By: David Halvorson Jr.
This weekend, in-state rivals, Colorado and Colorado State, face off in their respective D1A season openers at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado. The match to be played on March 3 is a rematch of the Colorado Cup played in October where the Colorado Buffaloes came away with a 39-13 victory over the Colorado State Rams. The match kicks off at 4:00 PM MDT.
The rivalry between Colorado and Colorado State has been a fierce one as the teams have met on the pitch multiple times in the last decade. Both teams are coming off disappointing seasons last spring as they finished in the bottom half of the Men’s D1A Western Division. Naturally, each team is hoping to improve on their records from last season. What better way to begin the 2012 D1A season than against your bitter rival?
The University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University in Fort Collins are a mere 45 minutes from each other and many of the players are former teammates and for the 80 minutes of match play, former friends. The schools compete for recruits in Colorado so there is always a chance that a Ram could have easily been a Buff, vice versa. Colorado head coach, Jim Snyder, understands the widespread ramifications of this game. “The rivalry for rugby is the same as other sports: it represents in-state bragging rights, helps recruiting, and a win in this game gives the players a tremendous sense of pride.”
Colorado State prop and captain, Steve Karas, sees the rivalry match as a great opportunity for both teams. “It’s always an exciting match between CU and CSU, and you can’t hate that. To play at Infinity is such a great opportunity and to represent your school through the sport you love is an honor.”
Snyder said the Buff’s aggression from the start of the 2011 spring D1A match allowed them to gain an early advantage to propel them to a victory. “In the spring 2011 match we came out aggressive and were able to put them on their back foot. We know that CSU always has a tremendous amount of athletes and if you let them get running it could be a long day.”
The Buff’s are returning two of their scorers from last years match. Center, Brendan Cox scored two tries in their match last spring and fullback, Chris Martin also touched down a try. Erik Henry returns as the lone scorer for the Rams last year. The Rams this preseason are 1-0 with a win over University of Northern Colorado in February. The Buffs come into the match at 0-2 after losing to the Denver Barbarians and Boulder Men’s Clubs.
Undoubtedly, both teams will be coming onto the pitch with loads of aggression. As Snyder said, “The boys are not short of emotion and are amped for this game. They are playing at Infinity Park, on TV, against arguably our biggest rival. It’s going to be a heck of a ball game!”