Eels win in slippery conditions

Monday August 07, 2017 Written by Published in Rugby Union

Avatiu/Nikao Eels defeated Takuvaine Reds 33-17 on Saturday after a commanding first half performance where they scored 19 unanswered points.

 

However, the visiting team did seem to relax slightly after scoring again in the second half to lead 26-0, allowing Takuvaine to make the scoreboard look somewhat respectable.

It was a well-deserved win for the Eels, whose unbeaten streak ended two weeks ago, though the tough conditions also proved to be a tough opponent.

The ground was soaked from the previous day, so much of play in the centre of the field was scrappy, leading to a higher number of errors.

Adapting to the conditions best were the Eels, and as the forwards gained dominance, their dangerous backs began to take advantage of the front foot ball.

Proving to be most dangerous were the back three, as the pace and skill of wingers Samu Alafua and Sirla Pera and fullback John Penu began creating havoc out wide, and especially on the counter-attack.

Takuvaine did not help their cause by at times aimlessly kicking the ball away, giving the dangerous attackers time and space to size up their options and link up with team mates.

The Eels midfield was also very effective, constantly battering their opponents and breaking the line as the Reds had to assign two or three players to halt their momentum.

Takuvaine did have a number of chances late in the first half, but excellent wide defence prevented them from crossing the line.

Unable to breach the front line Eels defence, the home side resorted to a number of “chip and chase” attempts, most of which proved to be ineffective, until a collision of two Avatiu/Nikao players led to a well-deserved Reds try.

Credit also belongs to many of the players who participated in Friday’s test match and backed up for their club the next day.

Eels coach Teokotai Tuaiui said after the game that he was happy with the result, though work still needed to be done in the ruck, which he believed was the most important part of the game.

“It’s all about the ruck. We did well today, but there is still work that we need to do in that area.

“It is about mentality, wanting to win the ball and in that area, it was a big improvement from last week. If we keep it up, we’ll have a great chance of making the top four.”

Takuvaine coach King Tou emphasised the need for his players to turn up to training, as that was the only way that they could improve as a team, he said.

            - Conor Leathley

AVATIU EELS: 33   Tries: Samu Alafua(2), Tua Ravula, Junior Kiriau, Tama Nicholas   Conv: Junior Kiriau (4)

TAKUVAINE REDS: 17  Tries: Mana Havi, Vaike Potoru, Viiga Reupena. Conv: Vase Samania

 

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