Vail Rugby partners up with Denver program | VailDaily.com

Vail Rugby partners up with Denver program

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

The Vail Rugby Football Club is partnering with its counterpart in Glendale to form a program to develop university-level players this summer.

GLENDALE — The Glendale Rugby Club has announced a partnership with Vail Rugby Club to host a summer rugby program designed for high-level university players looking to develop their game.

Starting in late May, the summer program will be made up of a mix of current Vail Rugby Club players and various university players from around the U.S. who are looking to take their game to the next level.

"The Vail summer rugby program will provide a very unique and exceptional opportunity for college players," director of Glendale Rugby, Mark Bullock said. "These young gentlemen are invited to live and play rugby in Vail, an amazing Colorado mountain town, all the while receiving the best rugby coaching the U.S. has to offer.

"The idea is for our Glendale Raptors' coaches and staff to observe these young players while they are playing rugby locally. At the end of the summer, we will look at the potential of inviting select players into our Raptors elite development academy, which could then make for a pretty seamless transition into our professional team in the seasons to come."

Aside from the current Raptors staff, who will have a large hand in developing this program, Glendale announced that Dan Payne will serve as the head coach of Vail's summer rugby team. Payne, who is stepping down as CEO of USA Rugby after the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July, is looking forward to using this summer to figure out his next move in the rugby world.

Payne had mentioned in February that he was "not leaving rugby, just the current position he had the honor of serving," which definitely piqued the interest of Glendale's Mark Bullock, who knew this would be a great interim move for Payne.

Recommended Stories For You

Payne, who has prior experience coaching San Diego State University, Life University, as well as the U.S. National Rugby Team, will be assisted by a former Glendale Raptors coach and current head coach of Clemson University, Steve Lynch. Payne and Lynch will also be supported by members of the Glendale Raptors professional staff, including head coach Dave Williams.

Doing its part

The Vail Rugby Club is doing its part, as well, securing accommodations and employment for the university players coming in as they represent the local club in the Rocky Mountain Division Summer League. The Vail rugby pitch is nestled between the Gore Range and Vail Mountain at about 8,150 feet above sea level. The club has an already established strong tradition of integrating local talent with players from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, as well as the top American collegiate players, who want to improve their rugby skills by playing rugby during the summer at high altitude.

The Glendale Raptors have partnered with Vail in the past as both Bullock and academy coach John McGuire have coached Vail in the summer mountain league and both teams are excited to develop this formal partnership on the heels of a successful inaugural season of Major League Rugby. Major League Rugby is North America's premier professional rugby league with teams in eight U.S. metropolitan areas: Houston, Austin, Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Salt Lake City and the 2019 addition of New York City.

For more information regarding the Vail Rugby Club please contact Chris Chantler, president of The Vail Rugby Club 970-393-3062 chris@vailcoffee.com or Mark Bullock, director of Glendale Rugby, at 303 639-4710 or mbullock@glendale.co.us.