Baumann to get World Cup start
Steamboat Springs Rugby Club member Chris Baumann will get the Rugby World Cup start he has dreamed of against the Springboks from South Africa. Baumann will wear the #3 against “the Beast,” Tendai Mtawarira, at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, and this historic occasion will be available on Universal Sports.
It’s a dream come true for the the mountain man from Steamboat. As a Rugby player, you want to play the best, and South Africa, the most successful Rugby World Cup nation in history, is the best. It’s the best as a team, and it sports some of the best individual players, too, including the man known as “the Beast,” Mtawarira, a 6-foot-1, 256-pound professional who plays loose-head prop (Baumann is a tight-head prop). In addition, he will face the one and only Bismarck Du Plessis, the uncompromising Springbok hooker, one of the all-time greats.
South Africa has selected its most powerful and experienced team to take on the Eagles as the team, one of the favorites entering the tournament, finds itself in dire straights and in a must-win situation. It will be aiming for the 4-try bonus point to help its cause going into the knockout stages.
The Eagles, too, want to win and believe they can after watching Japan knock South Africa off earlier in the tournament.
Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin has selected shrewdly, with no fewer than 10 changes to the team that went down to Scotland, promoting the impressive Samu Manoa to captain and putting faith in some of the young guns. The Eagles team has a balance of youth, experience and X-factor which could provide the Springboks a true test.
Baumann’s mentor, former Steamboat resident Michael Hurley, could not be more proud of the “big kid” he plucked out of football and gave an opportunity to play rugby. Baumann took that chance and has played not just at Whistler Park on a Saturday or at Ski Town Fields for the annual Cowpie Classic tournament, but in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South America. Baumann will have fans in the stands, including his parents, Wendy and Mike, who will be watching their boy wear the red, white & blue in front of 55,000 at a packed Olympic Stadium in London.
Alongside Wendy & Mike Baumann will be local Steamboat rugby players Jeff LaRoche and Dr. Dallas Bailes, who will support Baumann unconditionally at the biggest match of his fledgling career.
“If we could get the entire fighting bull trout here, we would, to support Baumann at this huge occasion. But we will carry the flag,” LaRoche said. “Dallas, did you bring the flag?”
Julian Bristow is the coach of the Steamboat Springs Rugby Club and will be following the Rugby World Cup for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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