Vail R.F.C. makes it a triple and quadruple

The Vail front pack moves forward against Steamboat Springs Saturday during a 36-10 win over the visitors at the Vail Athletic Field. The win clinched the Vail Rugby Football Club's fourth-consecutive Mountain League title.
Jennifer Sewall | Special to the Daily |

VAIL — Was it three or four?

Turns out it really doesn’t matter for the Vail Rugby Football Club, victors Saturday over Steamboat Springs by a count of 36-10 at the Vail Athletic Field.

That’s the Triple Crown for the Blue and White — winning the Cowpie Tournament up in Steamboat last month, taking the Ski Town Tournament last weekend in Glenwood Springs and then capturing the Mountain League crown on Saturday by downing Steamboat.

Of course, that’s Vail’s fourth-consecutive Mountain League championship, so there was some postgame confusion as to whether one should hold up three or four fingers in the air. But one is sufficient as the Blue and White put an emphatic stamp on that fact that it is the best side in the Colorado Rockies.

“When you look back at our history, winning Ski Town and Cowpie, those two you usually don’t get,” Vail coach Will Mansour, an alumnus himself of the club. “And then with the start of this Mountain League, we’ve won them all. It’s the first time we’ve done that. We’ve had good teams in the past with (Greg) Tarpey and Phil Bennett and Chris Chantler. And Chris Chantler’s brought that guidance back to this team.”

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Chantler is now the club’s president and he hustled back to his car to get a trophy for the team to pose with in the ceremonial post-game shot. It turned out that it was actually the club’s MVP trophy — the Mountain League hardware has resided locally so long, it wasn’t at the game.

And it’s not like the team cared. The first bottle of Cuervo 1800 — yes, this is a journalistic assumption that it was the first, but a safe one — was placed right next to the trophy for the shot.

The game itself did not begin auspiciously for Vail. Steamboat blocked a Blue and White punt early and fell on it beyond the touch line for a try and an early 5-0 lead. Vail settled in with a multi-phase march down the pitch, establishing a trend for the day.

The Blue and White were impeccable on scrums and rucking the ball from there to maintain possession.

“Those rucks were good,” Mansour said. “The ball was at the back. A lot of these guys are just good players. From 1-15, their willingness to work is the thing. It’s something we preached all season.”

Cookie, aka Mike Cook, was the beneficiary of all that good work tying the game with Vail’s first try.

Koehler Baker touched down six minutes later and Vail was up, 10-5. Matt Burton got the first two tries in the first half. In between those scores, Vail’s defense made its biggest stand. Steamboat drove the ball within 10 meters or so of the line before the defense delivered a crackling hit. Steamboat got whistled for the knock-on, resulting in a Blue and White scrum. The front-pack lads did the job nicely, and Steamboat never came near scoring again until well after matters were decided.

It is a safe bet that many pints of Sessions Lager and shots of Cuervo 1800 were thrown back at Garfinkel’s to celebrate the triple or the quadruple. Those three are Vail R.F.C’s three chief sponsors.

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