Gentlemen return to final four
The Gentlemen of Aspen took two more steps toward their goal of an unprecedented fourth consecutive USA Rugby national championship last weekend in Boulder, advancing to the national Final Four with wins over the New York Old Blues and Life College.
Aspen, the No. 1 seed, started off the weekend on Saturday by thoroughly trouncing the Old Blues, the No. 16 seed, 54-5 on Saturday.
The following day, the Gents encountered more resistance from No. 8 seed Life College of Georgia in a quarterfinal match, but nevertheless prevailed 41-22.
Life opened the scoring against Aspen just three minutes into the game by converting a penalty kick to take a 3-0 lead. Aspen’s Mark Williams tied the score roughly two minutes later with a penalty kick of his own, and then the Gents followed with tries by Chris Morrow and captain Jason Walker to make the score 17-3 in favor of Aspen.
Life sandwiched two tries around a try by the Gents’ Dougald Gillies to cut Aspen’s lead to 24-15, but second-half tries by Williams and Andy Katoa and a penalty kick by Williams sealed the deal for the Gents as they pulled out to a 41-15 lead and the eventual win.
Williams led the way for Aspen over the weekend with 47 points in the two games, though club president Andrew Saltonstal called the victories a “total team effort” and said that everyone played well, including Robbie Davis, Scott Davis and Bobby LeClerc, all of whom rejoined the team for the weekend after missing the regular season.
With the wins, Aspen advances to the national championships, set for June 3-4 in Manchester, N.H. The Gents will match up with Golden Gate in one semifinal on Saturday, June 3.
The winner of that contest will face off with the winner of the semifinal between Hayward and Old Mission Beach Athletic Club in the national championship game on Sunday, June 4.
In the meantime, Aspen will concern itself with another goal, that of reclaiming the Super League national title it lost last year.
The Gents will host the Kansas City Blues on May 27 in one Super League semifinal, with the winner heading to Philadelphia on June 10 for the Super League championship game against the winner of a semifinal between Life College and a team yet to be determined.
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