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Swamp finals

Saturday 18 September 2010 | Published in Regional


The champions of the CITC senior A rugby grade will be decided this afternoon when the slippery Avatiu Eels meet arch-rivals the galloping Arorangi Cowboys at the Swamp.

The last time these two teams met the Cowboys literally blasted the Eels forward pack off the park for a comprehensive 34-7 win.

The Eels will be boosted by the return of their energetic captain and blindside flanker Clive Nicholas who will also provide extra ball winning options at lineout time to feed their dangerous backline.

The Eels on their day, and in the right frame of mind, with sufficient possession are proving that rugby is an 80-minute game – this is evidenced by the strong second half finish. Obviously the Cowboys will have to be on their toes for the full 80-minutes if they expect to win today’s grand final.

The Cowboys on the other hand have been inconsistent of late failing to capture the good form that saw them thrash the Eels in round six.

The Cowboys game plan is plain and simple and revolves around forward domination at set piece time backed by either the clinical boot of David Wichman (kicking for territory) or the midfield crash through.

It is simple, not flash but effective ‘pressure’ rugby which usually wins games.

Let’s just hope that the Cowboys will be able to spring some surprises and free up space for their fleet-footed backs Turori Matutu, Pokolong Pauka and Sami Pareeti – all three players have the ‘X-factor’ but have been somewhat underutilised in 2010.

The Eels on their day are the best open field, 15-man team on the island.

With a competitive forward pack complemented by a constructive loose forward trio lead by Nicholas, who has been in outstanding form of late, they will need to ensure that they supply sufficient and consistent quality possession for their talented backline.

Eels front-rowers Sonny-Bill Foster, John Goldsworthy and Nga Taputoa have been making good progress this season and are sure to be targeted by the Cowboys – so today will be a good time to see exactly where they are ranked in the local front-rowers club.

Predictions are that this game will be decided from the first five-eighths position so the individual battle between Bobby Hansen (Eels) and David Wichman (Cowboys) will be the key to determine who wins this match.

Both experienced players will decide how best to utilise well won possession for their teams from their pivotal position and that decision making will have a major bearing on the final outcome of this match.

Head to the swamp and find out who will be crowned the 2010 rugby champions. - CIRU

Avatiu Eels: John Goldsworthy, Nga Taputoa, Sonny-Bill Foster, Alex Olah, Louis Nicholas, Clive Nicholas(captain), Papali Ponini, Teokotai Tuaivi, Kunta Tom, Bobby Hansen, Bruce Goldsworthy, Nathan Tisam, Andy Kapi, Joe Omao, Duane Gukisuva, Ngatupuna Manuela, Takeu Buckley, Johnny Koroi, Noel Emile, Henry Taripo, Raita Tararo, Makea Tangaroa, Bilsy Gukisuva, Mau Katoa, Alex Roa

Arorangi Cowboys: David Heather(Capt), Toru Arona, Timi Tunui, Simiona Nicholas, Tua Boaza, Emile Mamanu, Ina Tapurau, Spoon Marsters, David Wichman, Moti Tuivaga, Sami Pareeti, Turori Matutu, Tom Vea, Pokolong Pauka, Titi George, Katini Heather, Sema Robati, Manu Emile, Johnny George, Papa Naea, James Phillips.

Today’s grand finals draw at the Avatiu Swamp – 12pm Under 13 Arorangi vs Tupapa, Ref-Vanya Tou assisted by Tai Ngari-Wichman and Puru Samania, 12.45pm Under 16 Arorangi vs Avatiu-Nikao, Ref-Simiona Teiotu assisted by Poso Ngaroi and Tangi Toa, 1.50pm Under 19 Avatiu-Nikao vs Tupapa, Ref-Arthur Emile assisted by Vaivase Samania and Bishop Bishop, 3.05pm Senior B Arorangi vs Avatiu-Nikao, Ref-Tua Manea assisted by Tutai Taurarii and Poso Ngaroi, 4.10pm Senior A Arorangi vs Avatiu-Nikao, Ref-Pare Rongokea assisted by Arthur Emile and Tua Manea.