Tokouso Samoa/Tonga Residents defeated Cook Islands XIII 20-6 at Aretere Park in Avatiu on Saturday. Picture: LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/23061825
Tokouso Samoa/Tonga Residents team claimed the inaugural Cook Islands Rugby League Association Tri Nations Series after beating Cook Islands Residents on Saturday.
In the final game of the Tri Series, the Tokouso
Residents team made their mark winning 20-6 over the Cook Islands XIII at
Aretere Park in Avatiu.
The win didn’t come easy for the Samoan-Tongan side as
they suffered a number of injuries and conceded penalties against them in the
The blustery conditions at Avatiu were also a force to
be reckoned with, making for a tough day in the office for both sides.
The two teams started the match strongly with some big
performances from their forward packs. In the Cook Islands camp, it was skipper
Toru Katuke who led the way forward with some massive hit ups followed by
Robert Heather and Eric Newbigging. On the other side, it was Tokouso’s Lokeni
Perenise, Longo Leuta and skipper Afereti Anau with the impactful forces.
Both sides were neck and neck on attack and it wasn’t
until the 35th minute that Tokouso’s Viiga Reupena capitalised on an error off
the Cooks attack play 45 metre out from their try line. Reupena made a line
break and showed blistering speed to score the opening try. The score remained 4-0
to Tokouso going into half time, following an unsuccessful conversion.
In the second half, the Cook Islands continued to give
away more penalties and Reupena wasted no time to cross the line with his
second try in the 43rd minute of the match. He extended his team’s
lead further with a successful conversion to take the score up to 10-0.
There were some valiant efforts to camp in Tokouso’s
half made by speedster Stephen Willis and Jason Potoru but indiscipline and
slippery errors became an issue for the Cooks side for the rest of the game as
Tokouso scored two more tries through Anau and Leuta to secure their win.
The score going into full-time was 20-6 to Tokouso
“Congratulations to the Samoan-Tongan side for
claiming the historic win and first Pasifika Titans championship. Team Cook
Islands followed in second with Tabusoro finishing the series in third place.”
Meanwhile in the final Conan’s Cup clash Town smashed holders Country 40-0. Country retained the Cup after winning the previous two matches 24-20 and 28-22.
Coach Acknowledgment awards (Pasifika Titans): Clive Nicholas - CI Resident XIII, Illai Bedini – Tabusoro, Meti Noovao – Tokouso.
Referee Officials Acknowledgements: William Taripo, Tua Ngaputa. Fair Play Awards: Savenaca Buresova - Pasifika Titans, Stephanie Nooroa - Conan Cup Alfie Manu Hitman Award: Robert Heather - Pasifika Titans, June Willie - Conan Cup: Most Valuable Player Awards: Jamie Gotty - Townside Titans, Courtney Napa - Countryside Redbulls, Toru Katuke - Cook Islands Resident XIII, Kostas Boe - Tabusoro Fiji CK Resident, Viiga Reupena - Tabusoro CK Resident.
Player of the Tournament: Julz Westrupp - Conan’s Cup, Afereti Anau - Pasifika Titans.
Runner up team of the Year: Cook Islands Resident XIII -Pasifika Titans, Townside Titans - Conan’s Cup.
2023 Team of the Year Champions: Tokouso CK Resident - Pasifika Titans, Countryside Redbulls - Conan’s Cup.