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Lady Panthers claims inaugural title

Monday 7 August 2023 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Rugby Union, Sports


Lady Panthers claims inaugural title
Lady Panthers after beating Lady Bears 38-0 in the women’s 10s final. 23080651

Lady Panthers thumped Lady Bears 38-0 to claim the Rarotonga Club Competition women’s 10s title at Victoria Park on Saturday.

Heading into the showdown, the Panthers who combined with TKV players defeated the Bears in both their earlier meetings this season.

In the final, the Lady Panthers was unstoppable, proving too strong for their opponents on the day, to win the inaugural competition.

The extra pace of the fleet-footed Panthers duo, outside backs Soko Tikoirakua and Sia Alicia, caused a major headache for the Bears defence throughout this match.

The best players for the Bears were hardworking Samantha Lockington and Tepori-A-Pa Heather. The post-match Vodafone Best & Fairest Player Awards went to Samantha Lockington (Bears) and Jamie Gotty (Panthers).

Cook Islands Rugby Union’s Ben Koteka said: “Congratulations to both teams, players and management, for their efforts to be included into Saturday Club rugby. Congratulations to the inaugural Women’s Rugby 10s winners the Lady Panthers too.”

The Panthers led 21-0 at halftime.

In the Under-19 final, after a slow start, Arorangi Bears were able to finish as comprehensive winners against Avatiu Nikao Eels 33-5.

The Eels tried hard but they were not helped by the loss, due to unfortunate injury, to some of their key players.

The best players for the Eels were busy loose forwards William Beddoes and Rennie Tamangaro, hooker Jordan Peraua and utility back Ryan Daniel.

For the Bears, right winger Samu Ritawa, who scored a hat trick of tries, number 8 Albert Etuete and strong running backs Troy Matutu and Nia Remuera Junior were top performers.

The Bears led at halftime by 19-5.

Koteka said: “Firstly, thank you Lord for blessing us with all the resources (including sponsors, volunteers and audience), all the helping hands, hearts and feet to run a short and sweet Rarotonga Club 15s season. Thank you to all the clubs and grades; Sea Eagles, TKV Reds, Panthers, Bulls, Eels and Bears – players, coaches and management.

“Thank you to our Grand Finals hosts the Tupapa Panthers for allowing us to use your wonderful sporting facilities and for supporting our Cook Islands 7s (men’s and women’s) fundraising initiative through gate and food sales.

“Thank you to our strong and courageous match officials and administration staff – with an open invitation to the ‘sideline critics/potential referees’ to pick up the whistle or flag and be part of the recruitment solution!

“CIRU are so grateful for all you love and support of this wonderful game, as we look to inspire and unify our community.”


Women: Lady Panthers: 38 (Tries: Soko Dikoiwakua [2], Cia Alicia [2], Kiana Sword-Tua & Vaine-Usa Aroita. Conv: Rima Browne [4]) Lady Bears: 0 

U19s: Arorangi Bears: 33 (Tries: Samu Ritawa [3], Maka Maui & Albert Etuete    Conv: Oscar Wichman [4]) Avatiu Eels: 5 (Try: Jordan Peraua).