Gents of Aspen to host holiday rugby tradition
The Aspen Times
The summer holiday rugby spotlight will shine in Aspen on Saturday.
The Gentlemen of Aspen rugby club will host the visiting Misfits in the traditional Fourth of July wekend rugby game in Aspen — a rugby staple since the late 1960s.
“We can’t wait,” Matt Williams of the Gentleman of Aspen said after the team’s big win over Steamboat Springs last Saturday. “The Fourth of July (holiday) game is always the best.”
Williams, currently a player at UCLA, came up through the Aspen rugby system, helping the Junior Gents win a state championship as a prep player.
He and a host of other college players have joined the Gents this summer, picking up back-to-back convincing wins. First, the Gents won at Breckenridge.
Then, last weekend, the Gents rolled past an outmanned Steamboat Springs team 75-5.
Led by standout Lungile Tshuma of Zimbabwe, currently a player at Lindenwood University in Missouri, the Gents bolted to a 35-0 halftime lead a week ago.
But the players and the coaching staff know this week’s matchup will be much different.
The Misfits, loosely based in Denver, included veteran rugby players from all over the country. Many of the players are former U.S. Eagles with international experience.
They gather for various tournaments, including Aspen Ruggerfest, and special summer games like Saturday’s 1 p.m. showdown at Rio Grande Park.
“We’ve got to be consistent for the whole game (against the Misfits),” Gents of Aspen head coach Cameron McIntyre said. “And we’ve got to be a little more creative in attack.”
He said the Gents expect a much more experienced group when the Misfits line up for the holiday weekend rugby game in Aspen.
The Misfits fell to the Gents last fall in the championship game of Ruggerfest 2015.
A large crowd is expected Saturday for the rugby contest.
A beer concession will be open at Rio Grande Park during the game, according to officials with the Gentlemen of Aspen.
The public is invited. There’s no admission charged.
The Gents’ 2016 summer roster features other college players from Humboldt State in California, Middle Tennessee State as well as LSU and Lindenwood University.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.