Rugby readies for Aspen | SteamboatToday.com

Rugby readies for Aspen

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs rugby player Graham Muir is surrounded by Vail opponents June 14 at Steamboat Springs High School's Gardner Field. Steamboat takes on Aspen at 3 p.m. today.

— Steamboat Rugby Club captain Michael Hurley called it a good loss.

After having a banner year in 2007 – the team lost only one game – Steamboat dropped its 2008 opener to Vail last weekend.

Hurley said the loss opened some eyes and made Steamboat realize its play has to be crisper as the team prepares for a contest against Aspen at 3 p.m. today at Steamboat Springs High School.

“We worked on a lot of basics during the week,” Hurley said. “Last week was probably something that just happens. We had enough scoring opportunities to win the game. It was a loss we probably needed to have.”

Hurley said Aspen is an athletic team that can score from anywhere on the field. Aspen is 1-0 after beating Breckenridge in its opener.

“They have an expansive game,” Hurley said. “Aspen’s a team that runs around and attacks from everywhere. I think we can neutralize that by having a really good defense.”

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Defense may be the key. Steamboat is without several key players, including No. 8 man Chris Baumann, who hurt his wrist in a scrimmage with Boulder earlier in the year.

Hurley said with the injuries and some players playing out of position, sticking to the game plan will be the biggest thing that determines a winner. He said Steamboat has to use its speed to get outside and create odd-man opportunities.

“We have to move the ball wide to the areas that don’t have as many people,” Hurley said. “We have to slow it down and be patient with the ball. When we don’t rush things, we have a better chance. Being too impatient with the ball cost us a lot of scoring options last week.”

Hurley encouraged everyone to come out and watch today’s match, especially considering Steamboat and Aspen are two of the best Mountain League rugby clubs.

“Aspen’s making a strong commitment to mountain rugby,” Hurley said. “It’s going to be a good game between the two teams.”