An early Titikaveka Bulls lead and desperate defence allowed the Bulls to survive their match against the Ngatangiia Dragons with a 16-16 draw.
Playing basically ‘catch-up’ rugby, the Dragons will be wondering what happened?
And with approximately 60 per cent second-half territory and possession and two kickable penalties awarded in the final five minutes of play, the normally reliable Dragons were unable to finish off a persistent Bulls team.
The Bulls began like a house on fire and within 25 minutes the Bulls led 13-0, thanks largely to the trusty left boot of fullback Bill Tangapiri. The Dragons replied in normal fashion via exciting centre Sailosi Nagi who dotted down two tries.
With the Dragons missing a total five kicks at goals (three penalties and two conversions all missing the mark) it probably wasn’t surprising that they opted for the ‘tap and go’ when they were awarded the two kickable penalties in the last five minutes of play.
But desperate defence saved the day for the Bulls.
Best for the Dragons were busy hooker John Mokotupu, fullback Pakia Wichman and try scoring machine Nagi.
Best for the Bulls were never-say-die Number 8 Lloyd Matapo, fullback Bill Tangapiri and young lock David Matapo.
The match also featured three Toa brothers in the Dragons backline first and second five-eighths Daniel and Thomas, with 18-year-old Alan on the wing.
In other games at the weekend the Takuvaine Warriors dominated at the swamp for the majority of their match against the Avatiu Eels.
But the Warriors were unable to dominate where it counted most – on the scoreboard with the Eels once again slipping in to win this match 8-3.
At the Tupapa field, the visiting Arorangi Cowboys proved too strong for the Tupapa Panthers – the Cowboys runaway winners 38-3.
This week, week five of the season, the Eels will host the Dragons while the Cowboys will face the Bulls and the Warriors host the Panthers.