This weekend will see country cousins the Ngatangiia Flying Dragons go head-to-head with the Titikaveka Bulls.
Currently both teams are in first and third place on the senior A grade division with the Dragons currently leading the pack and the Bulls in third spot.
The Bulls were unlucky losers last weekend, a lapse in concentration during the final 15 minutes of the match (after leading 32-19) saw them lose 32-33 to the Eels.
Last weekend at the other end of the island the Dragons were convincing 20-0 winners against the Panthers.
A revitalised 2010 Bulls team success to date has been based on a rock solid tight five lead by Robert Matapo, complemented by a constructive loose trio lead by light-weight flanker Travel Tyler together with a relatively young and exciting backline from creative halves Tepou Taana and Teariki Tou and outside backs John Rea and Bill Tangapiri.
All four players are current or former students of the CI Sports Academy and their superb fitness levels and delicate skills has allowed them to pull off some outrageous ‘no look’ moves which have resulted in some fantastic tries for the Bulls in 2010.
Apart from their 6ft 3in line-breaking Fijian centre Sailosi Nagi, a key component for the Dragons this season has been their ability to make the most of their point-scoring opportunities.
Their composure and patience have been evident in the matches played this season whether via the long distance tries created by their flying Fijians or points kicked via the boot of side-stepping Pakia Wichman.
This match is sure to be decided in the final quarter.
Matches played between these two clubs seem to bring out the best in their players and the Dragons can expect to be tested today by this relatively young Bulls team.
In matches played between these two teams in 2009 the Dragons won both games 9-5 and 20-8.
This match will kick off at the Ngatangiia Field at 4.10pm.
Dragons – Pene Trego, John Mokotupu, Popo Tamarangi, George Fatefai, Phillip Taio, Phillip Hunter, Elisa Ravalu, Willie Kauvai Jnr, Aseri Turuibewa, Daniel Toa, Kevin Mapu, Sailosi Nagi, Taamore Tangata, Allan Toa, Pakia Wichman.
Bulls – Richard Tane, Gary Tangiiti, Fernandez Patia, Rob Matapo, Lemeki Toutou, Travel Tyler, Kokai Tamangaro, Lloyd Matapo, Tepou Taana, Teariki Tou, John Rea, Eli Bendini, Jerry Phillips, Ben Sexton, Bill Tangapiri.
In other Senior A grade matches at the weekend the Panthers play hosts to the Cowboys at Victoria Park.
Both teams are former championship winners – Panthers (2008) and the Cowboys (2005-06-07) but both languishing at the wrong end of the points-table.
They will want to register points to stay in touch with the competition-leaders.
At the swamp the Eels will host their city cousins the Warriors although the Warriors have yet to register a win they have come close, often falling in the last quarter of each match where their lack of match-fitness is obvious.
Could the Warriors spring a surprise – be at the Avatiu ‘Swamp’ to find out!
Good luck to all teams playing this weekend and we also say farewell to our Irish rugby family from Ballyclare School in Ireland who depart our shores tonight. - Ruck and maul
Saturday 17, Ngatangiia-Matavera vs Titikaveka at Ngatangiia – 1.50pm Under 16, Ref-Tangi Toa assisted by Tupou Raumea and Matangaro Aratangi, 2.55pm Under 19, Ref-Ben Koteka assisted by Tupou Raumea and Matangaro Aratang 1, 4.10pm Senior A, Ref-Pare Rongokea assisted by Robert Graham and Arthur Emile.
Saturday 17, Tupapa vs Arorangi at Tupapa – 12.15pm Under 13, Ref-Bishop Bishop assisted by Andrew Purua and club officials, 1.05pm Under 16, Ref-Dan Munro assisted by Andrew Purua and club officials, 2.15pm Women’s, Ref-Fraser Nooroa assisted by club officials, 2.55pm Senior B, Ref-Tutai Taurarii assisted by Sean Willis and Dan Munro, 4.05pm Senior A, Ref-Tua Manea assisted by Tutai Taurarii and Sean Willis.
Saturday 17, Avatiu-Nikao vs Takuvaine at Avatiu – 12.00pm Under 13, Ref-Vania Tou assisted by Mana Samania and Tereapii Murare, 12.45pm Under 16, Ref-Poto Ngaroi assisted by Mana Samania and Tereapii Murare, 1.50pm Under 19, Ref-Billy Tuaivi assisted by Simiona Teiotu and Mana Samania, 3.05pm Senior B, Ref-Terry Piri assisted by Poto Ngaroi and Tereapii Murare, 4.10pm Senior A, Ref-Simiona Teiotu assisted by Terry Piri and Vania Tou.