The pride of Whakarewarewa will be on the line this Sunday when they take on Rangiuru in the final of the Toi Ohomai Baywide Women’s Premiership.
The clash to be played at Rangiuru’s Centennial Park at 1pm will feature the two most consistent teams in this year’s competition with Whakarewarewa in with a real shout to win the title.
The team put together close to their best performance of the season against Tauranga’s Rangataua in the semi-final played on Sunday.
After scraping past their rivals 15-14 at Rangataua’s ground last round it was a far more clear-cut 27-10 victory this time for Whakarewarewa.
Coach Ron James was obviously delighted with how well his team fronted up when it mattered.
“The girls just believed after the last game when we got up and beat them by one point and at the end of the day I think we wanted it more. I can’t really describe it but they trained really, really well on Wednesday and just took that attitude right through from against Rangataua.”
The Whakarewarewa forwards again dominated and set the platform for their exciting backline to take advantage of some good front-foot ball.
“We also have a squad that is healthy now. Halfway through the year we had a few injuries in the forwards but they are all starting to hit their straps now,” says Ron.
“With them being so dominant, particularly with the ball in hand, they are really complimenting what the backs are doing for us. We have Darren Stone on board now as our backs coach and he has just added that new dimension to their play. It is just a really good fit at the moment.”
The Whakarewarewa players enjoyed meeting up with two of Rotorua’s All Black legends in Buck Shelford and Hika Reid before the game.
Now all thoughts are on this Sunday’s final.
Rangiuru have been dominating their opponents in recent matches but Ron is confident his team can beat them.
“First game of the season we bumped heads together and came out with a 20-all draw. Last time we played them we were up 20 points to seven at halftime and then kind of lost our way when we had a girl sin-binned.
“But we learned lessons from that and I think it is going to be a really good game. To be honest it is the two teams that needed to be in the final.”
He added that the support from their Rotorua whanau has been a big part of the success for Whakarewarewa this season with good numbers expected to travel to Te Puke.
* Toi Ohomai Baywide Women’s Premiership final
Sunday, July 21
Rangiuru v Whakarewarewa
Centennial Park, No 3 Road, Te Puke