Gents coach expects `robust effort’ |

Gents coach expects `robust effort’

Tim Mutrie
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Football Club hosts its first match of the season – in Aspen – on Saturday versus the New York Athletic Club at Rio Grande Park.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m., preceded by an Aspen B-side match against Colorado Springs at 1:30 p.m.

Coming off the first tie in club history versus Dallas last Saturday, Aspen will be looking to make a statement.

The six-time defending U.S. national champions have already clinched a berth to the eight-team national championship playoffs, with a 4-1-1 record in USA Rugby Super League play on the season, but any result other than a win will jeopardize Aspen’s chances of hosting a playoff match.

“That win-at-all-costs spirit is kicking in,” said Aspen coach Brian Going. “They’re out of dreamland and into reality.”

Meanwhile, the New York Athletic Club, at 1-5, has no hopes for the postseason, which gives them the appearance of pushovers. But at the same time, underdogs, with nothing to lose, can be very dangerous.

“The truth of the matter is that every team that plays us, they treat it like the biggest game of the season,” Going said. “So I’m expecting a lot from those guys.”

Since losing a 27-22 match to the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club in San Diego on March 29, Aspen stormed back with two blowout wins over Boston and the Potomac Athletic Club.

All systems were go in the quest for U.S. title No. 7 when Aspen departed for Dallas last weekend. And then came the tie.

“The boys have stepped back, looked in the mirror, looked at their own level of fitness and commitment, and I think you’ll see a hard-out, robust effort on Saturday,” Going said.

Aspen’s lineup will feature two U.S. National Team players, Alec Parker and Tasi Mounga, who rejoined the team this week after a stint with the Eagles. Jason Walker, a former U.S. team player and Gents fixture, will be back in the red and black as well.

Aspen’s two home games this season were both played in Carbondale due to snow in Aspen. And, weather permitting, of course, Aspen is keen to make their Aspen debut on Saturday.

“It really shouldn’t be a factor, but it is a factor,” Going said. “The guys love playing at home, at Rio or Wagner, and why not? We’ve got some loyal fans out there, and the guys like to produce the goodies for them. That’s what it’s all about when we’re at home.”

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