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Panthers slay the Dragons

Monday 23 August 2010 | Published in Regional


Panthers 21 vs Dragons 16

Reds 20 vs Cowboys 20

Eels 51 vs Bulls 24

The Tupapa Panthers rugby team stunned the Ngatangiia Dragons on Saturday when they scored 21 points in the final 20 minutes to win the Senior A grade match of the week 21-16 against the shell-shocked Dragons.

The Dragons will be wondering what happened after enjoying territorial advantage and possession for the majority of this match.

At the 60th minute of this match the Dragons were actually leading by 13-0 and looking comfortable.

The Panthers then struck the survival button on the back of a resurgent forward pack effort led by number eight and captain Kore Herman supported by young prop Tupou Faireka Jnr.

The Panthers scored three tries in the final quarter of the match by fleet-footed fullback Conrad Piri followed by another try to tireless loose forward Alfred Manu.

The final ‘nail in the coffin’ for the Dragons and match winning try was scored right on fulltime by Tupapa’s elusive centre Rua Ngametua.

The Dragons, who dominated for main part of this match, will have to take a reality check this week as complacency obviously set in during that fatal final quarter.

Although it was an exciting finish to this game, too much possession was needlessly kicked-away and a display of ‘aerial ping-pong’ rather than being utilised sensibly.

The Panthers showed in the final quarter, through desperation and urgency, good ball retention, continuity, patience, composure and skill which they used to construct 3 well taken tries which eventually won them the match!

Best for the Dragons were energetic string-bean lock Moni Mato and busy hooker-loose forward John Mokotupu.

Good to see the Aitutaki-Panthers players in first five eighth Ben Samuel and midfielder Ruan Tare – both holding their own against their more experienced opponents.

Also good to see strong running ex CI and Northland representative and loose forward Atua Manu make an appearance for the Panthers too, his presence very noticeable.

In other Senior A grade games at the weekend, the Takuvaine valley rumbled with the battle of the Reds and Cowboys which ended in a 20-all draw.

The Reds, under the leadership of sevens icon Vaivase Samania, snuck in to score a try in the final minutes of this match, but the missed conversion from the sideline meant the team had to settle for the draw.

At the Avatiu Swamp the Eels strangled the Bulls 51-24.

The Eels win (and bonus points via 4 tries) now elevate the Eels to the top of the Snr A grade points table.

This week will see the Cowboys host the resurgent Panthers, Reds host the Eels and the Bulls will meet the Dragons.

Week 8 results – Takuvaine vs Arorangi (Takuvaine scores first) Snr A grade 20 vs 20, Snr B grade 16 vs 20, U16 grade 5 vs 40, U13 grade 0 vs 27, Ngatangiia vs Tupapa (Ngatangiia scores first) Snr A grade 16 vs 21, U16 grade 5 vs 53, U13 grade 0 vs 97, Avatiu vs Titikaveka (Avatiu scores first) Snr A grade 51 vs 24, Snr B grade 7 vs 17, U19 grade 34 vs 0, U16 grade 19 vs 10, U13 grade Avatiu won by default.