Sunday, June 28, 2015

Denver Sevens for Barbarians

Barbarians Rule
The 2015 Denver Sevens national clubside qualifier was a green affair as Denver’s own Barbarians Rugby Club defeated an elite field Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Rugby Grounds, earning D7s championship hardware by topping Kansas City Blues in the title match. Barbos obtained their berth in the finals by besting Glendale Raptors, Black Dragons (NM) and KC Blues Bs in pool play, before defeating Omaha Goats at the knockout stage. Blues finals route went through Joe Muehlbauer’s Air Force Selects (the Zoomies 15s pilot’s son played in the D7s youth division), Barbos Bs and the Goats; the Blues Firsts were victorious in the knockout round over Glendale Raptors. In addition to the premier men’s qualifying bracket, this year’s D7s tournament featured women’s, collegiate, men’s social, girl’s high school and boy’s high school divisions comprising 45 sides in total, while the youth categories, aged 5-15, had 110 - that’s right, one hundred and ten - competitive squads on hand in the huge expanse of playing fields at Dick’s.
Barbos v Blues
The Barbarians center, Martin Iosefo, got things going the right way for Denver as unstoppable, he carried a brace of tacklers into goal for his touch down and flyhalf Max de Achaval’s two-point conversion and Denver by seven after two minutes of play.

Blues responded straightaway with Kevin Schwartz taking the restart 50 meters plus to goal and an unconverted grounding for a tightening of tallies at 7-5 for Barbos in the third minute.

Barbarians in possession and they once more penetrated the Blues defensive spread for a fiver by Iosefo as he fended to space 30 meters out, and closed quickly for a second deuce by de Achaval: 14-5 Denver midway in the half.
Denver turned ball over at breakdown and front row, Logan Collins, flippered a would-be stopper away enroute to a third Barbarians score; with de Achaval perfect from the tee, 21-5 for Denver with seven minutes in the half gone.

Barbarians would increase their advantage just before time in the period when halfback Bobby Impson crashed through the Blues defensive array from 15 meters out, to score and de Achaval for the conversion meant 28-5 Denver at referee Brian Zapp’s halftime signal.
Impson, center, ball in hand, and...

Impson and the strong fendoff 

made for Impson's crossing

Barbarians were better at breakdown, their forward trio of Jeremy Misailegalu, Ben Haapapuro and Logan Collins turned ball well and the backs (plus Collins), driven by a brilliant Max de Achaval, banged and flippered their way to a quartet of trys  in the first half.

Second stanza opened well for the Blues as forward Ken Scott punched through Denver’s defensive spread from 22 meters out and scampered, untouched, to goal for his grounding completed by halfback Mike Baska and 28-12 the sig-figs just beyond the onset of the period.

Blues drew closer still with a try by flyhalf Ed Mills, who dummied to space at Barbarians 22 and raced in for his score that, along with his own conversion, lessened the deficit to 28-19 with a few minutes remaining; all in attendance now querying: “Is this to be a KC Blues Fantastic Finish?”

However, a final try grounded by Jeremy Misailegalu made for a record of 33-19 to Denver Barbarians at Zapp’s last blast.
Denver - Try: Iosefo (2), Collins, Impson, Misailegalu; Con: de Achaval (4);
Kansas City - Try: Schwartz, Scott, Mills; Con: Baska, Mills
Match Official: Brian Zapp

Next Stop on 7s National Qualifying Tour: KC in a Fortnight

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