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Last-minute kick dislodges Dragons

Monday 12 September 2011 | Published in Regional


A 30-metre penalty kick in final stages of the match saw the Arorangi Cowboys dislodge the Ngatangiia Dragons from the top of the senior A grade table in the final round of the season.

The Dragons went into the weekends match one point ahead of the Cowboys, meaning whoever won the match would earn a home final against the leagues fourth-placed team.

Ngatangiia has still won the right to host a semi final at its home ground and looks to playing the Avatiu Eels next week.

The Cowboys will host the Tupapa Panthers, who secured their finals birth with a 17-12 win over the Eels.

Arorangi snatched the table-top position on the boot of winger Rouru Une, beating out the visiting Dragons 14-12 who struggled to fire away from home.

Rain falling before and during the match meant the teams were playing with a slippery ball and a mistake-ridden spectacle with lots of stoppages for handling errors from both teams punctuating the match.

At the 68th minute mark the Cowboys looked to be in control, leading 11-0.

Complacency set into the team and one of the Cowboys players was sin-binned for repeated infringements.

The Dragons then seized the initiative via busy number 8 William Kauvai, who upped the tempo by tapping and running all possession at the Cowboys.

This tap and run tactic seemed to work as the rest of the Dragons team followed then, to their surprise, scored two cracking tries in the process through their classy centre Sailosi Nagi.

With that sudden effort this took the score to 11-12 in favour of the Dragons after Daniel Toa converted one of the tries.

Not to be outdone and with the imminent fulltime whistle in sight, a composed Cowboys team dug deep and from the ensuring kick-off the Cowboys were able to work themselves into Dragons territory and into a kickable penalty position.

The Cowboys were soon awarded with a penalty, which right winger Rouru Une gladly accepted and nailed the 30m penalty right on fulltime for the Cowboys to win the match 14-12.

Simona Nicholas scored the only try for the Cowboys, with all three of the teams penalty goals coming from Rouru Une.

Bests for the Cowboys were their entire forward pack especially o forward men Danny Heather and Timi Shadow Tunui.

Bests for the Dragons were Kauvai and lethal midfielders Thomas Toa and Nagi. With this week being knockout semi-finals, both teams will have to lift the intensity and the accuracy of their game if they want to survive another week.

At Takuvaine, the Reds and Bulls were playing for the off chance of moving into fourth position and knocking the Tupapa Panthers out of the top four.

The Reds put themselves into the lead 27-17 and needed the Eels to beat the Panthers for them to get their finals chance.

Unfortunately for the Reds, the Eels could not best Tupapa, meaning they and Titikaveka have played their last game for season 2011.

The Arorangi and Ngatangiia Rugby Clubs will now host this weeks top four knockout semi finals matches with seeded teams per grade. First will play fourth at Arorangi Field and second will play third at the Ngatangiia Field. Be reading this weeks CINews for the semi final draw and to see the final points table standings per team.

- Ruck and maul / EP

Full results:

Cowboys v Dragons (Cowboys scores first) senior A grade, 14-12; senior B grade, Cowboys win by default; under 19s not played; under 16s, Cowboys win by default; under 13s, 34-0.

Reds v Bulls (Reds scores first) senior A grade, 27-17; senior B grade, 7-14; under 19s, 11-7; under 16s, 35-0; under 13s not played.

Panthers v Eels (Panthers scores first) senior A grade, 17-12; senior B grade not played; under 19s, 8-27; under 16s, 39-12; under 13s 10-0.