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Tussle for top 4 spots

Friday 9 September 2011 | Published in Regional


The rugby season ends for two senior clubs this weekend, but the make-up of the finals is still not locked in.

Tupapa, Titikaveka and Takuvaine will all be fighting for a spot in the top four this weekend.

Whichever club secures a spot will move into the 2011 finals series, leaving the other two clubs out of the running and on the sidelines until next year.

The three teams are all trying to squeeze through a bottleneck of sorts into fourth position, with the final weeks games set to decide the tables final layout.

Currently, the Panthers are sitting on 19 points, two up on the Reds and three up on the Bulls.The Ngatangiia Flying Dragons are clearly the CITC Senior A Grade competition surprise of the year and sit atop the table with 39 points.

The Dragons boast the best for and against record in the A grade this season, amassing 253 points through the nine rounds already played while conceding 124 points.

This weekends draw of Dragons v Cowboys, Panthers v Eels and the Reds v Bulls will have a major bearing on the final placings for this years Round Cup finish.

X-factor players in the A grade are midfielder Sailosi Nagi (Dragons), Number 8 Ina Tapurau (Cowboys) and winger/fullback Conrad Piri (Panthers).

All teams in all grades will want to finish the season with a win to build confidence and momentum heading into the next weeks knockout semis.

The format for next weeks knockout semis is first play fourth and second playing third for each grade.

The first and second placed A grade teams will dictate the venues for next weeks semi finals.

In the Whatever Bar and Grill Senior B Grade competition, the Cowboys (19 points) currently lead the grade, pursued by the Bulls (17 points) and then the Eels (15 points).

With this grade stacked full of legends, its best that punters watch the strategy employed by their super coaches Vaipo Mataora for the Cowboys, Paul Allsworth for the Bulls and Vase Samania for the Reds.

For the Budget Rentals / Polynesian Bike Hire Uner-19 Grade, the Eels (21 points) are outright leaders, taking the core of their team from students currently enrolled at the Cook Islands Sport Academy. They bring a different skill and fitness level and renewed energy to this grade, which sorts the men from the boys.

X-Factor players in this grade are utility backs Stanley Tobia and Kori Raumea (Eels), and midfielder Robert Heather Jnr (Cowboys).

The champion Cowboys (27 points) are outright leaders in the Origin Energy Under-16 Grade. From their nine matches this year the Cowboys have amassed 480 points for and just 33 points against. Their average score per game was 53-5.

They are followed by the Panthers (22 points), with the Bulls (16 points) and Reds (15 points) match-up this weekend will determine the fourth and final spot in this grade.

Can the Bulls team coached by Teariki Peyroux pull off a win this weekend?

X-Factor players in this grade are fullback Jag Love and Number 8 Tokoiva George (Cowboys), utility backs Maeva Smith (Panthers) and Irangi Mauri (Eels).

The Panthers play the Eels (23 points) this weekend, which should be a very interesting game. X-Factor players that have been in outstanding form this season are midfielders Tyrone Marurai (Panthers) and Teava Wichman (Cowboys) and energetic forward Warren Ngamata (Dragons).