Englishman completes coaching staff for Blue Goose rugby club
BRECKENRIDGE – Nick Bridge handed in his resignation, hopped a plane to Colorado and landed with the Gentlemen of the Blue Goose Rugby Club last week.
His arrival completes the Goose’s coaching triad with fellow Englishman Andrew Hulbert and local hotelier Peter Shafroth. Bridge’s responsibility will be coaching the backs, where most of the club’s inexperience lies.
For a semiprofessional player from England, working with the neophytes and football converts on the team can be a challenge.
“It’s difficult for myself and Andy at times because we expect people to have those basic skills,” said Bridge, who quit his teaching job in England to move to Breck indefinitely. “You’ve got to get it into your head that people might have only started playing a couple weeks ago … But the guys here seem to pick it up really quickly.”
It’s that eagerness to learn and the general cohesiveness of the team that helped convince Bridge and Hulbert, who are friends at home, to return to Breckenridge for their second summer. Last year, they were just players under departed coach Owen Rutledge.
“There’s definitely good team spirit, and it comes down from the older guys who have been here a while,” Bridge said. “And that’s what rugby is about.”
The Blue Goose was overmatched in Bridge’s first game with team – a 35-11 loss to Glenwood Springs at Kingdom Park on Saturday.
“They took us apart in the second half,” Shafroth said. “They outmuscled us.”
Shafroth works with the forwards and is the game-day coach from the sidelines. He’s thrilled to have a complete staff and another experienced coach on the field during games.
“He’s played some pretty high-level rugby, and, like (Hulbert), he brings a ton of experience to the team,” Shafroth said. “It’s going to be really helpful to us, particularly in the backs, because that’s where we’ve been somewhat weak … He can actually talk to them during the game and make minor adjustments.”
The Blue Goose came away from the early part of its season with a 2-2 record. To this point, all of its games have been in Breckenridge. Now it’s time to transition to tournament mode. The team will return to action after taking this weekend off with the Cowpie Tournament July 12 in Steamboat Springs. After that will be the Ski Town Tournament July 19 in Glenwood Springs.
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at email@example.com.
Rowe traveling with U.S. development team
BRECKENRIDGE – Former Blue Goose Club president Doug Rowe, now living in Denver, will travel to Moscow July 19 with the U.S. development rugby team for a game against the Russian national team.
It will be a test for Rowe in his continuing quest to make the U.S. national team.
“It’s the opportunity to try to prove myself to get onto the full test team,” Rowe said. The test team is the highest American side.
Rowe played his first game with the development side last year and admitted to being a bit overwhelmed. The development team only gets together once a year, so chances to impress national team coaches are scarce.
“I feel like I’ll be much more confident this time around,” he said.
Rowe is playing in Denver with the Denver Barbarians but still follows the exploits of the Gentlemen of the Blue Goose.
“I follow them as much as I can and find out their scores each week,” he said.
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