Steamboat Springs It's hard to imagine that a game against a rebuilding rugby squad like Glenwood Springs is the most important match of the year for undefeated Steamboat Springs.
But that's what captain Michael Hurley will tell you.
Hurley knows heading into today's game at Glenwood that his green and orange have had a week off since its win in the Cowpie Classic. The team's second biggest tournament of the year starts July 28, and Glenwood has a core group of Kenyon players that helped beat Aspen early this season.
"We're under no disillusion," Hurley said. "This will be a tough game."
Last year, Steamboat beat Glenwood twice with relative ease.
This year, however, Hurley expects Glenwood to provide a challenge.
With a strong forward pack and a narrow field to play on, Hurley said the game should be low scoring, meaning it could turn to one side or the other on any given play.
"I think it's going to be more of a smash-and-bash game," Hurley said. "Ultimately, that should benefit us more. We are definitely the fitter and more experienced team."
The game also is vital for Steamboat to stay in line for the Rocky Mountain Cup. Steamboat's currently the top team in the league with a 9-0 record. But with the Ski Town tournament - an event that brings top teams from Santa Fe and Park City, Utah - as well as an away game against Aspen and a home game against Vail, Hurley said notching another win against Glenwood should put Steamboat in a prime position as the season progresses.
"There's no easy games anymore," Hurley said. "It's extremely important. First of all, we feel we can't drop any league games. We can't afford to drop this game if we want to win the cup. Plus, heading into the Ski Town, we want to build some momentum."