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Eels slip past Cowboys

Monday 5 July 2010 | Published in Regional

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An 80th minute Arorangi Cowboys try wasn’t enough to reign in the Avatiu Eels who had done the hard work early on in the main rugby match on Saturday to win 20-18.

The final Cowboys try by left winger Sami Rokocoko in the corner was unable to be converted by the Cowboys sharpshooter David Wichman – the sideline conversion hitting the upright and bouncing away with the Cowboys unable to savour a draw and instead the Eels managed to hold on and win the encounter.

A brilliant 60m solo try scored by national sevens representative winger Duane Gukisuva against the run of play, together with a well-struck sideline conversion by Clive Nicholas, gave the Eels some much needed breathing space heading into the final stages of this match – the Gukisuva try taking the Eels to a handy 20-13 lead in the 70 th minute.

The Cowboys as expected responded with this last minute try but alas it remained unconverted.

As expected the Cowboys dominated most of the forward exchanges and the Eels backline ran with more purpose with what little possession they were supplied.

It was a closely fought match with the score changing hands a few times with the Gukisuva solo effort seeming to break the ‘deadlock’ and give the Eels extra encouragement heading into the final stages of this match.

Impressive for the Cowboys were hard working blindside flanker Tom Vea and the veteran first five-eighth David Wichman – his kicking game keeping the Cowboys in the hunt for most of the match.

Best for the Eels were ‘Mr Reliable’ inside centre Andy Kapi – his defensive combination together with midfield partner 18-year-old Adam Tangata (on holiday from St Kentigern’s College) were able to keep the strong running Cowboys centers Johnny George and Ina Tapurau in check throughout this match.

Kapi also made the crucial break – by scooping up a wayward Cowboys pass on the halfway line, cutting through the Cowboys defence and then in passing to the ever present Clive Nicholas for a well taken opportunist try.

Eels captain Nicholas also impressed, showcasing his wide range of skills by scoring 13 points for the Eels.

This match was well controlled by the match referee Pare Rongokea and also featured female touch judge Tai Wichman.

In other premier grade games at the weekend, the Titikaveka Bulls continued their winning ways disposing of the Tupapa Panthers 46-14.

Best for the Bulls were Lloyd ‘Bacon’ Matapo and young halves-combo Tepou Taana and Teariki Tou.

At the Happy Valley field, the Ngatangiia Flying Dragons X-factor backline proved too much for the Takuvaine Warriors – the Dragons winning 22-8.

The Dragons danger-man was centre Sailosi Niagi who scored 2 tries.

This week’s game will be played at Muri with the Flying Dragons hosting Tupapa for the match of the week while Avatiu will head to Titikaveka to face the Bulls.

Arorangi will host Takuvaine.