Rugby, soccer prepare for weekend |

Rugby, soccer prepare for weekend

Luke Graham

— As things progress in the Rocky Mountain Rugby League, every game carries a bit more significance.

So while the Steamboat Rugby Club may be the favorites when the team travels to Breckenridge for a 3 p.m. game today at Kingdom Park, there’s always that little bit of hesitancy.

“It’s a bit of a learning experience with the movement in this league,” Steamboat captain Michael Hurley said. “You kind of know what to expect when you play Vail or Aspen, but with Breckenridge, you never know what you’re going to run into.”

Breckenridge has lost by 30 points to Vail and Aspen. Steamboat split with the two teams and probably should have beat Vail. Still, Hurley said Breckenridge was expected to get some foreign help in for Saturday’s game and the scores against Vail and Aspen weren’t quite indicative of Breckenridge’s play.

“I expect it’s probably one of the tougher Breckenridge teams we’ve seen in the last couple years,” Hurley said. “If we’re not back on our A game, we’ll lose.”

Hurley said the key again will be to play solid defense and try to create scoring chances on the outside.

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Steamboat still will be shorthanded, playing without injured stalwarts Chris Baumann, Stef Nijsten and possibly Hurley.

“We have to build on what we did against Aspen and keep the game plan intact,” Hurley said. “But we’re expecting a big game from Eric Wernig. He’s been a dominant figure for Steamboat in these first two games.”

Soccer readies for Craig

The Steamboat Pacific men’s soccer team plays El Mexico from Craig at 1 p.m. today at the Christian Heritage School fields.

Steamboat captain Danny Tebbenkamp said with the disbandment of the Craig soccer league this year, El Mexico is much better than they were last year.

“They’re strong this year with skills to put the ball in the back of the net,” said Tebbenkamp, noting El Mexico likes to possess and then look to connect on long passes. “They have great shooters and finishers.”

Tebbenkamp said the key for Steamboat will again be to win the battles inside the 18-yard mark. Two weeks ago against Pepe’s of Vail, Steamboat was able to maintain possession but struggled to finish and stop the Vail attack.

“I think the more time on the pitch we get, we’ll start seeing more balls in the back of the net,” Tebbenkamp said.

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