It started with the under-9s. And as the rain came down on Arorangi field this weekend, team after team, young and old, women and men, celebrated the return of full-contact rugby.
The Town v Country Rugby Festival kicked-off with the Juniors – under-9, under-11 and under-13 girls and boys playing Quick Rip rugby.
The under-16s match was won by Country, 12 – 7. Country’s tries were scored by Troy Matutu and Henry Mataio. The Town try was scored by their fleet-footed winger Terry Akava.
Country also won the Under 19s by 5-0. The lone Country try was scored by Amani Ama.
The Senior Womens Quick Rip 7s match was won by Country again, 25-5.
Outstanding performances included Paeru Ngaroi and youngsters Ngametua Terepita and Teatarua Raiba for Town, and Ngamata Moekaa and Demzel Rongokea for Country.
Finally it was time for the Senior A match. And in this closely-fought game, Country led 8-7 at halftime, before again proving too strong, running in another try in the second half to take out the match 15-7.
The Country tries were scored by John Vano and super-sub Daniel Tonorio; a penalty and conversion were both kicked by 1st 5/8 Matt Maui.
The Town points were scored by Clive Nicholas.
Cook Islands Rugby Union development manager Ben Koteka expressed his thanks to those who had enabled the sport’s return to the field.
“Meitaki ma‘ata to the Arorangi Rugby Club for hosting last week’s Town v Country matches,” he said.
“With Country winning the majority of the matches, this will set up an exciting series of Town v Country matches this Saturday.”
This weekend, July 18, the teams will meet again, this time on the Town turf of Avatiu field. The draw and playing times will be announced later this week.
##Friendly reminder to all the club delegates to please attend our weekly Monday 12noon Club meetings at the Punanganui Market.