Goose opens season with sevens tournament |

Goose opens season with sevens tournament

BRECKENRIDGE – The Gentlemen of the Blue Goose Rugby Club is not built for the seven-man game. It’s strength is power, not the speed and quickness that is rewarded at a sevens tournament.

So it was neither a surprise nor a major disappointment for the Goose to manage just one try in three losses Saturday while hosting the Mountain 7s Tournament at Kingdom Park.

“This is not our game at all,” said Goose coach Peter Shafroth. “We knew going in that our chances of doing well were minimal because we’re playing against several teams that have a lot of sevens experience.”

Six teams competed: two from Denver, two from Boulder and the mountain teams of Vail and Breck’s Blue Goose. Colorado State and the Denver Highlanders were no-shows.

Boulder A and the Denver Barbarians A met in the final game, and the Barbos came away with a 26-10 win.

The Front Range teams get together every week during the summer for sevens practice in Denver. The Blue Goose, on the other hand, is focused on its upcoming schedule of 15-man games.

Not only was the Goose playing a form of rugby it’s not used to in its season-opener, it also was breaking in some rugby rookies.

“Today we had probably six new players who have never even played rugby before,” Shafroth said. “And although (sevens) is a simpler game to play, it’s a much harder game to teach.

“I was just glad to get the people that haven’t played any rugby before a chance to play on a simpler level. I think now they’ll have a greater understanding of 15s, which is the game we play.”

This is a big week for the Goose as the first of its imported player/coaches from England – Nick Bridge – arrives in Breckenridge. A second player/coach, Andrew Hulbert, will arrive later in June. Shafroth will maintain his duties as game-day coach, but the Britons will run practice and coach from the field.

“They’re really going to start working us, hopefully,” said club president Buck Goroski.

Blue Goose treasurer Tom Begley scored the team’s only try Saturday during a 41-5 loss to the Barbarians B team. The Goose opened with a 36-0 loss to Boulder A and finished with a 30-0 loss to Vail.

Vail and Breck will have a rematch, this time at 15 per side, next Saturday at Kingdom Park.

“They’re our closest competitor, and they’re not going to be as strong this year,” Shafroth said. “It’s a game that we feel we can be competitive in.”

Barth, Bercuk travelling with national team

Suzanna Barth will play, and Sue Bercuk will keep players healthy when the U.S. Women’s National Rugby Team travels to Vancouver, British Columbia, for the Churchill Cup starting June 13.

This will be the first “test” game for Barth, a Summit Countian who has been on the national team for more than a year. That means it’s her first action against another country’s top team. The Americans will play Canada and England at the two-week tournament. In between weekend games, the teams will train and conduct kids’ clinics.

Bercuk, of Breckenridge Chiropractic, is the team’s physician. She has been a high-level men’s and women’s rugby physician for several years.

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