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The Denver Barbarians struggled to a 10-0 win over the Kansas City Blues Saturday at Swope Park in Kansas City, Mo. The game was played in the heart of a thick snowfall, with flakes growing larger and accumulating throughout the contest.
The Barbos drew first blood midway through the opening half when Maximo DeAachaval slotted a penalty kick, putting Denver on top 3-0.
The entire game was filled with knock-ons, scrums, mishandles and slipped-up ball carriers. Weather forced both teams to kick for territory, rather than run for it, and the Barbos were able to chase and pressurize the opposition better than Kansas City.
“This isn’t our first game we’ve played in the snow and the ice, and when it’s sloppy I think the more physical team comes out on top,” said Denver No. 7 Logan Collins.
“We knew it had to be like that in the breakdown and the scrums. We struggled in the lineouts, but in a game like this, we knew the technical things were going to go by the wayside. You’ve just got to be more physical.”
The game’s lone try exemplified Denver’s superior ability to adjust to Kansas City’s mistakes. Blues scrumhalf Casey Cummings dropped the ball when pulling it from the ruck, a Barbarian fly hacked it down the field, and Blues wing Kenny Scott bobbled the pick-up multiple times.
Collins sprinted right at Scott and and blew him off the ball, giving the Barbos possession inside the Blues 10 and leading to the score. DeAachaval converted, putting Denver up 10-0.
“We were kind of thinking if we could play this game in their half we were going to come out on top,” said Collins. “We get a chance to bang it down there, as long as we get a good chase, we know it’s going to be tough for them to play the ball in their half.”
The Blues had their chances to score, multiple times. Flyhalf Kelly Mercer took a shot at goal and missed. Kansas City was awarded a penalty deep in the attacking end, and KC fullback Ed Mills quick-tapped and dished to a teammate who had nothing but space in front of him, but the catch was knocked.
The Blues had a similar opportunity in the second half, which Mills again quick-tapped, but this threat was ended by a penalty at the breakdown. Denver’s resilience with their backs against the wall played a major factor in the win.