The Ngatangiia-Matavera Flying Dragons will be toasting their Fijian centres Sailosi Niagi and Usa Mato for two brilliant tries which clinched the game 14-10 against Tupapa.
Both tries were similar – starting near halfway with the Fijian flyers hitting the ball at pace on the ‘switch-cut-back’, stepping inside desperate Tupapa defence and scoring close to the goalposts for easy conversions by fullback Pakia Wichman.
At halftime Tupapa led at the break 5-0 after a well-taken try by 17-year-old right winger Kairan Mahia after constant Tupapa pressure.
This was followed by another try early in the second half, to the other teenager, left winger Tai Joseph Jnr – courtesy of a nicely-timed pass via halfback Keeper Maurangi close to the try line.
At that stage and with Tupapa leading 10-0, things were looking good – that was until the Dragons struck with these two wonderful tries.
As expected it was a tough tussle with neither team able to dominate up front.
For Tupapa their lack of ‘impact players’ off the bench was noticeable with the departure of experienced halfback Maurangi and fleet-footed centre Andrew Iroa late in the second half. The home side was also missing an injured Turori Matutu.
Good to see all these young Tupapa players getting game time and they will be better for the experience.
Best for Tupapa were utility back Lua Tua and forward Tupou Faireka Jnr – both leading the charge for Tupapa from start to finish.
For the Dragons, although it was good team effort, the influence of Thomas Toa operating at first five-eighth was key to this win – his boot, step and hard-hitting defence allowing the Dragons to apply pressure throughout.
In the other A grade matches playedp last weekend the Arorangi Cowboys managed to edge out Takuvaine 24-21 in a closely fought match in the Happy Valley. The home team actually led 9-3 at the break.
At the Swamp, Titikaveka was the surprise winners of the weekend upsetting Avatiu on their home ground 26-15.
Titikaveka scored four quick tries in the first half, courtesy of silly mistakes by Avatiu. But in the second half they held their defence to take out the match.
This week’s rugby schedules starts at the Victoria Park with the 4th under 15 Coca-Cola trophy challenge between holders Tupapa and challengers Arorangi.
This game will be played on Wednesday starting at 4.30pm.
Round 9 of the VB Trophy will see Takuvaine take on Avatiu in the Happy Valley, Arorangi host Tupapa and Titikaveka will host Ngatangiia-Matavera. - Ruck & Maul