As if Glendale needed the help. The Raptors opened their DI season with a 77-3 drubbing of the Denver Highlanders. That was without Ryan Chapman, the Raptor-turned-Utah Warrior No. 8 who’s exploded onto the national scene in the last several months.
Chapman’s stay in Salt Lake City is almost over, as he’s accepted a promotion that’ll land him back in the Denver area and in the blue and white horizontal stripes of Glendale.
“With a kid on the way and a family, I’ve got to do what’s best for my career, for the most part. Unfortunately, I don’t get paid to play rugby,” said Chapman.
“I accepted a promotion to come out here, and I kind of fell into the Utah Warriors thing, which was a huge development for my rugby career. 12 months ago when I got out to Utah, nobody knew who I was. That’s certainly not the case anymore a year later, but I’m getting promoted again to go back. Money certainly talks, so I’ve got to keep doing what the job wants me to do.”
27, Chapman has just broken into Eagles consideration. He was named to the 50-man pre World Cup pool after attending the domestic Eagles camp in the spring. When the roster was shaved to 36, his name was not on it. Then when the USA Selects played Glendale at Infinity Park as part of their World Cup preparation, Chapman made enough of an impression to be invited back into the fold. He was let go in the final cut.
It appears Chapman, a big, mobile athlete, has firmly planted himself on the Eagles' radar. Moving to a club outside of the Super League means his game film may not be immediately available for the USA coaching staff, but moving to Glendale means he’ll be a lot closer for in-person evaluation and instruction.
It also means he gets to enjoy the professional setup at Infinity Park.
“If I was in a position and I wasn’t working and I just wanted to be playing for a class club, I’d have a much harder decision on my hands, because the Utah Warriors is obviously a sweet organization that’s been very good to me,” he said.
“But Glendale is where I played all my club rugby basically, except for this last year, so I’ll fit right back in going there. Having a chiropractor and having ice tubs and hot tubs and stuff like, just getting back to Glendale for that purpose alone would be nice.”
The Raptors play their second league game Saturday against the Kansas City Blues. Chapman won’t likely start as he won’t have made training this week, but he’ll bring his boots on his trip back to look for housing. He expects to be back in Denver full time within a couple of weeks.