Old Puget Sound Beach put to rest any concerns that they weren't a high-scoring, try-making machine with a devastating 74-22 defeat of the Denver Barbarians in Denver Saturday.
Denver played a spirited game and actually early on seemed to have the better of possession. But, as happened all day, they took many phases and a lot of work to get into the OPSB end, and Beach, at any time, could score from anywhere.
The Barbarians began the game on the front foot, testing the OPSB defense and forcing a couple of penalties. But rather than use Max de Achaval's effective goalkicking boot, Denver opted for the lineout, and the Beach defense did the job.
On one such attack, OPSB turned the ball over, and earned a couple of penalties for themselves. From an attacking lineout, the Beach backs ran a nice scissor move that put center Alipate Tuilevuka in under the posts.
Up 7-0, OPSB exerted good pressure on defense, forcing a Denver player into a back clearance that fell at the feet of prop Oliver Kilifi, and he thunder over from short range.
Beach made it 21-0 soon thereafter. Some excellent counter-attacking with Fili Botitu and Mike Palefau pushed the ball down the left side, and then Beach spun the ball right where wing Miles Craigwell was only too happy to take the pass from No. 8 Matt Trouville, and score. 21-0.
Denver got their first try of the game after forcing a penalty and working the phases, Hunter Leland went in at the corner.
But from the restart, Tuilevuka capped off a lightning-quick reply from the Seattle club. 28-5.
Craigwell, whose defense was exposed when Leland scored, showed he can tackle in making a try-saving stop in the corner. From there Beach countered and send the ball nicely through the hands, eventually to the speedy Botitu, who cantered in easily. 35-5.
That made it halftime. Denver came out aggressively in the second half, up a man due to a yellow card, and scored quickly through the phases - their forwards much more effective at making ground than their backs.
Craigwell raced in for another right after, and then a turnover in the Denver end got lock Albert Jenkins going, and then flanker Andrew Durutalo picked up from the base of the ruck and ran in virtually untouched to give OPSB another score. 47-12.
A long series of pushes at the line got another try for Denver, and then a nasty moment, as OPSB fullback Mike Palefau and Denver center Zach Makavilitgia got into a bit of a scrap. Both got a talking to and a yellow card. More space on the field for Beach.
And they took it. Turnover ball allowed scrumhalf Emosi Vucago to run in, and then a well-worked set move from a lineout opened the door for Botitu.
Superb ball-handling skills marked the next try. Palefau, back on the field, flipped the ball seamlessly out to Craigwell, who ran 50 meters before being stopped. No matter, smart passing and unselfish play put Nolan Allen in at the corner. 62-17.
Lock Jon Poynter capped off a series of surges by the Denver forwards to give the Barbarians the four-try bonus points, but OPSB had the last say, with another try and then one from Nic Hawkins capping off a superb performance.
Beach's defense was very solid. They were a little vulnerable in tight, but blitzed well and forced the Denver attack into mistakes. They were also patient, and their ball-handling on offense was outstanding - almost every player ran with the ball in two hands, ready to pass, and secure in the knowledge that an excellent runner of the ball was nearby.
Unsung for OPSB was probably their front row, and blindside flanker Kellen Gordon, who kept the attacks moving.
Tries: Tuilevuka 2, Kilifi, Craigwell 2, Botitu 2, Durutalo, Vucago, Allen, Hawkins, Other
Convs: Armstrong 6, Trouville
Tries: Leland, Other, Other, Poynter
Convs: de Achaval