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Monday 1 August 2011 | Published in Regional


A consistent and disciplined Ngatangiia-Matavera Dragons senior A rugby team taught the Eels a thing or two about rugby at the Swamp on Saturday as the visitors ground out a 15-5 win over their hosts.

The win not only established the Dragons as the clear leader of the 2011 tournament so far but it has given the team the confidence and belief that they are more than capable of lifting the champion trophy this year.

The Eels were in hot form at the start of the game with some brilliant defending by Lee Ponini who charged down a Dragons clearance kick from the try zone.

A fired up Eels forward pack then made the most of the pressure to drive Silafi Tovio over the try line to put early points on the board for the Eels.

While the Eels played a strong defence team the side didnt have the same structure on attack, with a missed 25m penalty shot and a dropped ball over the start of a downhill slide for the Eels.

Heading into the break the Eels had the slim lead of 5-nil and fans were banking on the famous Eels second half resurgence but it never happened.

The Eels lacked any urgency and were slow to clear the ball from the ruck, allowing the Dragons to keep the pressure on the host team.

In fact, as the Dragons gathered momentum and patiently worked their way to the try line the Eels seemed to be having a competition among themselves of who could butcher golden try opportunity best.

As the Eels struggled to find their form the Dragons made their move sending Usa Tivo into the gap and over the try line thanks to an initial break by forward Clinton Charlie.

The try pumped up the Dragons for a second well worked try late in the second half to seal the win.

This time the Dragons really rubbed it into the Eels fans with a perfectly weighted pass landing in the hands of the charging Phillip Hunter who drove straight through the Eels defence like a hot knife through butter to dot down right in front of Eels supporters, sending the Dragons into a frenzy of celebrations on and off the field.

Best for the Dragons was hardworking midfielder Sailosi Nagi, Thomas Toa and forward Clinton Charlie and Maara Iakopa.

For the Eels the every hardworking Lee Ponini and Clive Nicholas never let up all game with 19-year-old Zeru Pera also improving his game each week.

The luckless Eels have two weeks to work on their game as the seasons competition takes a break this weekend for the Constitution Sevens tournament starting on Thursday and finishing on Saturday.

In another senior A grade match at the weekend home ground advantage wasnt enough for the Reds as the visiting Panthers ground out a 17-15 win in what was a hard fought match at the Happy Valley.

At the Arorangi field the Cowboys made up for their two weekend in a row losing streak by thrashing the visiting Titikaveka Bulls 37-3.

A busy week of rugby is on the cards with age matches against a touring under 17 team on Tuesday leading into the Constitution Sevens tournament on Thursday, Under 15 college sevens on Friday and the finals on the Constitution sevens on Saturday.

More details on the coming weeks tournament will be published in tomorrows CINews sport pages. - MW

Full results:

Eels vs Dragons (Eels scores first) Senior A grade-5 vs 15, Senior B grade-27 vs 11, Under 16 grade-46 vs 7, Under 13 grade-50 vs 0.

Reds vs Panthers (Reds scores first) Senior A grade-15 vs 17, Under 19 grade-24 vs 24, Under 16 grade-17 vs 17, Under 13 grade-0 vs 67.

Cowboys vs Bulls (Cowboys scores first) Senior A grade-37 vs 3, Senior B grade-28 vs 7, Under 19 grade-22 vs 0, Under 16 grade-20 vs 0, Under 13 grade-20 vs 0