Gents of Aspen rugby team calls on players | AspenTimes.com

Gents of Aspen rugby team calls on players

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The new generation of rugby in Aspen — the new edition of the Gentlemen of Aspen — will kick off the new season this month.

The tradition-rich Aspen rugby club — dating to the 1960s — will hold a general players meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 24, at the Aspen Middle School gym.

Everyone is invited — experienced ruggers to interested novices, according to John Staub, a longtime Gentlemen of Aspen player who has taken over as club president this year.

“Our first match is April 12,” Staub said, adding that the full-side Gentlemen will have three weeks to prepare for the season opener — against the rival Denver Barbarians.

The Barbos are coming off yet another Aspen Ruggerfest title won last fall in Aspen.

Staub said veteran rugby player/coach Freddie Waititi is returning to serve as head coach of the Aspen full side (15s) for the season. Waititi played on the Gentlemen of Aspen national powerhouse teams from the 1990s and 2000s.

“This is a new beginning for the Gentlemen of Aspen,” Staub said as he leads an ambitious effort to rebuild the senior-level rugby club will continuing efforts to boost high school and youth rugby in the valley.

“We want people to know the rugby club is back, and we’re trying to build rugby back into Aspen’s game,” Staub said.

And the Gentlemen of Aspen are looking for assistance.

“We’re looking for help,” Staub said.

And more than just on-field rugby help — although player recruitment is a major item on the club’s 2014 agenda.

The Aspen rugby club is looking for volunteers to help with the administration of the rugby team and the team’s events — like the June 7 rugby 7s tournament in Aspen as well as Aspen Ruggerfest.

“We’re looking for support — volunteers and volunteers who know sports administration,” Staub said.

Again, all inquiries are welcome, he said.

And, Staub said, the Gentlemen of Aspen are looking for players — athletes who want to learn the sport and want to contribute to the consummate team game.

“It’s such an opportunity for an athlete to get back to a competitive level,” said Gentlemen of Aspen player James Aldridge, the former Notre Dame running back turned rugby star. “I’ve had a chance to rub shoulders (with great athletes) from all over the world.”

Aldridge said that playing rugby introduces players to the international fraternity of ruggers worldside.

His rugby opportunity came when he was recruited for the Gentlemen of Aspen by former Gents player and 7s coach Andy Katoa.

Aldridge said that playing at Wagner Park in Aspen during Ruggerfest — one of the most famous rugby venues in the world — taught him about the longstanding tradition of competitive rugby in Aspen.

He and Staub want to rejuvenate the Gentlemen of Aspen while continuing to support the Aspen Junior Gents high-school age team (led by Gary Williams) and youth rugby in general.

The Junior Gents will host Castle Rock on March 22.

The Gents of Aspen revitalization will start with the general players meeting on March 24 at the Aspen Middle School gym (6 p.m.)

For more information, visit aspenrugby.com or telephone Staub at 225-413-7505.

dstrode@aspentimes.com


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