Rugby: Vital round promises drama

By Peter White

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Te Puna's Pomare Pearson takes the ball up against Mount Maunganui. Photo / Andrew Warner
Te Puna's Pomare Pearson takes the ball up against Mount Maunganui. Photo / Andrew Warner

With just two rounds to play in the Bayfair Baywide premier competition, the final four finishing places are still up for grabs.

In what has clearly been an outstanding season so far, not just because of the evenness of the competition but the quality of rugby played, there is bound to be a final twist.

And it may come tomorrow.

Leaders Te Puke were cruising along in the lead until they ran into a Whakarewarewa team intent on maximum damage last Saturday. Te Puke's 17-67 mauling allowed Mount Maunganui and Tauranga Sports to close the gap to three points behind in equal second place, with Whakarewarewa a point further back in fourth.

Greerton Marist's excellent second round form has them three points behind Whakarewarewa in fifth place, and still in contention for a home semifinal if results go their way.

So, to tomorrow's games in this crucial penultimate round: Te Puke have another difficult assignment in Rotorua against Rotoiti, while in-form Tauranga Sports should come back from their road trip to Opotiki with the points in the bag.

Mount Maunganui will be too good for Rangataua at Blake Park, and so will Whakarewarewa against Rangiuru in Te Puke.

The match of the round is between Greerton Marist and Te Puna at Waipuna Park (off Kaitemako Road, Welcome Bay). Greerton Park are still out of contention but Greerton are two-from-two at Waipuna Park.

Te Puna have under-performed this season considering the talent in their squad and are due for an upset. But Greerton have so many attacking weapons across the park they should be able to run in a bonus point win and keep the pressure on Whakarewarewa.

If last week's second half try-fest against Rangataua is any guide, Greerton will be well worth watching tomorrow with attacking talents like Tino Nemani, Tyrone Lefau, Leroy van Dam and English import Walter Downey.

Bayfair Baywide Premier draw: Development 1pm, Premiers 2.45pm
Greerton Marist v Te Puna, Waipuna Park, Welcome Bay; Mt Maunganui v Rangataua, Blake Park; Rangiuru v Whakarewarewa, Centennial Park Te Puke; Rotoiti v Te Puke Sports, Emery Park; Opotiki v Tauranga Sports, Princess Street Reserve.

Points: Te Puke Sports 58, Tauranga Sports 55, Mount Maunganui 55, Whakarewarewa 54, Greerton Marist 51, Rotoiti 33, Te Puna 29, Rangataua 26, Opotiki 26, Rangiuru 14.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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