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Tupapa Panthers extend rugby lead

Monday 19 July 2021 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby Union, Sports


Tupapa Panthers extend rugby lead
Avatiu’s Lui Nicholas clears the ruck against Tupapa Panthers. MELINA ETCHES/ 21071801

Tupapa Panthers maintained their unbeaten form in the Rarotonga Club 15s competition overcoming Avatiu Nikao Eels over the weekend.

The Panthers defeated the Eels 27-5 in the main Senior A match at The Swamp in Avatiu on Saturday.

Both teams enjoyed a fair share of opportunities but in the end the Panthers proved too strong for the Eels.

The Panthers speedsters Junior Buresova and Peniasi Dakuwaqa both scored a brace of tries.

Eels frontrower KC Kora and utility players Lai Rogorogoivalu and John Penu stood out in the match. The best players for the Panthers were their point-scorers Buresova and Dakuwaqa and goal kicking first five eighth Jojo Karati. 

In the other Senior A grade match, Arorangi Bears defeated Takuvaine Reds 46-12. The Bears led 15-5 at the break.

In the women’s 7s matches, the Lady Bears played twice on Saturday, losing 0 – 24 to Avatiu Eels before beating newbies TKV Reds 15-5. 

Cook Islands Rugby Union (CIRU) will welcome some regional-level youth competition with the U19 Rarotonga taking on Aitutaki Rugby 15s in series of matches to be played on Tuesday and Friday this week.

Union development manager Ben Koteka said: “The CIRU vision was to create a youth competition pathway from home inclusive of our outer families so in 2019 the inaugural U19 Rarotonga versus Aitutaki Rugby 15s series was played in Aitutaki and this ended in a drawn 1-all series with Rarotonga winning  game one 15-6 and then Aitutaki reversed the ledger by winning game two 15–9.”

The 2021 U19 Rarotonga team is coached by ex-Cook Islands reps Turori Matutu, Terry Henry and Teokotai Tuaivi and managed by the “world famous” Aunty Lydia Nga.

The U19 Aitutaki squad have been training under the leadership of Graham Jefferies, Drollet Joseph and Len Toi. They will start arriving into Rarotonga from today.

The two teams will meet tomorrow in the opening match of the series at 4.30pm at Raemaru Park in Arorangi. The second match will be held on Friday at The Swamp in Avatiu at 4.30pm followed by the final match on Saturday at Victoria Park in Tupapa.


Tupapa Panthers: 27 (Tries: Junior Buresova (2) & Peniasi Dakuwaqa (2), Conv: Jojo Karati (2)  Pen: J Karati) Avatiu Eels 5 (Try: Penitito Lio);       U13 Rugby 10s: Eels 19 - 5 Bears, Womens 7s: Eels 24 – 0 Lady Bears, U16 Rugby 15s: Eels 38 – 5 Bears, Womens 7s: Lady Bears 15-5 TKV Reds, Senior A: Bears 46-12 Takuvaine Reds, Senior A: Panthers 27-5 Eels.


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