Rugby: Black Ferns star propels Arataki

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Black Ferns star Kelly Brazier guided Arataki to the Bay of Plenty women's title against Waikite at Arataki Park. Photo/Sharp Focus
Black Ferns star Kelly Brazier guided Arataki to the Bay of Plenty women's title against Waikite at Arataki Park. Photo/Sharp Focus

Arataki are the rulers of Bay of Plenty women's club rugby after a 22-12 defeat of Waikite in a repeat of last season's inaugural final.

The match, which threatened to boil over at times, saw the Arataki women impose their will on home soil to defeat the defending champions.

Black Ferns star Kelly Brazier, back after six months off following surgery to her hip and pelvis, led the way from first five-eighth in a commanding performance.

The home side turned with the wind at their back in the second half, but used it sparingly in overturning a 12-10 halftime deficit. Waikite were kept scoreless in the second spell, despite putting everything into their title defence.

Coach Mark Latimer, who returned to the club from Mount Maunganui to lend a helping hand after playing one match for Arataki as a youngster, said the side had learned lessons from a fortuitous draw earlier in the season.

"It was good to get that one back - it was 19-19 earlier in the season and we were lucky to get the 19," Latimer said.

"They had plenty of big ball runners and the team really needed to steel itself for that."

Latimer said Arataki came under pressure at the setpiece, preventing them from producing a clinical display similar to the 48-0 dismantling of Rotoiti the week before.

He said more depth was needed in the women's game at the club level, with only three teams playing with a consistent structure.

The focus now shifts to the representative season, with the two sides accounting for 18 of the 33 members of the 2014 Bay of Plenty Volcanix squad.

Those not picked in the Bay of Plenty women's squad will likely play a series of friendlies against secondary school teams.

The Arataki club is enjoying a purple patch, with the top two men's teams reaching the semifinals in their respective competitions.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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