Rugby: Te Puke's high climb at Mount

By Peter White

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Eru Smith-Wano clears from a scrum for Te Puke Sports against Tauranga Sports. Photo / George Novak
Eru Smith-Wano clears from a scrum for Te Puke Sports against Tauranga Sports. Photo / George Novak

Tomorrow's feature game between Mount Maunganui and Te Puke Sports at Blake Park has all the hallmarks of a club rugby classic.

Home team Mount Maunganui are in third place with three wins from five games played and will be looking to make up ground on unbeaten leaders Te Puke.

But that will be a difficult task as Te Puke coach Craig Jeffries believes his team is yet to play a full 80 minutes of rugby.

"I am very happy we have won five games but we haven't really hit our straps," Jeffries said. "Against Tauranga, we played half a game of decent rugby but were lucky to have 10 points at halftime. We started poorly in that game and Te Puna we started well, but finished poorly.

"It is a massive turnaround from last year in players. What we are doing is significantly different from what we were doing last year. We are just trying to accumulate points."

Jeffries says Mount Maunganui are always hard to beat at Blake Park and last year enjoyed a rare clean sweep of wins against Jeffries' boys.

"They beat us three times last year and, prior to that, we had the wood on them, so it will be a challenge. Also the Jordan Cup is on the line and means a lot to us so we want to retain that."

Meanwhile, Rangataua travel away to Rotoiti in a key clash for top four places.

Rangataua coach Paul Pou says Rotoiti are playing good rugby and their results show this.

"It is going to be a tough challenge to get the win at their home ground this weekend. If we can continue to build on our current form and execute the game plan well then we will be very competitive."

Rotoiti coach Kevin Lee says Rangataua is a team on the improve.

Bayfair Baywide draw, April 26

Development kick-off 1pm; Premier kick-off 2.45pm
Mount Maunganui v Te Puke Sports at Blake Park
Rangiuru v Tauranga Sports at Centennial Park
Rotoiti v Rangataua at Emery Park
Whakarewarewa v Te Puna at Puarenga Park
Greerton Marist v Opotiki at Greerton Park

Points: Te Puke Sports 22, Whakarewarewa Prems 18, Tauranga Sports 17, Mt Maunganui 16, Rotoiti 15, Rangataua 13, Sports Opotiki 10, Greerton Marist 9, Te Puna 3, Rangiuru 0.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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