Tupapa Panthers forward Olive Willie powers through Avatiu Nikao Eels defenders at Nukupure Park in Ngatangiia on Saturday. The Panthers won 20-19. MELINA ETCHES/23072310
The 20-19 loss to Tupapa Panthers in the nailbiting Rarotonga Club 15s round three clash on Saturday has served defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels with some key lessons, says their coach.
Eels were down 0-20 when they finally found their rhythm in the remaining 12
minutes of play at Nukupure Park in Ngatangiia.
a seven-minute period, the Clive Nicholas-coached Eels scored 19 unanswered
points with three tries and two conversions and had a chance to win the game
when they squandered a kickable 35 metre penalty goal at the hooter.
rued a number of missed opportunities saying his players “left it too late”.
were just not taking our chances and took wrong options, that was it, that’s
what let us down,” he said.
boys wanted to feel Tupapa and they kept waiting for their chance rather than
chasing the opportunities like Tupapa did.
scored more tries than them but Tupapa took every opportunity that came their
way, they took penalties from anywhere in the field, every corner and from any
distance. That was the difference.”
the Eels got the opportunity especially three pointers and conversions, they
were unable to convert them.
said the Panthers also punished them for their indiscipline after his side conceded
think Tupapa gave away one penalty for offside but we gave away about five
penalties for the same offence.
took some wrong decisions in the first half and we left it too late in the
the loss Nicholas remained upbeat of their chances as the side prepares to take
on Arorangi Bears in the knockouts this weekend.
were some key lessons learnt and we will take them onboard heading into the do
or die match against Arorangi. Nobody wants to play Arorangi especially when it
comes to do or die match and we are preparing for one hard match this
Panthers assistant coach Thomas Toa was relieved that his side managed to
escape the Eels in the dying stages of the match and come away with the slender
said some crucial changes to his forwards in the final quarter of the match
allowed the Eels to strike back.
had to make those changes because there were some injuries and that allowed
them to make a comeback in the game,” he said.
shouldn’t have allowed them to score in the first place because that try gave
them the momentum they needed.
message to the players was to retain possession and avoid mistakes. Both teams
made mistakes in the last quarter of the match and we both had some kicking
opportunities that we didn’t take.”
Panthers will play Titikaveka Bulldogs in the knockouts this Friday.
Panthers: 20 (Tries: Lua Tua, Kana Nga & Rudi Sita Conv: Jamien Iroa. Pen: Daniel Toa) Avatiu
Eels: 19 (Tries: Lua Faafoi Faosi, Ryan Daniel & Tama Nicholas. Conv: Viiga
Bulldogs: 16 (Tries: Rakon Marsters
& Bambridge Valoa. Pen: Timothy Tangirere ) Arorangi Bears: 16 (Tries:
Suli Koliloa & Nelson Ngaiorae. Pen: Basil Matapo ). This week’s matches
will be played at Victoria Park in Tupapa.