Glenwood Springs’ Defiance ruggers fall to Vail in season opener
VAIL, Colorado – Facing the always-tough Vail men’s rugby team in their first match of the year with a mix of new players and veterans still trying to get used to playing together was a rough way to kick off the 2008 season for the Glenwood Defiance rugby team.Despite a fairly even first half, Defiance was hindered by penalties, mistackles and mental lapses in the final 40 minutes that put Glenwood on the down side of a 67-19 loss on Saturday.Vail came out strong at the start of the match, scoring two tries and taking a 14-0 lead. Then Glenwood got its turn to score when flyhalf Ben McCarthy split the uprights on a penalty kick to cut Vail’s lead to 14-3. Defiance then got its first try of the season thanks to some quick thinking from hooker Gareth Murray and scrumhalf Armando Herrera. The two teamed up for a quick lineout that caught Vail off guard and then swung the ball out to winger Chris Romme who touched the ball down in the try zone for a score. McCarthy hit the conversion after to make the score 14-10.Vail scored two more tries in the first half as well as a penalty kick, but Glenwood also added two penalty kicks to its total. Through the first 40 minutes, Vail was up 31-16.While first-year head coach Bob Herrell thought his team was looking good, things were about to take a turn for the worse in the second half.”At the end of the first half we were in pretty good shape to mount a comeback, but our defense fell apart due to poor tackling,” he said.Vail started to pour on the points in the second frame when two Glenwood players were sin binned (which is like going to the penalty box in hockey), leaving Defiance outnumbered on the field. After an early penalty kick from McCarthy to raise Glenwood’s score to 19, Vail scored 36 unanswered points to roll to a victory in its season opener.Even though Defiance is starting the season 0-1, Herrell saw a lot of promise in his squad in its 2008 debut.”The good news is that we have a lot of room to grow, and I saw several positive areas that we can build on. Our connection from the number eight, scrumhalf and out to the outside center is pretty solid and we had several standout plays from players who have just joined the team,” he said. “Muzzy (Murray) was all over the field. Ben, our flyhalf, had a very good game with tactical kicking and 14 points on converted tries and penalties. And our scrumhalf, Armando, was the man of the match with a superb effort.”Herrell was also encouraged by the play he saw in the B-side game that followed, especially from former Junior Gents players Orion Montaine and Keelan McCormick. McCormick scored Defiance’s lone try, his first at the men’s level. Vail won the B-side match 14-5.Glenwood will be back in action on Saturday when it will travel to Breckenridge for its second match of the season. Aspen defeated The Gentlemen of the Blue Goose Rugby Club (Breckenridge) in both teams’ first game of the year on Saturday, 43-19.
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