With football season still seven months away, fans should focus their attention on the Glendale Raptors rugby team if they’re in need of watching crushing hits and fast-tempo gameplay. The team is currently 4-0 to start the season, and co-captain Chad London joined Casey Light of Mile High Sports to discuss their hot start, as well as what to expect down the road.

After finishing as champions the past two seasons in the Pacific Rugby Premiership, the Raptors are now competing in the Major Rugby Championship this season. With four straight wins, including three straight 50-point performances to start the campaign, London doesn’t feel the competition has changed too much since they changed leagues, and thinks the Raptors have done a great job of playing to their strengths, sticking with what works.

“We have a specific style of play that we’ve always tried to obtain,” said London. “It’s just been something that we’ve always done since I’ve been part of the Raptors.” 

All sports teams in Colorado know the biggest advantage they have doesn’t come from a player, scheme or game plan. Altitude has always been an issue for visitors, which is why the Raptors direct so much attention towards being in better shape than their opposition, capitalizing off the opponent’s fatigue and blowing them out late in games.

“First of all, we’ve been working quite a lot on our fitness. We’ve been trying to blow teams away in the second half. As you know, with the altitude, that kind of plays into our favor,” said London.

With long-time Raptors strength and conditioning coach Dave Williams being named head coach for the current season last November, some may be surprised by the Raptors’ dominant start thus far. London and his teammates feel the transition was very smooth, and have nothing but good things to say about their coach.

“It’s actually been really great. All the boys on the team respect him, have a lot of good things to say about him.”

The popularity of rugby is rapidly growing in America, and the Glendale Raptors and their world-class facility, Infinity Park, have a lot to do with it. Another step has been taken towards bringing rugby to the top of American sport popularity, as the Raptors, along with other teams across the country, now have some players making rugby their full-time jobs; dedicating themselves fully to the game.

“It just allows the guys not to worry about all those extra things, like paying rent and finding jobs and things like that, it just allows them to focus solely on playing rugby and get better at playing rugby,” said London.

The Raptors must keep their foot on the gas headed into their next game against Rugby Utah, who were the USA Rugby Club 7s National Champions last season. London expects it to be a fast-paced, physical game with potential for a lot of scoring, stating “a lot of teams that come out of Utah are always very big and physical.”

The two will face off at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 3 p.m.

Listen to the full interview with Chad London, including his thoughts on his time with the Denver Stampede, in the podcast below.

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Image courtesy of the Glendale Raptors/Twitter