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Matangiki triumph

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Hammerheads Chris Saru breaks away from a tackle during the grand final of the HRUA 2018 top 4 play offs on Tuesday.
Matangiki won 16-12. Picture Taromane Martin.

MATANGIKI rugby club is the new champion for the 2018 Honiara Rugby Union Association (HRUA) top four play-off.

This came after defeating league proper winner, Henderson Hammerhead Sharks 16-12 in yesterday’s close-contested grand final showdown at the Town Ground Rugby stadium.

Matangiki led 7-0 after 20 minutes in the first half via a Moana Tepuke converted try but saw the score margin reduced 7-5 ten minutes later, Bobby Sade crossing the line for Sharks’ first try.

It remained 7-5 in favor of Matangiki when second half resumed. Hammerheads were struggling to get out their own half, Matangiki forcing a number of turnovers and mistakes out of the Sharks forwards.

“It’s a big achievement for the club.

Our club once won 10 titles in a row and to win again today is definitely a cause to celebrate,” Matangiki team captain Owen Teika said.

“I really appreciate the support from the fans, our church.

The old players we always try to show good rugby for our young boys.

“On this note I want to thank Hammerheads for a tough but very clean game today (on Tuesday).

“Definitely they have a lot of big forwards. But we know they are tall, bulky and strong so we had to play smart.

“We stuck to our game pattern or 1-3-3-1 and spread their forwards wide so they can run and eventually puff themselves out.

“In the semi final his kicking was spot on so we all decided Simon will continue with the penalty conversion duties.

“I don’t look at who the player is to give the responsibility too but I give it to who will get the win for our team,” Teika said.

Three more Simon Tepuke penalty conversions in the second half were enough to secure Matangiki the win beating HHH 16-12 in the grand final match yesterday.

“Obviously Matangiki was the better team today. We created one or two mistakes which led to the penalties and their first try.

“Playing catch up rugby is a bit tough but then again we only had ourselves to blame for not keeping our discipline and letting that one go,” HHH Head Coach Philip Campbell said.

Prize presentation for the winners will take place on a later date to be confirmed by HRUA executive.

Final HRUA top four play-offs standing:

1st place: Matangiki, 2nd place: HHH Sharks, 3rd place: TIA Warriors, 4th place: Avaiki rugby club.

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