Panthers tipped top favourite at home

Monday October 23, 2017 Written by Published in Rugby Union

Tupapa Panthers head into the second Steinlager Sevens tournament starting today at Victoria Park as the top favourites.

 

After claiming the first tournament of the series last week, the side will be unstoppable, especially at home in front of its own crowd.

The Panthers defeated Takuvaine Reds in the final of the first of the two tournaments which are being used to help prepare local clubs for the Raro Rugby Sevens next month.

The side heads Pool A with the talented Yalovata and Vikings teams.

Atiu leads Pool B which features former champions Avatiu Nikao Eels and Barbarians.

In their opening match, Panthers will take on Yalovata before playing Vikings, made up of players from Arorangi.

Cook Islands Rugby Union chief executive officer Ben Koteka said they were expecting some tough battles in the preliminary rounds.

“After last week’s finals, the Panthers will start tournament favourites this week especially when playing on their home turf.

“However, as we have seen over the past two weeks, things could change quickly especially if complacency sets in, as some of the teams have found out the hard way over the past two weeks of competition.”

Yalovata, which recorded some surprise wins in the pool play of the first tournament are likely to give the Panthers a good run for their money.

In Pool B, the Eels remain the force to reckon with against dark horses Atiu and the Barbarians.

“The Eels loom as serious contenders after finishing in a disappointing third place last week,” Koteka said.

“As the teams click into Sevens mode and start to string together their plays, some spectacular team tries are being scored as they build themselves up for the Rarotonga Rugby Sevens Tournament from November 2 to 4.”

The under-19 battle between Town and Country will also be held in between the pool plays as the youngsters prepare themselves for the upcoming international tournaments.

The U17 side will host Tahiti in a match in Rarotonga while the U15 side will compete at the Condor Sevens and U18 at the World Schools Sevens in Auckland in December.

“Once again, we say thank you to our major sponsor Steinlager and The Bond Store. Thank you for your ongoing support for local rugby,” Koteka said.

The pool matches will kick off at 2pm. Entry fee is $2 for adult and for children under-16, it’s free.  

Fixtures

1.55pm: Opening Prayer in front of the CIRU administration tent (Panthers and Yalovata to please line up in-front of the admin tent), 2pm Panthers-Yalovata, 2.20pm Atiu-Eels, 2.40pm U19 Town-U19 Country, 3pm Panthers-Vikings, 3.20pm Atiu-Barbarians, 3.40pm U19 Town-U19 Country, 4pm Yalovata-Vikings, 4.20pm Eels-Barbarians. Team Managers Meeting at CIRU admin desk straight after the last match.

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