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Saturday August 29, 2020 Written by Published in Rugby Union

Defending champions Tupapa Panthers eye top finish in local rugby union competition.

The final round of the Rarotonga Club 15s competition today will serve as a double-header.

Raemaru Park will first host Avatiu Nikao Eels versus Takitumu match before hosts Arorangi Cowboys takes on defending champions Tupapa Panthers.

Competition coordinator Ben Koteka says whoever wins today will also win the postponed round three match. The round three Senior A matches at Nukupure Park earlier this month were postponed due to bereavement.

Regardless of today’s results, the Panthers and the Cowboys are set to finish in the top two.

The unbeaten Panthers have amassed 19 points from four matches followed by the Cowboys, who have three wins and a loss, on 15 points.

The Eels with only a win have seven points while winless Takitumu are at the bottom of the table on four points.

Hosts Cowboys will need a massive win against the Panthers today to topple them off top of the table.

In the first Senior A match, the Eels will be hoping to finish the round robin competition on a high against the minnows Takitumu.

Ben Koteka said: “This will be the first time that these two teams will meet this season and this will be a good opportunity for either team to improve their final points tally.”

Takitumu have lots of potential but are still developing as a team, Koteka said.

“They seem to play in 40-minute burst and then run out of steam. If only they could play for the full 80 minutes then they could surprise even themselves this weekend.”

Although they have been competitive all season, the Eels have suffered defeat in their last three matches “so they will want to win well this week in preparation for the semi-finals next weekend”
Takitumu will be led by their utility forwards Tereinga Henry and Ngamata Miriau and rookie winger Tomasi Bikaka while the Eels will rely on rookie forwards Aden Kapi, Arona Ngari Jr and Joshua Caffery.  

In the match of the round, the Panthers will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten run heading into the semis.,

After last week’s 35-22 victory against the Eels, the Panthers played with cohesion, their forwards laying the foundation for their X-factor backline to score some excellent team tries.

Koteka said although the Cowboys have played well and sitting in second place on the points table, they have been inconsistent at times.

“If the Cowboys are to defeat the Panthers then an 80-minute effort from all their players will be required this weekend.”
Rob Heather Jr and Tanire Mokoroa will lead the Cowboys’ forward pack with the objective to dominate and disrupt any quality Panthers ball.

The Panthers will rely on their brilliant backline led by Viiga Ruepena and Peter Marsters.    

Fixtures

Arorangi Field – 11.00am: Juniors U10, U12 & U14s – Quick Rip, half & full field (Refs: Club Officials), 12.20pm: U16 Rugby 10s Town-Country (Refs: Ben Koteka, Assist. Ref: Club Officials), 1.10pm: U19 Rugby 15s Town-Country (Refs: Paul Allsworth, Assist. Club Officials), 2.30pm: Senior A       Takitumu-Avatiu/Nikao Eels (Refs: Peter Godfrey, Assist. Ref: Dawn Crummer/William Taripo), 4pm: Senior A Arorangi Cowboys-Tupapa Panthers (Refs: Teokotai Tuaivi Jr, Assist. Ref: Tua Ngaputa/Paul Peyroux. Sub Bench: Cathy Peyroux/Simiona Teiotu). Gate entry: Adults: $3. U16: Free

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