Cook Islands Residents midfielder Tama Nicholas passes the ball while under pressure from Tokouso. MELINA ETCHES/23091015
On a wet Saturday afternoon at Avatiu Field, a 40 metre penalty goal kicked right on the fulltime hooter by Cook Islands Residents (CIR) utility back Daniel Toa, allowed the team to draw 11- all against Tokouso (Samoa/Tonga) in the first match of the 2023 Vodafone – Tri Nations 15s series.
Straight from the kick-off and in the 2nd minute of
play, Tokouso got off to a great start with a ‘pick and go’ try to their lively
hooker Fa’afoi Lualua.
Shortly afterwards CIR first 5/8 Te-Ara Henderson
responded by kicking a penalty goal handy to the posts.
Just before the halftime break Tokouso’s first 5/8
Viiga Ruepena kicked a nicely timed drop-goal to bring the halftime score to
Tokouso 8 – 3 CIR.
In the second half both teams tried to play expansive
rugby but dropping the ball at crucial times did not help their efforts.
Best players for Tokouso were the energetic front
rowers Fa’afoi and Lua Trood and their mastermind first 5/8 Ruepena.
The best players for the CIR team were: number 8
Teariki Nicholas, Loosehead prop Toru Katuke and midfielder Tama Nicholas.