Are Whakatane Marist the real deal in 2016 or just fortunate to have had such an easy draw so far?

The answer will be found in the featured match of round six at Rugby Park in Whakatane tomorrow, when the unexpected Baywide Premier front runners face their first top six opponents in Whakarewarewa.

Whakatane have won all five games in convincing style, taking a bonus point from each and racking up a division high 231 points while conceding 71. They lead the competition on 25 points ahead of the other unbeaten sides in Tauranga Sports (23) and Mount Maunganui Sports (22).

But visitors Whakarewarewa will be a different test all together.


They have a powerful scrum and are battle hardened after having played the other teams in the top six.

Whakarewarewa coach and former Bay of Plenty rep Kopae Irihei says "fortunately for Whakatane Marist they are in a good place, coming away with a couple of wins".

"For us we would have liked to have one win out of the five top teams. It would have been nice to pick up a win against the likes of Mount, Tauranga Sports or Te Puke. We came close but we couldn't get across the line, for us that is possibly the most disappointing thing.

"However out of those games we have taken a lot things. We have struggled in the past against these teams but we have made a lot of in-roads, especially with our scrum. In the past we used to get pushed around by these teams, but we seem to be the dominant one in these games, so that is definitely a positive."

Whakatane Marist coach Craig Edwards is well aware of their opponents' set piece strengths.

"They have a big, strong forward pack. Our key focus will be to try and get front foot ball. They are a top four team and we have to be on our game and step up again this weekend.

"We will try to work on our forwards this weekend, if we can get front foot ball for our forwards then our backs can keep doing what they have been doing the last few weeks."

At Tauranga Domain, Tauranga Sports host Rotoiti.

The local Western Bay derby between Mount Maunganui and Te Puna at Blake Park should be a high scoring try-fest. Arataki are at home at Grenada Park to sixth placed Rangataua Sports while Te Puke Sports and Greerton Marist travel away to Eastern Bay of Plenty to take on Paroa and Opotiki respectively.

In division one, Judea host Ruatoki at Maharaia Winiata Memorial Park, second-placed Rangiuru have Marist St Michael's at Centennial Park and Katikati are home at Moore Park against Kahukura.

Baywide rugby draws, Saturday:
Premier, Development: Whakatane Marist v Whakarewarewa at Rugby Park, Paroa v Te Puke Sports at Lawson Park, Opotiki v Greerton Marist at Princess Street Reserve, Tauranga Sports v Rotoiti at Tauranga Domain, Mount Maunganui v Te Puna at Blake Park, Arataki v Rangataua at Arataki Park.

Premier, 2.45pm; Development, 1pm
Division 1: Judea v Ruatoki at Maharaia Winiata, Rangiuru v Marist St Michael's at Centennial Park, Katikati v Kahukura at Moore Park, Poroporo v Te Teko at Poroporo Park, Waikite v Ngongotaha at Bellevue Road, Papamoa bye.