The serious contenders for this year’s CITC pre-season sevens rugby turned up to play with next week’s semifinal spots on offer for the top two qualifiers in each pool.
In the FBI under 13 grade competition the Arorangi Cowboys played two games at the weekend, winning them both 40-0 against Titikaveka and a hard-fought win 24-12 against Avatiu.
The majority of the Cowboys’ points were scored by speedster Dwayne Taio and skillful Noa Samuel. Tupapa also played and had an impressive 40-5 win against a spirited Takuvaine team. In the Origin Energy under 16 grade the Eric Newbigging led Tupapa team played two games finishing with a win and a draw.
Their second match against the Ngatangiia Dragons ended in a draw – the Dragons scoring a late try in the corner after the fulltime hooter had sounded, with the try being converted by lively inside back Ngamata Miriau.
The Arorangi Cowboys and Avatiu look to be the other teams to beat in this grade.
In the Budget Rental & Polynesian Bike Hire under 19 grade, Tupapa look to be the leaders.
With the majority of the Tupapa players being either current or past members of the Kevin Iro Cook Islands Sports Academy, they look like the team to beat in this grade.
However, they will strike strong opposition from the Jon George and Noel Emile led Avatiu under 19 team who finished as top qualifier in Pool A.
The CITC women’s 10s saw another tight contest between the two teams with desperate second half defence and also the express pace of Patricia Taea saving the day for the Country team. The Country team won this encounter by 12-5.
With both teams having won one game each, we now look forward to another massive battle next weekend between these two.
Obviously due to their recent training sessions there has been noticeable improvement in the development of the skill level of these two teams (compliments to the coaches also) - so we look forward to next week’s ‘state of origin - grand final’.
The CITC senior A grade saw surprise-package Titikaveka ably defeat a strong Arorangi Cowboys lineup Titikaveka defeating the Cowboys 26-14.
Titikaveka is led by skillful back Bill Tangapiri and ‘chip & chase’ expert Ben Sexton.
Could Titikaveka surprise the pundits again next week?
The Ngatangiia Flying Dragons (with four Fijians in their starting line-up) seem to be warming up to next week’s semis, putting away a strong Tupapa team.
The Dragons ‘go-forward’ and scrambling defense were able to keep Tupapa speedsters Conrad Piri and Andrew Iroa in check for most of the match the Dragons winning this match 22-7.
The main danger man in the Dragons team is their elusive 6ft 4in outside back Salosi Niagi.
We now look forward to another exciting weekend of sevens at next week’s semis and finals to be held at Arorangi field.
Again we say thank you to our major sponsor CITC supported by Budget Rentals & Polynesian Bike Hire, Origin Energy, FBI Fish Shop, Turtles, Mongoose Oldies, Edgewater Resort and Air NZ.