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It’s elimination time

Wednesday 26 August 2009 | Published in Regional

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SATURDAY 22: The winners of today’s semi final rugby matches will earn a spot in the grand finals and with two semi finals venues there’s sure to be plenty of action on the field this weekend.

At Raemaru Park the Arorangi Cowboys will take on the Takuvaine Warriors.

2009 surprise package Takuvaine will not be under estimated by the Arorangi Cowboys. Both matches this season between these two teams have been very close affairs, the Cowboys winning the games 7-6 and 24-21 and on both occasions the Cowboys came from behind late in the game to score the vital winning points.

If Takuvaine do have a weakness, it is probably their lack of forward depth or impact from off the bench whereas the Cowboys have sufficient cover and experience in this area.

Look for the Cowboys to again wear down their Takuvaine opposition and then post their winning points late in the second half.

Takuvaine will be hoping to accumulate sufficient early points and have enough oxygen in the tank to last until the final whistle.

And Takuvaine will also be hoping to have sevens maestro Vaivase Samania back on board to organise proceedings.

Samania’s combination in midfield with his younger brother Ailaoa Samania and centre partner Teina Savage will be the key to Takuvaine’s victory today.

The Cowboys will adopt their proven strategy of pressure rugby at the right end of the field and hope to frustrate the opposition into making mistakes or giving away kickable penalties for super boot David Wichman to convert.

The second A grade semi finals match today will be played at Muri between the Ngatangiia-Matavera Flying Dragons and the Avatiu Eels.

As have been a lot of the matches this season, this will be another closely contested affair. This season Avatiu have won both matches against the Flying Dragons with their first encounter ending in a tight 26-21 score and last weekend they won again 20-11.

So far this season the Dragons have been able to defeat all clubs except Avatiu – so the Dragons will want to dispel the myth that Avatiu are the better team and what better way than to play them on home soil in front of what is expected to be another bumper crowd.

Obviously the team that wants it most will win this semi-final.

Players to watch for from Avatiu are mercurial first five-eighth Terry Piri and loose forward ‘jack-of-all trades’ Clive Nicholas.

For the Dragons watch out for mobile number eight George Speight – who normally starts the ball rolling up front – and uncompromising first five-eighth Thomas Toa to ignite this team. - CIRU

Saturday August 22 at Raemaru Park – 12pm U13 Arorangi vs Ngatangiia-Matavera, Ref-Vaivase Samania assisted by club reps, 12.40pm U15 Avatiu vs Tupapa Ref-Poso Ngaroi assisted by Cosma Bell and club reps 1.30pm U17 Avatiu vs Takuvaine Ref-Dan Munro assisted by Poso Ngaroi and Vaivase Samania, 2.30pm U19 Tupapa vs Avatiu Ref-Ben Koteka assisted by Dan Munro and Cosma Bell, 3.50pm Senior A Arorangi vs Takuvaine Ref-Simi Teiotu assisted by Koteka and Poso Ngaroi.

Saturday August 22 at Nukupure Park –12pm U13 Avatiu vs Tupapa Ref-Tai Wichman assisted by Tangi Toa and club reps, 12.40pm U15 Arorangi vs Ngatangiia-Matavera Ref-Arthur Emile assisted by Tangi Toa and Tai Wichman, 2.00pm U19 Arorangi vs Ngatangiia-Matavera Ref-Tua Manea assisted by Arthur Emile and Tangi Toa, 3.50pm Senior A Ngatangiia-Matavera vs Avatiu Ref-Fraser Nooroa assisted by Robert Graham and Tua Manea.