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The Denver Barbarians moved to 3-3 with another sterling defensive performance as they beat Belmont Shore 18-13 Saturday in Glendale, Colo.
Two weeks in a row, now, the Barbarians have hosted teams with fancy records (SFGG 4-0 and Belmont Shore 3-1) and held the opposing team to one try, and won.
Denver played a lot of defense, especially in the first half, absorbing some powerful Belmont Shore runs.
"They have some big guys and they offload really well, and we needed to make some adjustments on our tackling," said Denver captain Logan Collins. "The entire game required us to adapt."
Belmont Shore took an early lead when Geoff Pound slotted a penalty. Pound added another later to make it 6-0, before Denver fullback Max de Achaval slid through a gap to score the first try of the day.
The conversion was missed as the swirling wind at Infinity Park made not only goalkicking difficult, but all types of kicking - balls intended to stay in-field were blow into touch, and touch-finders often missed their mark.
Denver came close to scoring a second try in the first hand through Brendan Shea, but after that they did as Ata Malifa, who had a strong performance defensively at center, raced in for a try.
Belmont Shore hooker Mike Sweet's try put Belmont Shore ahead 13-10 (with Pound's conversion) at halftime.
In the second half, Denver did a superb job slowing the ball down in the breakdown, and tackled better. De Achaval whacked over a long-range penalty goal to tie the game, and then with under 20 minutes to go, wing Mike Garrity broke through and beat five defenders on a long-range try to put the Barbos ahead to stay 18-13.
"We had difficulties in the ruck," said Belmont Shore Head Coach Ray Egan. "Defensively we were going in too high and we fell off too many tackles. But we controlled a lot of the game, we just weren't able to score on our opportunities, and when Denver did get opportunities, they scored."
Egan said it was a frustrating day for Belmont Shore - "we are happy with 80% of the game, but that 20% hurt us," he said.
Meanwhile, Collin said Denver will take these low-scoring victories.
"I think we have the best backline in the country, and we certainly have the talent to score and open it up," Collins told RUGBYMag.com. "But if we're winning games on our defense, that's fine, I'll take that."
Denver Barbarians 18
Tries: de Achaval, Malifa, Garrity
Pens: de Achaval
Belmont Shore 13
Pens: Pound 2