Saturday 10 September 2011 | Published in Regional
A last-round clash between the top two teams will decide who finishes atop the table in the rugby senior A grade competition for season 2011.
The Ngatangiia Dragons and the Arorangi Cowboys will clash at Arorangi this weekend, the winner taking the top spot on the ladder and moving into the finals series with an added gloating point.
The Dragons currently lead the Senior A Grade points table with 39 points, closely followed by the Cowboys on 38 points in second place.
The last time that these two teams met in round five, the Dragons scored a famous last-minute try to win this match 30-28.
Lanky national sevens rep and fullback Sailosi Nagi was the hero that day for the Dragons, scoring two second half tries for the Dragons in their come from behind win.
Both teams have contrasting styles of play, with the Cowboys preferring a more forward-orientated 10-man rugby as opposed to the Dragons preferred 15-man, open-style game.
Expect big matches from the Dragons potent midfielder combination of Sailosi Nagi and Thomas Toa who have dominated opponents all season and have become a launching pad for the majority of the Dragons attacks.
For the Cowboys, the strong-running Number 8 Ina Tapurau and human-loader prop David Heather will set the platform for the team to operate.
Expect these individuals to have a huge bearing on the outcome of this match, which kicks off at 4.10pm at the Arorangi Field.
In the weekends other games, the Reds host the Bulls at Takuvaine and the Panthers will play the Eels in Tupapa.
Both the Reds and the Bulls have a small window of opportunity to make it into the top four and keep their seasons alive by progressing into the finals series.
The last time the teams met, the Reds won 29-27. Expect both to come out fighting in this do-or-die match.
But for either team to advance into the finals, the Tupapa Panthers would also have to lose their match against the Avatiu Eels.
In this match, third plays fourth and the Panthers will need a win to guarantee they hold the fourth spot.
Their cause will be buoyed by the fact they beat the Eels 23-17 the last time the clubs met.
With this being the final round, these are desperate times which bring desperate teams.
Expect some very exciting games and some close results this weekend in all matches.
Next week, first plays fourth and second plays third in knockout semi finals.
Teams: Arorangi Cowboys - David Heather, Katini Heather, Timi Tunui, Simona Nicholas, Tama Heather, Danny Heather, Eddie Teraitua, Ina Tapurau, Pare Rongokea, Sami Tuivaga, Pierre Rongokea, Spoon Marsters, Rouru Une, Winton Porter.
Ngatangiia Dragons Clinton Charlie, Tereapii Monga, Tai Tangaroa, Po Daniel, Ronnie Kadarulevu, Maara Ioakopa, Phillip Hunter, Willie Kauvai Jnr, Elia Tangimetua, Daniel Toa, Alan Toa, Thomas Toa, Sailosi Nagi, Usa Sivo, Aseli Maoate, Tutu Tangimetua.