Hopes hang on game of the week

Monday August 21, 2017 Written by Published in Rugby Union

With only three weeks left in the Rarotonga rugby XVs tournament, an ill-timed loss could sink one team’s playoff hopes.

 

The Bond Store game of the week will be hosted by Ngatangiia/ Matavera who have invited the Takuvaine Reds into their domain.

Both teams have been struggling for form lately, as each are coming off back-to-back losses.

The Reds however, should feel good about themselves going into this game as they had a strong second half against Avatiu/Nikao two weeks ago that was carried into last week’s game against the top-ranked Tupapa Panthers. Takuvaine lost 33-31 on a last-minute penalty goal.

The Dragons on the other hand, were beaten by almost 50 points two weeks ago against Tupapa, and struggled in their match up last week in their 28-17 loss to the Titikaveka Bulls, though their home advantage should not be discounted.

If they are to claim a victory in front of their home fans, the Dragons will need another big performance from their powerful front rowers Steven Rani and Willie Kauvai Jnr, who have stood out in spite of what the scoreboard has shown.

Should they provide a stout platform and contest strongly at the ruck, which could draw in extra Reds forwards, backs such as Mark Tuaati will look to exploit a backline that will be lacking support in defence.

Ngatangiia/Matavera must be mindful that as the Reds have shown over the past two weeks, they are a 23-man team that will contest the entire 80 minutes.

Each sub is not simply a number but a hugely important contributor, and the impact from the reserves are one of the key reasons why Takuvaine tend not to fade in games.

In the other games, Avatiu/Nikao Eels will host the Titikaveka Bulls at The Swamp and the Arorangi Cowboys will hope to be the first side to topple the Tupapa Panthers this year, in Arorangi.

Since their first loss of the season to Tupapa back in July, the Eels have been in good form as they have scored eight tries in the past two games.

Their backs have a tremendous mix of size and skill that their opposition have struggled to contain, so look for the Bulls to try to limit the quality of the ball upfront.

While they are lethal on the counter-attack, the Avatiu/Nikao have occasionally been sloppy with basic errors, and their mind-lapses have put them under the pump at times.

Should the Bulls kick tactically, have great line speed and attack the ball carrier with strong tackling to force mistakes, they should be in for a shot - though that is all easier said than done.

Last but not least, the Arorangi Cowboys are confronted with the most difficult match of day as they host the potent Panthers.

The Cowboys were strong last week in their 21-10 loss to the Eels, as the scoreboard did not reflect the territory and possession they had in the game.

Unfortunately, they were let down by inopportune mistakes and tough penalties whenever they seemed close to a scoring opportunity.

They were also a bit loose with their kicking and their fringe defence, which are areas that Tupapa can be devastating in, so that is another area the Cowboys will need to pay close attention to.

One area in which the Cowboys may have an advantage is the lineout, as the Panthers star lock James Kora is overseas.

Their lineout star, who also features in the national team, will be an irreplaceable hole in their line-up.     - CL

Saturday 19th August 2017

Venue: Arorangi Field

Arorangi Cowboys vs. Tupapa Panthers

04.00pm: Senior A - Referee: Tua Ngaputa, assistant referee: Dawn Crummer and Kora Kora

Venue: Avatiu Field

Avatiu /Nikao Eels vs. Titikaveka Bulls 

04.00pm: Senior A - Referee: Pare Rongokea, assistant referees: William Taripo and Tavake Manuel

Venue: Ngatangiia Field - The Bond Store - Game Of The Week

Ngatangiia / Matavera Dragons vs. Takuvaine Reds

12.30pm: 6 – 12yrs: “Get into Rugby” Programme – All Clubs (boys & girls) are welcome to attend. Bus transport will be provided and there will be a sausage sizzle afterwards.

02.30pm:  U13 - referee: Club officials    

03.00pm: Under 19 - Ref: Paul Allsworth, assistant referees: Simiona Teiotu and Ben Koteka

04.00pm: Senior A - Refs: Peter Godfrey, assistant referees: Ben Koteka and Paul Allsworth

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