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Monday 3 April 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in League, Sports


Bears upset Panthers
Arorangi Bears’ Andre Iro (with the ball) makes a dash against Tupapa Panthers at Raemaru Park on Saturday April 1. Photo: LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/23040202

Arorangi Bears spoiled defending champions Tupapa Panthers’ brilliant start to round two of the Cook Islands Rugby League 13s premier men’s competition after pulling off an upset win over the weekend.

The Bears defeated the Panthers 22-18 in an entertaining clash at Raemaru Park in Arorangi on Saturday.

In a physical encounter, both teams tried to gain dominance early in the opening half but struggled with their defensive plays.

The Bears were first to strike to lead 6-0, much to the delight of the home fans.

The Panthers bounced back to level the score 6-6 before the Bears capitalised on their opportunities to lead 16-6 at the break.

After a very entertaining first half, the Bears continued their rampaging run with another try to extend their lead to 22-6.

Sensing defeat, the visitors regrouped to mount a comeback but fell short, going down 18-22.

Panthers’ loss allowed Avatiu Nikao Eels to regain their lead in the competition after a big win on Saturday against Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles at Raemaru Park.

Hurting from their loss to the Panthers a fortnight ago, the Clive Nicholas-coached Eels thumped the Sea Eagles 68-10. The side led 40-0 at the break.

In the women’s competition, Lady Bears pulled off a major upset beating the previously unbeaten Lady Panthers 24-10 on Friday at Raemaru Park.