Oceania qualifiers- Niue march into the final
Rarotonga greeted the Oceania qualifiers with a hot sunny day for running rugby. Ready to rumble were the hosts the Cook Islands and the visitors Niue, the prize was a place in the Oceania Cup final at the end of this month. Both teams were slow to warm up in this match and the first 40 saw them size each other up and the Niue team marched into the break with a 6 nil lead after 2 penalties.
With a cool sea breeze & some warm words in the changing room the tempo changed in the second half and the Cook's came out firing and camped in the Niue half for 15 minutes. This powerful play put some zing in the test match but unfortunately the home side came up with no points for their efforts.
The Niue defence held firm, at times they were tested to the brink, but held on for dear life to keep their try line clean from invaders. Play was a mixture of fierce, loose and structured play all melted into one and in the 65th minute the visitors extended their lead with a try to Luke Gibb.
This meant it was an 11 point lead with only 15 mins to go. The Cooks showed great character and never say die attitude and crashed over for their own try to Viliame Guiusuva in the 73rd minute. This was calmly slotted and the home crowd sensed a comeback in the tropical air.
3 minutes later though the come back turned into go back, as the Nuie team scored a great try to Russell Potoru in the 76th minute and sent the Cook Islanders back to halfway. This made it beyond doubt and the final score was 18-7.
Niue have booked their place in the Oceania final in a couple of weeks.