Thursday 22 September 2011 | Published in Regional
In the Budget/Polynesian Bike Hire under 19 rugby grade grand finals, the Avatiu Eels will face off with arch rivals the Arorangi Cowboys.
The Eels have been the outright leaders throughout the season clean-slate winning all 8 of their matches this season. The team also cleaned up in the under 19 rugby sevens tournaments that were held in-season.
The key element to this winning team is that almost half of their starting line up are current Cook Islands Sports Academy (CISA) students under league legend Kevin Iro.
The CISA influence is evident with improved fitness and skill levels and this has been the X-factor for the Eels in 2011.
At least 10 of these under 19 Eel players have also played some senior A rugby in 2011 too. And the side will face off against the never underestimate Arorangi Cowboys outfit.
This season the Cowboys have been slow starters but their wagon has definitely gained momentum at the business end of the season and they have deservedly qualified for the grand finals with an impressive 30-6 semi final win against the Takuvaine Reds last weekend.
The Cowboys have 3 key individuals they will look to during the game including hard working second 5/8 Robert Heather, his cousin Andrew Purua at Number 8 and pocket battleship halfback Charlie The Energiser Kura.
If all 3 players lead, then the rest of the Cowboys will definitely follow.
The Eels are blessed with lots of talented players whove been in demand to play in the senior A grade most weeks.
For the Eels consistently the teams best players to date have been tight head prop Tamatoa Emile, halfback Teararoa Bishop, fullback Stanley Tobia, midfielders JJ Nicholas and Kore Raumea.
Of the two matches played this year between the Eels and Cowboys, the Eels have won both matches 15-5 and 20-12.
Under 19 Arorangi Cowboys Levi McKinley, John Vano, Daniel Tonorio, Duane Rangi, George Marurai, Andrew Purua, Andrew Remuera, Raina Wichman, Charlie Kura, Peter Kermode, Petero Teio, Robert Heather, Nathaneil Tairi, Temata Manual, Jag Love, Coach: Henry Black Heather and Manager: Keu Mataroa.
Under 19 Avatiu Eels Tamatoa Emile, Jamaal Pakitoa, Natana Moeauri, Edward Kamana, Pearse Numanga, Sirla Pera, Tuaine Unuia, Jon George, Teararoa Bishop, Teariki Sword, Felix Taurarii, Kore Raumea, John Nicholas, Tiro Toki, Stanley Tobia, (reserves) Daniel Tutai, Zeru Pera, Boaza Atetu, Michael Moeauri, Arama Bishop.
All 2011 club rugby grand final matches will be played at Nukupure Park in Ngatangiia starting tomorrow with the Senior B grand final between the Titikaveka Bulls and Cowboys with these two teams to be profiled in tomorrows Cook Islands News.