After a rusty start to their title defence campaign, the Avatiu Nikao Eels are back in contention for the 2017 Rarotonga Club 15s title following a big win over the weekend.
The Eels thrashed Titikaveka Bulls 60-9 in The Bond Store match of the week at Teimurimotia Park on Saturday.
In what was expected to be a close match on a wet field, the Eels’ exhilarating pace and skill from their wingers Samu Alafua and John Penu, supported by powerful backs Vahe Leki and Tua Ravula, saw them run riot against a hapless Bulls outfit.
Not only was the Eels attack on song, their defence was resolute throughout the match, keeping the Bulls at bay and preventing them from crossing the try line.
The home side managed to get their points courtesy of their left-footed first five-eighth Bill Tangapiri who kicked three penalties.
The Eels led 22-6 at the break and maintained their momentum in the second half to seal the big 60-9 win.
Despite the loss, the Bulls put on glimpses of some fine performance from the likes of number eight Fortes Williams, centre Sailosi Nagi and loose forward Timo Tangirere.
For the Eels, the fleet-footed wingers get the credit for tearing the Bulls apart but it was the direction and leadership of the halves James Kiriau and Clive Nicholas alongside loose forward Li Ponini that kept them focused throughout the match.
In the other Senior A clash, Tupapa Panthers remain unbeaten after a 23-15 win over Arorangi Cowboys at Victoria Park. Both teams were locked at 10-all at the break.
Former champions Takuvaine Reds managed to hold off a persistent Ngatangiia/Matavera Dragons after managing a 23-19 win.
Dragons inside centre Mark Tuaati scored two tries in the match.
The Reds led 12-11 at halftime and escaped with a slender win at the full time.
Meanwhile the Bluesky – Rarotonga Primary Schools Viva Sevens Rugby Tournament will be held this Wednesday at Nikao Field and the BCI Stadium, starting at 8am.
There are over 50 teams registered in grades A, B, C, C Mix and D Mix for this tournament.
Over 500 active participants aged from 6-13 years will be competing in this daylong event.
“Viva Rugby Sevens replaces Rippa Rugby and is played without tags, seven touches with a kick-option – it is fast, fun and enjoyable. The ethos of Viva Sevens is participation (not competition),” said the Cook Islands Rugby Union chief executive officer Ben Koteka.
“This years tournament will be hosted by Avarua School, however, in order to run this community event, we are grateful for the support and assistance of many other people and stakeholders.”