Skip to main content

The Pacifique Treize comeback fell dramatically short after the Mackay Cutters Cyril Connell Challenge side held off a late challenge to record an 18 – 16 win at Tiger Park in Mackay’s western suburbs on Saturday.

With less than five minutes left in the clash, the Pacifique Treize squad found themselves trailing by eight in their debut game before New Caledonian outside back, Ezekiel Fetaulaki, found his way over the line and halfback Aymeric Papailhau added the extras to close the gap to two.

Despite throwing everything at the home squad, the Cutters’ experience proved the difference in the closing moments of the game, shutting down the opportunity for the touring squad to record victory in their debut match.

Kicking off in hot and humid conditions in northern Queensland, the Pacifique Treize squad thrived in the sweaty conditions surprising the more experienced Mackay squad with the first two tries of the game.

Albi prop forward, Leo Ricard, made history when he barged over, scoring the first ever points of anyone in Pacifique Treize colours, with Noumea based winger, Ryan Weatheane, crossing shortly after, capitalising on a line break created by fellow New Caledonian, Giovanni Sao, to give the visitors a 10 – 0.

The Cutters hit back before half time to level the score at 10 – all at halftime, before the home team extended their lead to eight points early in the second half with two more unconverted tries.

Despite falling short in the end, head coach Laurent Garnier, couldn’t have been prouder of the squad.

“I couldn’t be prouder with how the team came together and competed against Cutters today.”

“With the squad only coming together a week ago, the focus for the opening fixture was very much around building cohesion in the squad and instilling pride in the jersey. The players certainly did that and more in very hot and humid conditions”

The squad will now regroup before their next game against the Townsville Blackhawks on Tuesday night at Jack Manski Oval. The Blackhawks are current reigning northern division Cyril Connell Challenge champions, after the side won five of their six matches in 2023 and are coming off a 16 – 6 win over the Cairns based Northern Pride over the weekend.

Leave a Reply