Week 8 of the Pacific Rugby Premiership.
By Marco Cummings
The Glendale Raptors will look to extend their unbeaten streak to six games this Saturday when they take on crosstown rivals, the Denver Barbarians (Barbos) at Infinity Park.
“Playing the Barbos is always an interesting game,” Raptors head coach Andre Snyman said of the upcoming match. “It’s a local derby so everyone gets amped up and excited about it.”
Glendale will not only look to retain an unblemished record in Pacific Rugby Premiership (PRP) play, but also its foothold at the top of the league table. Meanwhile, fresh off of a convincing 36-27 win over the Santa Monica Dolphins last weekend, Denver will be poised to maintain momentum against their crosstown rivals.
“We’ve got to be careful, because they are a dangerous team. They’ve got some quality players that can score tries.”
One of those players is Michael Al-Jiboori. The outside center broke through for a hat trick in the Barbos’ win over Santa Monica.
“He’s a good strike runner,” Snyman said of Al-Jiboori. “He can cause some damage if you’re not on top of your game.”
In addition to scoring tries, Barbos fly half Maximo DeAchaval has proven to be a threat in the kicking game
“If you aren’t disciplined against them and give away too many penalties [DeAchaval] can kick points,” Snyman warned.
Fresh off of their own 63-7 result against Belmont Shore last week, Glendale is riding its own wave of momentum. Nevertheless, it’s been about focusing on the basics and not becoming complacent.
“We’ve worked on our handling this week to try to eliminate the turnovers,” Snyman said of the prep work the Raptors have put in this week. “We’re trying to work on ball retention in all phases. Hopefully there will be gaps in the defense. We’ve also been working on speed of play, we’d like to increase the intensity.”
But regardless of preparation, a rivalry game like this one is always hard to predict, because no matter what the standings are, both teams come to play.
“For some reason this game always brings out the best in the players,” Snyman concluded. “We can’t look at their track record because this game is a rival game. It’s a bit of city pride, to claim who is the best team in Denver.”