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Tense clashes in touch semis

Wednesday May 27, 2020 Written by Published in Touch Rugby
All go in the men's and women's semifinals at Nikao field.  RONNIE SIULEPA 20052623 / 20052624 / 20052620 All go in the men's and women's semifinals at Nikao field. RONNIE SIULEPA 20052623 / 20052624 / 20052620

It was a hot action-packed afternoon for the Vodafone Touch semi-finals.

The top two men’s teams GAT and Germinators put on a display of dominance over their opposition.

Both teams ran out victors proving too strong and fast for their opponents, said Cook Islands Touch president Daphnie Brown. 

However, credit to Rakahanga and the young Team ATT, both teams managed to break the defence of these two top sides to score a try each. 

GAT won 9-1 over Rakahanga and Germinators beat Team ATT with the same scoreline.

Kicking off the Vodafone women’s semi-final games was top of the table leader Nukz Power playing against fourth-placed NIKS. On the whistle, both teams began well but it was the confident Nukz that got straight into the game by settling hard and fast to get yardage for their team.

From these good settles, touch stalwart and national captain Julz Westrupp pounced on a scrambling NIKS to slide into a gaping hole and break away from the defence at half way to get Nukz Power’s first points on the board. 

Nukz Power continued to play a good drive-forward game with excellent basics to break down and tire out the NIKS defence. 

The continuous drives from Nukz Power quickly took their toll on NIKS defence, giving way for the mighty arrows to score a few runaway tries.  Young Tashi Kopu was rewarded from her hard work to see her score a runaway try of her own.

From time to time NIKS managed to get in some good drives of their own lead by Nana Manuela to see Shar Atai set up and make the breaks for NIKS. But the ladies weren’t quite able to finish off, said Daphnie Brown. 

“The Mighty Arrows were just too slick for NIKS in the end, winning easily with 12 touch downs to NIKS 0.  Congratulations Nukz Power.”

The game of the night was an intense exhilarating nail biter between second and 3rd placed teams FBI and Bounty Hunters.  Both teams vying for a berth in next week’s grand final match.  The game went to a drop off to determine the winner.

From the kick off whistle both teams came out firing, trading a good set of 6 each.  But it was FBI that got a good roll on to the 5 metres which enabled Rima Moeka‘a to scoop and throw a long ball to FBI’s right winger, Taromi Urirau who dived in the corner to score FBI’s first try of the game. 

The match continued with both teams driving hard and trading touches not for the faint hearted. FBI led all the way and well into the second half but five minutes out from full time, a quick scoop from Bounty Hunters national rep Pare Noovao beating a retiring FBI defence saw Bounty score to bring the game to a draw of 1 all at full time.

To determine a winner the game recommenced with a drop off. Each team starting with 5 players each. A drop off takes place every 2 minutes with a player from each team leaving the field until there are 3 players left.  Each team is to have possession of the ball. The team that scores in its possession wins the game. However, it both teams score a try in each of their possession of the ball the next team that scores wins.

FBI chose a mixture of experience and speedy young guns to play the drop off.  FBI kicked off its first of six touches and scored first from good settles to the 5 meters to see young Paeru Ngaroi cross the line to score for FBI.  The pressure was on Bounty Hunters to score to keep their chance alive and FBI just needed to hold out Bounty Hunters and not let them score to win. 

By now both teams were down to three players each on the field.  Bounty Hunters started their possession of the ball and took up a couple of good settles and spotting an over-committed FBI defence, Pare Noovao used her speed to get around the FBI player to nip across the try line to level the score to a try each for both teams. 

With the drop off score at one try each the next team to score would be the winner. 

The FBI trio of Rima Moeka‘a and young guns Paeru Ngaroi and Hinnah Tatuava kicked off and drove to the 5 metres and with a quick wrap and catching the ball on her finger tips speedy Hinnah Tatuava beat her defence to place the ball on the line for FBI to win in a nail biting finish.   FBI won 3 touch downs to Bounty Hunters 2.

FBI meets Nukz Power in the grand finals and Bounty Hunters will take on NIKS for 3 and 4 placing.

TONIGHT’S MIXED TOUCH GAMES

5.00pm
Vodafone vs BSP (field 1)
007 vs Mangaia (field 2)

5.30pm
KAPS vs ICI Transformers (mx, field 1)
Team ATT vs Tuanga Taporoporo (mx, field 2)