Ruck the Trend

International rugby finds a home on the Front Range.

Ever since Glendale decided to buff up its image by building the first rugby stadium in the nation, the rough-and-tumble sport has gotten new respect in these parts — so much so that the 2009 Churchill Cup, North America’s premier match-up, will take place here this month, with preliminary matches at Glendale’s Infinity Park and the finals at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. And even if you don’t know anything about rugby, you should know that this is a big deal.

“Rugby is a sport with a huge international profile that hasn’t necessarily caught on in the U.S.; there are not a lot of cities here that you could call ‘Rugby Town, USA,’” notes Sue Baldwin of the Denver Sports Commission. “But in terms of total sports viewership worldwide, the FIFA World Cup comes in first, the Olympics second, and the Rugby World Cup is number three. We see this as an opportunity for Denver to gain a foothold in an international sport.”

The Churchill Cup begins today with matches at 2 and 4:30 p.m. at Infinity Park, 4599 East Tennessee Avenue; play continues with an all-star roster of teams from around the rugby-playing world on June 10 and 14 in Glendale, and the final triple-header will be at Dick’s on June 21. Tickets range in price from $15 to $100 for pool play and $20 to $125 for the finals; for more information and reservations, go to www.denversports.org.
Sat., June 6, 2 & 4:30 p.m., 2009

 
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