Oceania Under 19s
People of Samoa were treated to a stunning match of rugby today, both teams chanced their arm and in the end the Cooks snuck home 15-14.
From the outset the Cook Islanders were intent to use their extra muscle, rolling mauls and pick and goes were the preferred choice. Inch by inch they carved territory and the game seemed all theirs after rattling up 2 fine tries.
Murphy Taramai got the scoreboard ticking after a quick penalty tap, Adam Tangata dotted down soon after and the plan looked like plain sailing.
About now is when the gutsy PNG boys joined the party, they were always eager to spin the ball and with outstanding player Jackson Pato in the centre of everything they got a bit of momentum. Play started to go their way and long passages saw them control the ball and make the Cooks do all the tackling.
Play was fierce and frantic as both sides flung themselves at each other, 1 player from each side however did get in trouble for foul play. While they were sunbathing on the side for 10 minutes this intriguing match leapt to life.
PNG’s first five Royce Bua then grabbed the match and set the crowd into frenzy. Back in defence in his own half he swooped on the ball and counter attacked and glided around some would be tacklers, intuitive enough he put a cross kick in, the bounce was perfect and Jackson Pato was on the end of it to aerially dive 8 feet in the air for a fine try.
This act almost put 14 kilo’s on each of the PNG players, all of a sudden they were competitive in the scrums and they were having a crack at the Cooks forwards. The big men look knackered and they were forced to dig deep and they knew they had a match on their hands.
PNG’s revival then changed a gear, right wing Henry Liliket plucked out a wild pass and darted over in the corner. The sideline conversion sailed over & the belief of PNG side went mountainous.
Both sides continued to play positive and highly entertaining rugby, tackles were great and the ball went from one half to the other in raids. Royce Bua again launched an attack from deep in his half, he sliced through and the game winning moment looked on, sadly for him his pass to an unmarked man was forward and the Cooks get out of jail card was used.
From now on the Cooks reverted to their game plan and muscle men. They played for precious territory and mauled their way further into PNG country. At the odd knock on the PNG team had a go, but from deep inside their 22 it was never going to come off. The patience and grinding Cooks then drew a penalty in front from the PNG infringement, up stepped Nadave Tereapi to close the deal, 15-14 it was.
In the end the Cooks won, it was a tad ugly at times; they also got the shock of their lives from a courageous unit.