The mighty Panthers have emerged the victors of this weekend's Club Rugby 7's. MELINA ETCHES/23090311
The mighty Panthers have emerged the victors of this weekend's Club Rugby 7's on points differential, after ending up on a tie with Cook Islands Rarotonga (CIRARO) on the table with three wins each and a draw.
Panthers led by master-mind Viiga Reupena managed to
dominate the tournament in their game play, however, their new speedy Gonzales
on the block - Jone Baikeibau, stood out in the competition claiming the top
try-scorer title of the tournament.
Darren Piri, coach of the Panthers would like to thank
all the boys who played for the Panthers from Tupapa, Avatiu, Ngatangiia and
“It was a good day for 7s, and thank you to the boys
who came out to Muri and played, and to our Cook Islands players that made
themselves available to play and be selected for the national team,” said Piri.
Five teams entered the competition: Cook Islands
Rarotonga New Zealand (CIRNZ), Cook Islands Rarotonga (CIRARO), Panthers,
Tabusoro A and Tabusoro B.
CIRARO coached by Andrew Iroa put up a strong fight
against the Panthers in their earlier game play with tries coming from Nathan
Nabou, James Kora and Brian Akava. However, the Panthers through their
speedster Baikeibau, managed a hat-trick. The game ended up with a 19-all draw.
The CIRNZ team coached by Amosa Amosa also put in some
great game-play against all the teams, along with Tabusoro B and Tabusoro A who
were coached by Ilai Bedini.
The beautiful sun shining crispy cool weather against the
picturesque beach backdrop at Nukupure Park in Muri, Ngatangiia provided the
perfect venue for rugby lovers to watch some good footy in the Senior Men’s 7s
competition on Saturday
The tournament provided the perfect platform for the
national coaches to make the selections for the Cook Islands national 7's team
earmarked to participate in the upcoming Oceania 7's tournament in October and
the Pacific Games 7's tournament in November.
Cook Islands Rugby Union (CIRU) noted the competition
was also an opportunity to see new talent coming through in the 7's, in
preparation for the upcoming annual International 7's tournament that will be
played at National Stadium in the first weekend of October.
The tournament followed a five team round robin format,
the team with the most wins determining the winner of the competition.
CIRU would like to acknowledge and thank Tabusoro A,
Tabusoro B and the Panthers teams for participating in the event to assist with
providing game time for Cook Islands players for the national selections.
The union would also like to thank: Ngatangiia MP Tukaka
Ama for providing the perfect venue for the Club 7's, the five 7s teams, coaches
& management, referees & admin, Polynesian Media and CB Sports Official
for game coverage, the volunteers and spectators for all your support for an
event that unifies our community – meitaki ma’ata and God bless always.
The results for the Raro Club Rugby 7s (Saturday 2nd
September) are as follows. Points System (Win = 2 Points, Loss/Default = 0
CIRNZ Win 2, Loss 2, Draw 0, For 68, Against 39, Diff
29, Points 4; CIRARO Win 3, Loss 0, Draw 1, For 86, Against 24, Diff 62, Points
7; Panthers Win 3, Loss 0, Draw 1, For 135, Against 46, Diff 89, Points 7;
Tabusoro A Win 0, Loss 4, Draw 0, For 5, Against 163, Diff -158, Points 0;
Tabusoro B Win 1, Loss 3, Draw 0, For 64, Against 86, Diff -22, Points 2.
Round 1 Placings: 1st Panthers (winner by
points differential), 2nd CIRARO, 3rd CIRNZ, 4th
Tabusoro B, 5th Tabusoro A.
CIRU are now looking
forward to the Tri-Nations tournament (Cook Islands Residents, Tokouso - Samoa/Tonga, Tabusoro - Fiji), which
will kick off this Saturday 9th September between Cook Islands Residents
v Tokouso at Aretere Park in Avatiu.