Cook Islands Residents went down fighting to Tokouso in the opening match of the Vodafone Tri Nations Series at Victoria Park on Saturday. Photo: MELINA ETCHES/ 22081440
Cook Islands Residents’ chances of claiming their first ever Tri Nations 15s competition title took a dent when they lost to Tokouso in the opening match of the annual series on Saturday.
As anticipated, the opening Vodafone Tri Nations 15s match between Tokouso and the Cook Islands Residents at Victoria Park in Tupapa was a tough contest.
Tokouso made up of Samoan and
Tongan players residing in Rarotonga survived the battle with a slender 24-22
The resilient Cook Islands
Residents team led by inside centre Robert Heather and number eight James Kora
battled tooth and nail but fell short against the 2020 winner.
Although the strong Tokouso
outfit scored three tries to the Residents one, the home side coached by Darren
Piri refused to give up hope as they played with plenty of spirit. The Resident
persistently chased the Ox Moananu-coached Tokouso right to the final whistle.
Cook Islands Rugby Union
development manager Ben Koteka said: “Surprisingly it was the Tokouso scrum
that was part of the foundation for this match one win – their 61st
minute penalty try from persistent Cook Islands Residents infringements rewarded
their efforts at scrum time.”
Tokouso led at halftime by
The top players for the Cook
Islands Residents were Robert Heather, James Kora, loose forward Adyn Anguna
and goal kicking fullback Leo Roa.
For the Tokouso side, the top
performers were their front row led by youngster Mike Schuster, massive lock
Seta Veni, winger Peni Kitiona and midfielder Rudi Sifa.
This Saturday, the Residents
take on defending champions Tabusoro – Fiji in a must win match at The Swamp in
Tokouso: 24 (Tries: Lapana
Tofilau, John Penu and penalty try (automatic 7 points). Conv: Viiga Ruepena (2).
Pen: Afereti Anau) Cook Islands Residents: 22 (Try: Robert Heather, Conv:
Leo Roa. Pen: L Roa (5)