Steamboat men’s rugby opens season with win against Glenwood |

Steamboat men’s rugby opens season with win against Glenwood

The Steamboat Springs Rugby Football Club, dressed in orange, competes against Glenwood Springs on Saturday at Whistler Field in Steamboat.
Austin Colbert

Steamboat men's RFC 2016 schedule

June 11 vs. Glenwood, 66-24 win

June 18 vs. Gunnison (friendly)

June 25 @ Aspen

July 9-10 Cow Pie Classic in Steamboat

July 23 @ Grand Junction

July 30 vs. Vail

Aug. 6 Ski Town @ Vail

— The trick was to look at the socks. When the Steamboat Springs Rugby Football Club hosted Glenwood Springs on Saturday at Whistler Park, Glenwood’s small numbers forced a handful of Steamboat players to don an opposing green jersey in order to make the match happen.

Even so, one could always tell a Steamboat player from a Glenwood player — no matter which jersey he wore — due to Steamboat’s long, orange socks.

“A bit of rust, but the boys actually did very well,” Steamboat RFC coach Julian Bristow said. “They stuck to their patterns. Late in the first half, when it was getting pretty hot — 40 minutes non-stop, free flowing game — they started to fatigue. So we started dropping our standards. We had a good chat at halftime, came back and refreshed ourselves with what we had to do.”

Steamboat defeated Glenwood 66-24 in its first match of the season. The Fighting Bull Trout, as Steamboat RFC is known, had been scheduled to open the season last weekend at home against Breckenridge, but Breck was unable to field enough players.

Steamboat’s numbers hover around 30. The group includes numerous veteran players, such as established star Jason Troyer, a former Glenwood RFC player.

“Things are looking good,” Troyer said about the season. “Our offense is looking great. Got some work to do on defense. We gave up a few scores, but nothing we can’t fix.”

Steamboat RFC continues to strive to be a beacon for the growing sport. President Dallas Bailes, who recently celebrated his one-year anniversary in the role, thinks small clubs, such as Steamboat’s, are important for the game of rugby to gain more traction.

“We are trying to turn the corner with the club to be a little more organized than we’ve been the last several years,” Bailes said. “Rugby is the fastest-growing sport in the United States, and this summer, rugby is going to be back in the Olympics for the first time since 1924. We are really trying to support the momentum of rugby in the United States with a small club like this and take Mountain League rugby to the next level.”

Steamboat RFC will again be at home next Saturday for a 1 p.m. friendly against Gunnison at Whistler Park. The game is being played as an exhibition match, because Gunnison is a newly formed team.

Then, Steamboat will travel to Aspen — its biggest rival after Vail — on June 25 before having a week off. The 42nd annual Cow Pie Classic rugby tournament is scheduled for July 9 and 10 in Steamboat and will include both men’s and women’s matches.

“We have some big opposition coming up,” Bristow said. “It was good to see all the training we’ve been doing come through.”

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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