Panthers bare teeth

Friday September 27, 2019 Written by Published in Rugby Union
Seruvi Ralulu takes the ball at yesterday’s practice. 19092631 Seruvi Ralulu takes the ball at yesterday’s practice. 19092631

Pressure is building ahead of the Senior A rugby grand final between the Tupapa Panthers and the Avatiu Eels tomorrow afternoon.


Panthers are rushing finger-biter Sione Tokone back into the side, as they struggle to field a full team.

Rugby’s judicial committee has suspended him for two weeks, but Panther’s coach Darren Piri said Tokone would definitely play in the final.  Piri rejected the biting allegation, disputing the judicial finding.

Cook Islands Rugby Union president Ben Koteka said all parties were keen to move forward from the matter: Tokone was found to have bitten the finger of an Arorangi Bears player.

Piri said he had no concern about team discipline tomorrow: they had been training hard, ready to play their best finals game.

The Avatiu Eels had always been a challenge. “If my players feel confident on the day, then I will feel confident too.”

What could be their biggest challenge is making sure they have enough players. Piri says they need 15 players on the field and seven reserves, but at the moment they have only three or five reserves.

Other than some basic training, Piri is also set on finding a strategy to up their play and what sort of plays will work best for them during the final game.

Panthers captain Thomas Toa has been playing for the team for four years now and he’s completely calm about the finals.

The Panthers were training yesterday afternoon at Victoria Park, included some fun play between the team.  

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