Eels look sharp in Sevens

Monday June 12, 2017 Written by Published in Rugby Union
Avatiu Eels defenders close in on Vatu Sika of the Bulls on day one of the Steinlager Sevens on Saturday. Eels won 22-5. 17061112 Avatiu Eels defenders close in on Vatu Sika of the Bulls on day one of the Steinlager Sevens on Saturday. Eels won 22-5. 17061112

Despite being a team down, the opening round of the Steinlager Sevens series got off to a spirited start at the Happy Valley Field in Takuvaine on Saturday.

 

Tupapa Panthers failed to turn up for the tournament, leaving it with only five teams to compete.

Earlier, Atiu pulled out which forced the Cook Islands Rugby Union to pull Mitiaro out to make the tournament even – three teams in two pools.

But the no show from the Panthers forced two default wins in Pool B which also had Takuvaine Reds and Ngatangiia/Matavera Dragons.

Avatiu Eels which is the top seed in Pool A started its campaign on a high with wins in their pool games.

In their opening match, the defending champions defeated Arorangi Cowboys 12-10 before overcoming Titikaveka Bulls 22-5.

Bulls defeated Cowboys 12-7 in the other Pool A match.

In the only Pool B match, Takuvaine Reds thumped the Dragons 31-5.

“Last year local Sevens champions the Avatiu Eels are shaping as the team to beat,” Cook Islands Rugby Union chief executive officer Ben Koteka said.

“With speed merchants Samu ‘Mr Bean” Alafua and John Penu, the Eels have two of the quickest players at this tournament and they were regulars on the scorecard.”

Another standout player was the Reds’ winger Pau Laupama, who scored a hat-trick of tries against the Dragons.

“Although still early days, a couple of dark-horses could be the TKV Reds and also the Titikaveka Bulls – who will be bolstered this week with the return of Cook Islands Sevens players Longo Leuta and Sailosi Nagi,” Koteka said.

CIRU was also pleased with the Dragons fielding two teams in the under-16 competition which was also supposed to have Eels, Cowboys and the Panthers.

These three teams failed to turn up for their matches on Saturday.

“Congratulations to Ngatangiia/Matavera for fielding two U16 teams – some of their standout players were utility backs; Thomas Daniel, Willie Rani and Avaiki Ama – all members of the 2016 Cook Islands Schoolboys Sevens team,” Koteka said.

The finals will be held this Saturday with the winner crowned the 2017 pre-season Steinlager Sevens champions.

            -Rashneel Kumar

Results

U16 Dragons Maroon 19 Dragons Green 0, Eels 12 Cowboys 10, TKV Reds WBD Panthers, Dragons Maroon 17 Dragons Green 12, Eels 22 Bulls 5, TKV Reds 31 Dragons 5, Dragons Maroon 5 Dragons Green 17, Bulls 12 Cowboys 7, Dragons WBD Panthers.

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