Vail tops Glenwood Defiance in rugby |

Vail tops Glenwood Defiance in rugby

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Defiance Rugby Club coach Bob Herrell isn’t one to sugarcoat anything.

And the coach didn’t hold back in sharing exactly what held his side back in the first half of Saturday’s match with visiting Vail.

“Right before half, we started bickering, and we had some breakdowns in communication,” said Herrell, who saw his Defiance squad sink into a 22-3 deficit by the break. “We talked to them about that at halftime. We discussed that we play like a team, we pull together, that we wouldn’t tolerate any dissension against ourselves.”

The pep talk worked.

Coming out with a fire unseen in the previous half, Defiance rallied for a quick try and drop goal to make a game of it and lay the groundwork for what Herrell dubbed the team’s best half of the season.

Only time prevented a comeback for Defiance, which outscored Vail 13-3 in the second half of what ended up being a 25-16 defeat for the Glenwood Springs club.

“If we could have started about 20 minutes earlier, I think we could have done it,” said Defiance captain Morgan Harris. “The second half was big. It gave us a big boost to our morale.”

Harris served as a prime catalyst in that second-half push, his long run setting up a try put down by teammate Colby Knepp. Harris also added a pair of penalty kicks ” one in the first half and another in the second.

Knepp’s try, which came less than five minutes into the second half, injected life into the Glenwood sideline, which erupted again moments later when Ben McCarty drilled a drop goal from beyond midfield.

Other than a penalty kick by Harris, Defiance wouldn’t break through for another score.

“We almost blew it,” Vail’s Greg Tarpey said. “They’ve turned into a good squad.”

Tarpey provided one of four first-half tries for the visiting club. Cameron Turner put down two and Derek Mansanerez added another. Just one conversion and a penalty kick by Turner accompanied those four scores, which filled the scoreboard up just enough for Vail to sneak away with a victory.

“We let it get away from us with a few mistakes in the first half,” Harris conceded. “I wouldn’t say Vail beat us. We gave them too many mistakes.”

Steve MacKinnon oversaw his final game as coach of Vail Rugby Football Club’s head coach on Saturday.

And Vail’s coach of the past three years couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff as he’s primed to head overseas to coach a club in Dumfries, Scotland.

Not because Vail won, but because the match ended under a late-match rainstorm.

That’s fitting, since that’s precisely the weather the Scotland native will regularly encounter abroad.

“This is a good one to end on,” MacKinnon joked. “Now I’m going to go play in the rain in Scotland.”

Tarpey is set to take over as the club’s coach.

Next on the schedule for Defiance is an Aug. 26 date with Breckenridge on the club’s home pitch ” Glenwood Park.

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