Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Rugby: Bay teams show their mettle

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Greerton Marist's Monty Ioane tries to break a tackle in the 20-19 win over Arataki on Saturday. Photo / Andrew Warner
Greerton Marist's Monty Ioane tries to break a tackle in the 20-19 win over Arataki on Saturday. Photo / Andrew Warner

It is often how teams bounce back from defeat that best shows character and future potential.

Tauranga Sports and Mount Maunganui Sports were the big movers in the Baywide Premier competition on Saturday as they put last week's losses behind them to close the gap on leaders Whakatane Marist.

Whakatane did them both a favour by dropping their first points of the season. Their unbeaten run finally ended at the hands of a rapidly improving Rotoiti side at their picturesque ground beside Lake Rotoiti.

Tauranga looked anything but defending champions in losing to Rotoiti last week. But against a confident Te Puna side who led 7-0, they came home strongly on the back of John Dodd's boot to defeat the home side 38-19 and claim the Jordan Cup (WBOP Challenge Trophy).

Mount Maunganui went down to Te Puna at Blake Park last week but dismantled Te Puke Sports' defensive line and set piece in a 33-14 win at Murray Salt Stadium.

In Isaac Te Aute and Mason Walker the Mounties have arguably the two quickest players in the Bay and they showed that speed off to both score tries.

All Blacks Sevens player Te Aute may have left burn marks down the touchline after his spectacular 50m finish that finally ended the home team's chances.

Mount Maunganui's pack are often underrated but they dominated from start to finish.

Behind the pack halfback Jonty Wood and first-five Pera Gibbs had their own mini-Steamers trial against imported Wellingtonian Luke Campbell at halfback and Steamers pivot Dan Hollinshead.

All four performed well but with a pack going forward it was Gibbs who shone brightest, with some telling breaks and accurate goalkicking. The former Dunedin club player made Bay Development last year but injury curtailed his season.

Saturday was the first time he had faced up against Te Puke and he wanted a big game against Hollinshead.

"Obviously playing Dan was in the back of the mind leading into the week. I always knew getting our team structures right was always going to be the first priority and then maybe I could have a decent crack," Gibbs said. "I thought the boys played well and it probably helped me a wee bit to get some go-forward ball and that sort of thing. Our defence was awesome too when they had us under the pump at times."

Gibbs was also impressed with the performance of Te Aute and Walker out wide: "Isaac really showed his class with what he can do ball in hand."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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