Steamboat Rugby team ready for home opener |

Steamboat Rugby team ready for home opener

Luke Graham

The Steamboat Springs rugby team practices scrums Thursday at Whistler Field.

— It's early in the season, but the Steamboat Springs Rugby Club just needs a win.

Steamboat (0-1) plays Breckenridge (0-1) at 3 p.m. today at Whistler Field. It's the first home game of the season for the local squad.

With only seven Mountain League games on the schedule, the loser of today's match will struggle to overcome a winless start and still capture the league title.

Breckenridge is coming off of a 14-7 loss to Glenwood Springs, while Steamboat stumbled to a 12-0 loss against Vail. Both games were played in poor conditions — rain, wind and sloppy turf.

"Nothing else but a win will do," Steamboat captain Michael Hurley said about today's match. "The expectation is to win. It doesn't matter if it's by one point or 30 points. We don't lose home games. We're going into it with the expectation of doing whatever it takes to win a game."

In its season opener, the Green and Orange ran into a more seasoned Vail team. The conditions were more conducive to the more experienced team, as Vail was better at scrums, something vital in a slow, weather-influenced game.

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Hurley said the focus this week has been on retaining possession.

"We feel like this week will be a little bit more of an even playing field," Hurley said. "Sometimes, the playing conditions dictate the results."

Steamboat again will rely on several young players. In addition to Hurley, who is out with a wrist injury, Steamboat will be without the help of injured cogs Chris Baumann and Charlie Pappas.

Breckenridge fields mostly college players and may come into the match as the more experienced team.

"It's such a tight season with only six or seven games in the league," Hurley said. "Really we only have the ability to drop one game. We must win if we want to compete with Vail and Glenwood."