Vail Rugby rolling with tournament wins
The quest for the triple has turned into the battle for a quadruple when it comes to the Vail Rugby Football Club.
The club’s been quite busy recently, and, more importantly, successful, winning the annual Ski Town Tournament in Aspen and the 51st annual Denver 7s Rugby Tournament in Commerce City at the Dick Sporting Goods Park complex.
The traditional summer rugby Triple Crown is winning Steamboat Springs’ Cow Pie Tournament, Ski Town and the Mountain League.
Vail has two of those three in hand and is atop the Mountain League table, heading into the last three weeks of the season, but after winning the 7s tournament last weekend, the Blue and White could be looking at the Quadruple Crown.
Ski Town romp
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With the Ski Town Tournament being hosted by Aspen, Vail was wary about a loaded schedule favoring the hosts. It needn’t have worried.
In pool play, the Blue and White crushed Echo Mountain, 34-0, Steamboat Springs, 50-6, Aspen, 45-0, and Glenwood Springs, 55-0.
The final was a rematch with Steamboat with Vail prevailing 36-10. Vail allowed all of three tries on the weekend.
“I think they performed better than they had all season,” said Vail head coach Steve Lynch who leads the team with Dan Payne. “Three tries is three tries too many. That’s my coaching style. I think we can always improve.”
And this is all a part of the bigger plan with Vail Rugby. Lynch, who coaches collegiately at Clemson, is working on assimilating local and collegiate players alike into one unit.
With college and local players looking to hone their skills this summer, the theme is “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
While Vail traditionally plays 15-a-side rugby, 7s is helpful in many ways to a rugby club.
“I think American rugby is starting to see the importance of 7s,” Lynch said. “It helps to develop skills. There’s a reason the rest of the world plays a smaller game 7s or 10s. It’s easier to develop skills and you can’t hide out there. You have to trust the guy on you left or your right and you have to trust yourself.”
Vail had two entries in last weekend’s Denver 7s. In the club division, Vail won the title, routing Kansas City, Missouri. Meanwhile, in the social division, Vail’s team of forwards took third place by beating Aspen’s A side. Since beating Aspen is one of the core principles of Vail Rugby, that’s worth noting.
And there more left on the schedule for the Vail Rugby Club, which is sponsored by Tequila 1800. Saturday, Aug. 4, is not only a clash with Boulder at 2 p.m. at the Vail Athletic Field, but also Old Boys Weekend, when the club’s alumni return to get in a run, throw back a few cold beverages and tell some tales that perhaps get exaggerated with the years.
In advance of the alumni games, we are sure that club president Chris Chantler will score a minimum of 25 tries, while Greg Tarpey will score at least 10, and then get thrown out for arguing with the referee.
On a serious note, Vail can wrap the Mountain League title with wins over Echo Mountain on Saturday, Aug. 11, and at Steamboat on Saturday, Aug. 18.