Steamboat rugby remains undefeated

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Kara K. Pearson/Post Independent

Steamboat's Able Varney gets tackled by Glenwood Defiance's Scott Archuleta, bottom, and Armando Herrera, left, as his teammate, JoJo Bucci, comes in as support during Saturday afternoon's rugby game at Glenwood Park. Glenwood lost, 56-21.

— Make it 10.

Steamboat rugby got off on the right foot, scoring 28 points in the first half against Glenwood Defiance on Saturday.

Defiance came back to score three tries in the second frame, but couldn't make up the difference, falling to the 10-0 undefeated Steamboat.

After hitting two penalty kicks, Steamboat, who is 4-0 in the MRL, scored its first try when eightman Chris Bauman dove into the corner of the try zone to go up, 11-0. A few minutes later, Bauman took an eightman pick and ran 20 meters before offloading the ball to a charging wing who scored again for Steamboat, which went ahead, 18-0.

Having Bowman take a lot of crashes was part of Steamboat's plan.

"We put a game plan together for this team this week, and the first half, we did it," Steamboat coach Graham Muir said. "We knew they had a lot of big guys, so we tried to move the ball around and then we wanted to try and run our big No. 8 (Bauman) at their centers because we knew that was their star players. So that was our game plan, and it seemed to work."

Steamboat scored another try and converted one more penalty kick to close out the first half.

As soon as the whistle blew to open the final frame, Glenwood came roaring back.

Five minutes in, Defiance winger Caesar Omdula raced down the sideline to get Glenwood on the board. Morgan Harris made the conversion, and Steamboat's lead was cut to 28-7.

"We are fit - all of us," said one of Glenwood's scrum halves, Mike Mirick. "We are a second-half team. That's when we start getting into our stride."

Steamboat responded by pounding Glenwood's try line, but Defiance stood strong, acting like a wall for a few minutes. Acting quick on a penalty, Steamboat snuck through and regained its 28-point advantage. Steamboat prop Able Varney, who scored two tries on the day, picked up his first a few minutes later to make it 42-7.

Glenwood's outside center, Teddy Omandi, cruised down the field to score for Glenwood. Harris, who hit all three of Glenwood's conversions, scored Defiance's last try with a chip kick over Steamboat's backline. After sending the ball into the air, Harris turned on the jets, bypassed a few Steamboat defenders, scooped up the ball and ran 30 meters for another try.

Steamboat scored one more time before the final whistle blew.

"They have a lot of strong ball runners, and they are very organized. It was still good to get some tries in that second half," said Glenwood inside center James Robertson. "We have got some stuff to work on, but hopefully we'll win our last couple of games."

Penalties hurt Defiance throughout the game, as Steamboat's Justin Wootton converted four penalty kicks for 12 points in the match. Wootton also hit six out of seven conversions.

Glenwood, who fell to 1-3 in the Mountain Rugby League, had a number of strong runs in the first half, but Steamboat's powerful rucking forced Defiance turnovers.

"We got a couple of decent loose forwards," Muir said. "We got some good drills that teach them how to" ruck.

Steamboat will host the Ski Town Tournament next weekend and Defiance and Vail, who both will be a little short on players, will be teaming to play in it like they did for the Cowpie Classic earlier in the season.

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