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Panthers win vital match against Eels

Monday 27 June 2022 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby Union, Sports


Panthers win vital match against Eels
Avatiu Eels and Tupapa Panthers players tussle for possession in round one of the premier men’s match at the Aretere Park (The Swamp) in Avatiu. PHOTO: RASHNEEL KUMAR/ 22021421

Tupapa Panthers have turned their fortunes around, with a strong win against the Avatiu Eels at home.

The reigning champions have struggled this season, but coach Darren Piri said Saturday’s 32-22 win was most pleasing, especially coming off the back of two consecutive losses.

“We did what we needed to do. Our discipline was better, our tight five was strong, we dominated scrums and lineouts and the backline made the most out of their opportunities,” Piri said.

Piri said although the side was not the finished article yet, they were working on ball retention and improved defensive lines.

All three Panther tries were scored in the first half by right winger Pita Senibiakula - with a brace, and fullback Peniasi Dakuwaqa - a 90 metre special after an initial break out by their strong running left winger Jovilisi Naquitawa from a 5-metre scrum.

Together with the boot of first five-eighth Afereti Anau, and his 17 points tally, this was enough to cause additional pressure amongst the Eels to play catch-up high risks football throughout this match.

The Eels struggled with their scrum constantly under pressure however some of their innovative set piece back play has to be admired especially the well-worked team try after some deceptive catch-pass, running lines that resulted in their first try to deceptively quick and big fullback Tevita Niusama.      

The Eels tried hard throughout this match but I guess last Saturday was just not their day.

Best players for the Eels were their hardworking forwards; James Kora, Leki Vahefoou and Josh Motu.

Tupapa Panthers: 32    Tries: Pita Senibiakula [2] & Peniasi Dakuwaqa   Conv: Afereti Anau    Pen: A Anau [4]   Pot: A Anau    

Avatiu Eels: 22    Tries: Tevita Niusoma, Nathan Nabou & Leki Vaahou     Conv & pen: Viiga Ruepena