Collegiate recruits bolster Blue Goose
BRECKENRIDGE – The Gentlemen of the Blue Goose Rugby Club will be as youthful as ever this summer thanks to a concerted recruiting effort.”We’ve brought a lot of new college guys in from out of state,” Goose coach Peter Clarke said prior to Sunday’s internal scrimmage. “We wanted most of the team to be based in Breckenridge instead of relying on guys from the Front Range. And we wanted a squad of 25-30 instead of 15-20.”Clarke, who co-coached the Goose last season (with now-treasurer Peter Shafroth) was determined to bolster the squad’s roster, so he sent an email out to college coaches across the country offering to help arrange both employment and accommodations for interested players.James Rehkopf of Louisiana State University is one of about 10 young ruggers who answered the call. He said it wasn’t hard to decide on a summer in the High Country once he learned of the opportunity. “That’s the main thing I love about rugby,” Rehkopf said. “You can get out with a team and go anywhere.”The new recruits seem to be a welcome addition to the local rugby club, which is rich with heritage.”They’re fitting in,” second-year player John Waddick said of Rehkopf and company. “Pretty much anybody can fit in with a rugby club. … (We’re) a bunch of idiots.”Clarke said many of the rookies have forestry jobs.”We’re felling trees,” Rehkopf said. “And hauling 50-to-100-pound logs down a mountain. It’s a pain in the (butt). I’ve never worked that hard before in my life.”Both hard work and concentration will be required on everyone’s part for the Blue Goose to become a well-oiled machine in time for its season opener, at home against Aspen, on June 7.”We’ve got a very short period of time to try to get these new guys bedded in,” Clarke remarked.In addition to assimilating an influx of new personnel, Goose members are also trying to get their minds around a litany of rule changes handed down by the International Rugby Board (IRB).”The idea behind the changes is to speed up the game,” Clarke said. “It’s meant to create less set-piece rugby and to make the game more fluid.”Things should run smoothly once the experimental law variations (ELVs) are fully understood by the Goose and everyone else in the Mountain League.For now though, there seems be a bit of resistance.”I’m the mountain rep,” team veteran Ron Reyes said. “When I sent out the email to Aspen, Vail, Steamboat, Glenwood and Crested Butte, they were all like, ‘What the hell is all this?’ It’s change – people get disgruntled about stuff like that.”The Goose, which won its fourth consecutive St. Valentine’s Massacre Tournament in February, will try to improve on last summer’s record of 6-7.Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at email@example.com.
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