Right from the get go the home side were in vintage form, as their slick backs and organised formations proved too much for the Barbarians in the opening match, as they won 15-5.
In the final however, the ultimate rugby cliché, “a game of two halves”, rang true.
The Eels went into the halftime break with a handy 12-nil lead after tries to midfielder Vahe Leki, and an impressive long-range 80-meter team try scored by their speedster John Penu.
However, the Panthers finished stronger by scoring 19 unanswered points in the second half, a brace of tries scored by their flyer Kave Mocedike and one try to pivot Mosese Naliva, with two conversions kicked by Othneil Joseph.
The Panthers have now won both finals for this year’s Steinlager 7s circuit, which has run over the past four Saturdays of October.
While the Eels would be disappointed, the final against the Panthers was actually their first match of the day, as their opponents in the first game, Yalovata, were unable to field a team due to injuries, meaning the Eels won by default.
That was a disappointing outcome for Yalovata, as they actually defeated Tupapa quite handily in their match last week 21-10.
In the other day’s matches, the Vikings came out firing on all cylinders in their first match against Atiu, as they romped to a 39-0 win.
Unfortunately, in the bronze match, they failed to score a point against the Barbarians, who won a convincing 22-0 victory.
And just as last week, the U17 Cook Islands squad and the U19 Barbarians fought to a stalemate.
In the first match, the Barbarians just eked out a 12-10 win, but the Cook Islands squad rebounded strongly in the second match, winning 24-5.
Today from midday to 2pm, teams can come and pick up tips, techniques, drills and ball skills training ideas from On Point Athlete Management’s Deon Smith, and Super 18 Rookie Pita Gus.
The clinic will be held at the CIRU Offices.
1st: Panthers, 2nd: Eels, 3rd: Barbarians, 4th: Yalovata, 5th: Atiu, 6th: Vikings.