Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Rugby Club kicked off its season Saturday with a big win against Breckenridge.
"It's fantastic that we could get our first game at home against a worthy opponent who traveled light but put on a good fight," coach Julian Bristow said after the 66-22 win.
Breckenridge's 18-man roster was short five players. As the game went on, Breckenridge resorted to borrowing some of its Steamboat opponents so players could rest.
"The first half was tough," Breckenridge captain Chavis Nissly said. "We weren't very organized."
Steamboat took advantage of missed tackles and broke away to score several times in what proved to be a very physical game. The game was cut a couple of minutes short after a Steamboat player was knocked out while subbing in for Breckenridge.
"They brought their physical game," Bristow said.
Steamboat has a full squad this year with 36 players, which Bristow said is the largest the team has been in many years. A big early lead allowed many of the team's 12 rookies to play during the second half.
"They actually all did really well," Bristow said.
All the players were able to walk or hobble off the pitch at Whistler Field after the game and join the many fans for beers and burgers provided by sponsors McKnight's Irish Pub & Loft and B & K Distributing.
Steamboat next plays Grand Junction on Saturday at Whistler Field. All games are at 1 p.m. Steamboat Women's Rugby will play at 3:30 p.m.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland