Vail RFC heads to Aspen for Ski Town
So, coach, what’s you’re approach to the weekend?
“We’ve got to take one game at a time,” Waititi said. “There’s no point in sitting back and thinking we are going to make the final. We could end up a couple of games short.”
Yes, the Ski Town Tournament has rolled around again, this year in Aspen. And speaking of Aspen, the final of this 30-year-plus-old tournament usually comes down to Vail and Aspen. And as tempting as it is to start breaking down the matchups between the Blue and White and the Gents, first things first.
Vail and Aspen are on opposite sides of the bracket. Vail opens with Santa Fe, N.M., at noon Saturday at Wagner Park. The winner of the game faces the winner of Park City, Utah-Glenwood Springs at 4 p.m.
In opening-round games on the other side of the bracket, Breckenridge takes on Jackson Hole, Wyo., at 9 a.m., and host Aspen faces Steamboat Springs at 10 a.m.
With the prospect of three games in two days – either through the championship or consolation brackets – depth is a key concern for Vail. And with injuries piling up – notably Marcus Dracup, Andy Muir and Waititi, who is questionable with a hamstring injury – Vail is still juggling with its starting 15.
“We’ve got to keep our front up and not take a backward step,” Waititi said. “Provided we do that and stick to the things we’re good at, rather than the things we’re not good at, hopefully, it will go a long way. “Tournament play, you’ve got to lead from the front. You can’t afford to get behind and if you do you can be playing with fire.”
Reinforcements, in one way or another, are on the way in the form of head coach Nick Trimble, away from the team for the last month or so on family business back in New Zealand. He’s scheduled to return to the sidelines Sunday when Vail hopes to be meeting Aspen in the finale.
Vail beat Aspen 40-21 in the first meeting of the season. Given that upset, it’s likely the Gents will field a beefed-up side.
“I think the last time we played them we were a bit naive,” Waititi said. “We haven’t had that many games to build on. I’d rather forget the past at the moment and see where the weekend takes us. We’re going to need everyone on our squad that we’ve got to get through. We’ve got two or three games to play and it’s going to be tough.”