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Los Angeles is a basketball town. Pittsburgh is a football town. Boston, well, it loves any sport. But, it turns out, there’s a Colorado town with its own designation: Glendale, Colorado isn’t just a city bordering Denver’s edge, it’s Rugbytown USA. This weekend, the reigning USA Senior Men’s Division I National Club champions will compete to defend their title in Rugby Town’s headquarters, Infinity Park.
In 2011, the Glendale Raptors beat the Olympic Rugby Club in the championship, 20-15, and the team’s success has done nothing but improve its fanbase. “Rugby doesn’t compare with baseball or football, but our facility (Infinity Park) is known as Rugbytown USA. For club rugby, we are the pioneers,” Raptors assistant coach Andre Snyman says. “We have a small community and fanbase, but they follow us very close.”
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On Saturday and Sunday, the country’s top four teams: Palmer Chiropractic College Rugby Club (Davenport, Iowa), Belmont Shore Rugby Club (Long Beach, California), and Metropolis Rugby Club (Minneapolis, Minnesota) will battle with the hometown team, Glendale RFC for the Division I National Club Championship. The top four teams from the Division II and Division III leagues will also crown a champion. The 9 a.m. Saturday start will ignite a non-stop schedule of games played nearly every hour-and-a-half until Saturday evening. Don’t miss the Division I championship on Sunday at 4 p.m. (Tickets for individual games are $10 for adults.)
Olympic Spotlight: The players on the pitch aren’t just playing for the sake of a club championship, they are gearing up for the 2016 reintroduction of rugby into the summer Olympic Games. The last time rugby was an official Olympic sport—in 1924—the United States took the gold.
—Photo courtesy of the Glendale RFC