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Gentlemen host Vail Saturday

Tim Mutrie

Less than a month removed from the tumultuous USA Rugby Super League season, the Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Football Club kicks off its summer league season against Vail on Saturday at Wagner Park in Aspen.Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.Gents coach Mick Melrose, who guided Aspen to the final four of the USA Rugby Super League national championships in his first season as head coach, is looking forward to his introduction to Vail rugby, for one.”I’ve just heard bits and pieces, but I understand there’s quite a rivalry there,” he said. “The boys are certainly expecting a feisty, competitive game.”On June 12 in Newport, R.I., the Gents lost by one point in the semifinals of the USA Rugby Super League playoffs. The defeat brought swift, stinging closure to a roller-coaster season that included a 7-0 dash through the regular season; a catastrophic spinal cord injury to Gents player Pat Culley in the sixth game of the season; and, then, a three-week legal battle that restored Aspen to the playoffs only two days before the semifinals on the East Coast.And while much of the team has been recuperating since – “A much needed break,” said Melrose – some of the Gents have been traveling near and far to compete in 7s tournaments.Last weekend, the Gents’ 7s side won a tournament in Shreveport, La., increasing their chances of qualifying for the national 7s tournament.Meanwhile, the Gents’ summer-league team has begun preparations for the season.Melrose said Saturday’s lineup will feature players who traveled with the team during the Super League season but did not see a lot of action.”Then we’ll use a few of the guys from the Super League side to fill out the squad, so we’ve got some reserves and so forth,” said Melrose.


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