GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Eric Olson didn’t sugarcoat anything about the season opener for the Glenwood Defiance Rugby Club against Vail on Saturday. He didn’t even try.
“We have a lot of things to work on,” the player and coach of Defiance said following Vail’s 85-0 victory at Glenwood Park. “We had fun and that’s important, but it will make a big difference when we actually have a full squad to practice with and when we learn to play with each other.”
Glenwood (0-1) made a gallant effort despite its lack of players and a superior opponent in Vail (1-0), which netted 15 tries and five conversions in all. Vail held a 44-0 halftime lead — converting two of its eight tries — and held possession of the ball for at least three-quarters of the match.
“They were able to spread the field a lot better than we could,” longtime Defiance player Mike Mirick said. “Our rucking wasn’t what it was when we played (in the seven-on-seven tournament on June 7) in Aspen. That made a big difference.”
Warren Kapp scored three tries and Paul Rohr and Rohan Fenton each added two for Vail, with both of Fenton’s tries coming in the first half. Seven different Vail players crossed the try line in the first 40 minutes. Glenwood’s defensive line was able to create a pair of turnovers in holding Vail scoreless for the first 10 minutes before Kapp dove across the try line to put Vail ahead for good.
Glenwood, meanwhile, was unable to field a full team and used two of Vail’s players to give them 15 with no substitutes.
Defiance got close to the try line in the final 10 minutes twice, but Vail forced turnovers on both of Glenwood’s late scoring opportunities.
“We weren’t cohesive,” Olson said. “We had eight guys who had played with each other out of the 15 who were on the field. We need to get more people out to practice to develop that chemistry.”
Defiance will have two weeks to work on things during their Tuesday and Thursday night practices at Glenwood Park leading up to their next game, scheduled for June 28 at Rio Grande Park in Aspen against the Gentlemen of Aspen.