Vail RFC hosts Steamboat Springs Saturday
The captain is back.And, that is very good news for the Vail Rugby Football Club when it hosts Steamboat Springs Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Vail Athletic Field.After a tighter-than-expected 34-10 win over Breckenridge last weekend, “Little” Will Mansour, who really isn’t that little, is back to lead the Blue and White’s front pack.”He’s the anchor on the scrum and his experience will help,” player/coach Greg Tarpey said. “He’s a huge factor. He’ll help immensely. I’ve been playing with him for 8 1/2 years and he’s always a pleasure to play with.”
Set pieces were a serious problem for Vail last weekend. With Mansour back, the scrum is likely much more solid. As for lineouts, welcome back Brandon “Little Farmer” MacDonald from New Zealand. MacDonald and vet Phil Bennett are expected to shore up that area against Steamboat.”Brandon will come in and Phil should be here, too,” Tarpey said. “They both have great experience there. We’ll work on that (in practice.) I really hope to see massive improvement. We need to start playing in the first half, not just after halftime.”Tarpey was referring to Vail’s hum-drum win over the Goose last week. Breckenridge, which Vail usually uses as a punching bag, was tied with the Blue and White, 10-10, with 20 minutes to go last week. Vail snapped out of it and scored three late tries to gain the win.To avoid a recurrence, the local 15 was doing a lot of running this week in practice.As for Steamboat, Vail really doesn’t know what to expect.
“We beat them at Ski Town, but they were missing players and we were missing players,” Tarpey said. “I hear they’ve got a lot of foreign players. You can’t fear anyone until you play anyone.”Hall of Fame dinner next FridayThe Vail RFC will honor its 2004 Hall of Fame class next Friday at Tom’s Turkey Farm in Lionshead at 7 p.m. This year, the club honors Doug Bitetto and Dave “Cogs” Shioji. Bitetto played for the club from 1980-1990 at fullback and prop, but “played anywhere he was needed,” according Vail Hall of Famer Farmer MacDonald.
MacDonald had no anecdotes about Bitetto that he could share with the print media, but, the barbs will definitely be flying in a week.”Cogs” Shioji was the team’s scrum half from 1983-1995. He got the nickname in an airport. “They were paging him and they pronounced ‘Shioji’ like the letters ‘c, o, g,'” MacDonald said. “So, he’s been Cogs ever since.”Tickets for the event are $25 per person, including beer and dinner. There will be an open bar. Current players and Old Boys are encouraged to attend. For more information, call Bart Cuomo at 476-8800.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.