight-match (plus three tournaments) schedule Saturday at Vail. Herrell was getting used to the 10-12 players who came to practice (it takes 15 to play a game) but was psyched to see that 22 players were out on the pitch on Tuesday. The boost in numbers will help the players’ to practice against each other and divide up in forwards and backs and better prepare for Saturday’s match against Vail. With new players coming out each day – a trend Herrell hopes continues – Herrell is still trying to put the team together.”The difficult coaching aspect of this is to merge the new guys and the guys who have been with me for five or six weeks and know how I work,” he said. “I don’t even know what positions they play.”The new players and Defiance veterans will have one more practice to prepare for their season opener on Saturday. Glenwood will then play at Breckenridge on June 14, then have a bye week before returning to the pitch for its first home match of the season against Aspen on June 28. Matches and tournaments will continue throughout the summer before the year culminates with Ruggerfest in Aspen on Sept. 18-21.
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