The Denver Barbarians are into the national DI club semis after dispatching OMBAC 45-27.
Playing against the wind at Spring Trail Park in Irving, Texas in the first half, Denver did a superb job to control possession, and, while they were down 15-12 at halftime, coach Karl Savimaki liked his team’s chances.
“It was probably a 15- to 20-point breeze, and to be down only three points at halftime, we were very happy,” said Savimaki. “The message at halftime was the smart rugby team will win this match, and the guys played really smart rugby.”
A solid performance n the lineouts helped the Barbarians keep control of the game and pull away in second half.
Jake Humphrey and Kyle Hitt were superb in the midfield, especially on defense, while the Barbarians gave Brendan Shea and Landon Peterson player of the game for their combined effort – Shea as starter and Peterson as sub at blindside flanker.
Ball retention was a key for Denver all weekend, said Savimaki, but they also made smart tactical decisions. They chose to go against the wind on Sunday, in part because they were so successful going against the wind on Saturday. Despite having a very good goalkicker in Max de Achaval, Denver opted to kick to the corner when they got penalties against the breeze, and that served, at the very least, to keep OMBAC pinned in their own 22.
In the second half, Hitt continued his scoring with a nicely-taken try, and scrumhalf Tyson Meek finished off a nifty 8-9 move to score, and Denver pulled away.