Heart, drive sets tone
Post Independent Sports Editor
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — If nothing else, first-year Glenwood Defiance Rugby Club coach Ian “Spudsy” Skilton is tremendously impressed with his team’s drive.
“You can’t teach heart, and these guys show a lot of it,” the first-year Defiance coach said. “They want to play because they love the game, and they want to play for their buddies. Their teammates. It doesn’t matter if they’re down two tries or more. They never give up.”
Granted, Defiance would have liked to have won its first two preseason games against Barbos B Side out of Denver the past two weekends. Regardless of the two losses to begin the season, however, Glenwood’s enthusiasm hasn’t dampened going into today’s game against Queen City. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. today.
“There are six or seven guys who are really taking over the team,” said Ike Fitzgerald, a player and the forwards coach for Defiance. “It’s a nice thing to see that individuals who are out there and haven’t been playing for a long time are bringing it home.”
That’s been a definite plus for a team that’s not only celebrating its 20th anniversary, but will be hosting the Ski Town Classic in early August. It’s an annual tournament which jumps from town to town and draws teams from Aspen, Vail, Speamboat Springs and the neighboring states of Utah and Wyoming.
Before Glenwood gets to that part of the season, Defiance has to get used to its new gameplan. Glenwood, which traditionally has been a smashmouth team, is switching to a more up-tempo offensive approach.
“It’s a work in progress,” Skilton said. “For some, that way of playing is imbedded in them. Right now, it’s about spaces, not faces. When someone has the ball, they need to run to open space instead of trying to run over the guy right in front of them.”
Today’s game against Queen City is Glenwood’s last preseason game. Mountain League play begins for Defiance next Saturday at Vail, then continues June 29 when Glenwood hosts Steamboat Springs.
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