Aspen Gents headed back to Ruggerfest final after 4-0 day, get Raptors rematch
The Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Club properly defended its home pitch on Saturday, going 4-0 in matches to advance to the Aspen Ruggerfest finals yet again.
The men’s open division final of Ruggerfest 54 will be a rematch of the 53rd tournament last year, in which the Gents held on to beat the American Raptors, 44-36. The Raptors are a team of crossover athletes, many being former football players stepping into the game of rugby.
Sunday’s final is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Wagner Park in downtown Aspen. Spectating is free.
“There are some physical freaks over there and they are well organized, and they did a lot of training together, so it’s going to be a really hard game,” Aspen player and coach Ben Mitchell said.
Aspen went 3-0 in pool play on Saturday, beating Heart of America (19-7), the Denver Barbarians (19-10) and the Scalliwags (33-7). Then in the semifinals, the Gents pulled away from the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club, 38-10.
The Raptors also went 4-0 on Saturday, beating Olympic Club (10-0), OMBAC (26-22), Boulder (26-8) and the Barbarians (49-0) to advance to the final. The Gents and the Raptors did not play on Saturday.
“That’s the goal going into the weekend, to at least be in the final,” Mitchell said. “It built quite nicely during the day. We started off a little bit sloppy, but got better as the day went on and in the semifinal there, we were looking really smooth.”
Prior to 2021, the Gents last won their home tournament in 2018. The 2019 title went to the Dark ‘n Stormy Misfits, which was also the last time Aspen did not make finals. The 2020 tournament was canceled because of the pandemic.
Sunday’s lineup will also include the championship matches for all other divisions, including the women’s final at 10:15 a.m. between the Grey Huskies and Black Ice Rugby.
For complete results and the updated schedule, visit aspen-ruggerfest.com.