Sunday, April 16, 2017

MD-2: Denver Barbarians v Provo Steelers

Denver Barbarians v Provo Steelers
Warm with a swirling, vagrant wind that would affect handling somewhat, beneath partial clouds on Infinity’s StoveTop turf pitch for the clash between numbers two and three on the league table. Provo Steelers were coming off five-point victory over Boulder Rugby earlier in the RugbyDay that had gained the Men of Steel show position in the standings, one point in front of their Utah brethren, Park City Haggis; Denver’s last result was a stirring, 10-point win over league-leading and formerly unbeaten Glendale Raptors down the Kettle last weekend.

Provo scrumhalf, Filivalea Mafoa, prepares to distribute the wonscrum

Provo commencement kickoff one bounce into touch and Barbarians lineout 25 meters from their own goal; toss tapped to scrumhalf, CSU-alum Carmine Hernandez, who distributed smoothly to pivot, Chuck Ajarrista. The 10’s skip-pass to outside center and former Oklahoma University standout, Michael Al-Jiboori, enabled that 13’s fend to space and subsequent 75-meter dash to goal for the opening touch down-made-seven by Ajarrista, and it was 7-0 Barbos in the second minute.  

Steelers responded by wresting the turnover after restart when 8man Viliami Vi stripped ball and Provo were on the march in brief, powerful pick-and-goes from tackle past their ten-meter line until knock-on reversed possession. Denver replied with wonscrum and jagged tears into the mid-channels by their centers until ball spilled forward at tackle gave the set piece put to the travelers in the spirited, physical early goings.

Ajarrista stretched the Denver advantage to 10 points with a sticksplitter from outside the left post, 18 meters out in the 12th minute: Barbarians 10, Steelers 0 just then.

A Barbarians territorial kick ran through goal and action brought back inside the Denver 10-meter line for a set piece scrum, Provo put. That won, Steelers began to work their pattern with close communication between the forwards inching the action toward the Barbos 22 before the attempt to go wide taken by a demon burst of wind into touch and possession reversed.

Barbarians lineout win close in 

Denver hooker and USA Rugby MD-1 National Clubside Champion with Las Vegas Blackjacks, Ron Tufele, grounded a fiver to extend the Barbarians lead to 15 and wing Amani Griffith (Rocky Mountain Challenge All Star) and inside center Eric Sykes Jr. (New Mexico Highlands graduate) dotted for Ajarrista’s conversions to close out the half; 29-0 for homeboys at referee Stu Geiger’s midpoint signal.

Barbos looked sharp through the first forty, while Provo seemed to be struggling under the short turnaround between their double-tap fixture schedule this day, and the mad wind made hash of each XVs movements on occasion.

The home side would hit the half-century mark on a trio of further groundings by: Ajarrista, number 2 Jason Christensen and replacement wing, Dominic Rufran (University of Wyoming prominent).

Provo Steelers got theirs just before time when tighthead prop, Siosiua Taufa, battered his way through the Barbarians defense at the hosts ten-meter line and brought play into the 22 where a penalty was assessed for Denver hands-in at breakdown. Tap-and-go and fierce battle closeby goal as Barbarians defense sought containment while visiting horde looked to finally breach. And it was Taufa once more who forced the path to the try zone and dotted down for the grounding that made the record 50-5 for Denver at Geiger’s last blast.

                Denver – Try: Al-Jiboori, Tufele, Griffith, Eric Sykes Jr., Ajarrista, Christensen, Ruffran; Con: Ajarrista (6); Pen: Ajarrista;
                Provo – Try: Taufa
Match Officials: Stu Geiger (Referee); Paul Johnston, John Kenney (RAs)

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