A well organised Ngatangiia Flying Dragons team trounced their Tupapa Panthers opponents on Saturday 20-0 to register four wins on the trot.
The Dragons’ ability to absorb pressure and then score points when the opportunities presented themselves was an obvious difference.
Playing with the wind in the first half of this match, the Tupapa Panthers had kickable penalties but they failed to convert any of these opportunities into points – this would have given the Panthers some confidence (and reward).
In fact, the Panthers were having trouble with the boot with two failed kick-offs giving the Dragons the edge at the start of the game.
The Dragons headed into the halftime break with an 8-0 lead.
Two further Dragons second half tries extended their lead further out of the Panthers reach.
The first try was a wonderful 40m solo-effort to the Dragons outside centre Sailosi Nagi who stepped past four would-be-tacklers on his way to the try line.
The second Dragons try was scored by big-loose forward George Fatefai. It was a result of good tactical awareness which came after a relieving Dragons kick long and deep from their 22m defensive zone, before the Dragons pressured the opposition Panthers fullback and wingers into error, and then fast following Fatefai pounced on the loose ball for the try.
The Panthers tried hard all day but were unable to score any points.
Best for the Panthers were their rookie flanker Caleb Tatuava – this 18-year-old worked tirelessly all day – together with front rower Tupou Faireka.
Best for the Dragons were Number 8 George Fatafai, open side flanker Elisa Ravula (apart from being sinbinned for a late tackle in the second half) and new halfback Elia Tangimetua.
In other senior A grade games at the weekend – a last-minute Vira Williams converted try allowed the Eels to edge out the Titikaveka Bulls 33-32.
The Bulls will be ruing the fact that they let slip a handy 11-point lead (19-32) in the 65th minute of the game but the Eels showed their championship qualities by scoring in the 80th minute!
Out at Raemaru Park, it was a close match between the Cowboys and the Takuvaine Warriors which was eventually won 32-20 by the Cowboys.
The Cowboys’ extra fitness and experience was probably the difference in the end.
This weekend’s games will see the Avatiu Eels host their brothers from the happy valley of Takuvaine while out at Victoria Park the Panthers will host the Arorangi Cowboys.
The in-form Ngatangiia Flying Dragons will host their equally talented foes the Titikaveka Bulls.
- Ruck and maul
Bulls vs Eels (Bulls scores first) – Senior A grade 32 vs 33, Senior B grade 5 vs 18, Under 19 grade 14 vs 38, Under 16grade 0 v 64, Under 13 grade 17 vs 14.
Flying Dragons vs Panthers (Dragons score first) – Senior A grade 20 vs 0, Senior B grade 17 vs 7, Under 19 grade Tupapa won by default, Under 16 grade 10 vs 34, Under 13 grade 0 vs 38.
Cowboys vs Warriors (Cowboys score first) – Senior A grade 31 vs 20, Senior B grade 48 vs 10, Under 16 grade 61 vs 0, Under 13 grade 33 vs 0.