Ruggerfest rematch in today’s Open final |

Ruggerfest rematch in today’s Open final

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The final matchups are set for Ruggerfest 2013.

The championship games in the 46th annual Aspen Ruggerfest rugby tournament will take the stage at Wagner Rugby Stadium today, starting with the senior divisions.

The age-group championships will lead up to the featured Open Division final at 4 p.m. today at Wagner — a highly anticipated rematch of the 2012 title game.

That means the Crossfit Colfax Barbarians from Denver will take on their cross-metro rivals, the Glendale Raptors, in a showdown of two Colorado power rugby clubs.

But the Barbarians nearly missed their return engagement in the championship, which they won a year ago.

Instead, the hard-tackling team from The Willing rugby football club of the United Kingdom had other ideas and a 22-12 lead over the Barbarians in Saturday afternoon’s featured pool-play game at Wagner Rugby Stadium.

The winner of the Barbos-Willing game would advance to today’s Open championship against Glendale.

Playing a man down, the Barbarians scored two tries in the final 5 minutes for a stunning 24-22 comeback win before a large and appreciative crowd at Aspen’s downtown rugby stadium.

The go-ahead try came with less than 2 minutes to play, ensuring a rematch of the Barbos and the Raptors in today’s Open championship.

The Willing had taken a 10-7 halftime lead on a booming penalty kick at the south end of Wagner Rugby Stadium that went up and over the trees, across the street and through an open sliding-glass door on a third-floor balcony at the Mountain Chalet.

The CrossFit Colfax Barbarians beat The Willing, Boulder and the Denver Highlanders in pool play Saturday.

The Glendale Raptors, meanwhile, scored three consecutive wins as well. The Raptors handily defeated the Gentlemen of Aspen, the Kansas Jayhawks and the U.S. Air Force select team.

The Raptors got off to an early lead and beat the Air Force squad in the showdown game in their pool.

The final leadup to the Open championship will be the Over 35 final featuring the Gentlemen of Aspen against the Richmond Heavies from the United Kingdom at 2:15 p.m. today.

The Aspen Over 35s won three games Friday, beating Boulder, the Clowns and the Virginia Cardinals. The Gents 35s needed a final victory over the deep and talented Cardinals to reach the final.

Aspen rugby veteran Jerry Hatem started the scoring with an early try. Michael Hurley added two more, including the go-ahead score in the 19-15 victory for the Gents 35s.

The Richmond Heavies advanced by beating the Dark & Stormy Misfits, the Denver Barbarians and the ORBS Slackers Over 35 teams.

Today’s championships will begin at 10 a.m. — the Over 55 final.

At 11 a.m., the Over 50 championship will be played.

The Ageless Wonders — over 60s — will play at noon.

Then, at 1 p.m. today, the Over 45 championship will be played.

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