Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Rugby: Baywide rugby teams chase playoffs

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The battle for top four play-offs spots is the major focus tomorrow with just two rounds left to play in all Baywide rugby divisions.

In the Premier 1 division Drake Mount Maunganui Sports are clear on 23 points and should host one home semifinal.

Rangataua Sports are second on 18 with Rotoiti (16), Tauranga Sports (15), Te Puke Sports (12), Te Puna (10) with Greerton Marist (5) and Whakatane Marist (5) to follow.

The match-ups tomorrow have Tauranga Sports at home to Te Puna, Mount Maunganui hosting Greerton Marist and Whakatane Marist travelling to Rangataua.

The clash between Te Puke and Rotoiti could be the closest match to pick.

Te Puke coach Craig Jeffries is keeping his team focused ahead of a season-defining game.

"There is a lot riding on it but the big picture doesn't really come into it at the moment as we are just trying to win the next game," he said.

"This season has been bloody hard with injuries and that sort of thing.

"Again we have lost three players from last weekend and we lost a couple from the week before so at the moment we are backs to the walls.

"Historically Pirates (Te Puke Sports) have been pretty good when their backs are to the wall so hopefully we can draw on a little bit of that and approach the game with a pretty positive mind set and have a crack at them.

"The boys will lift for (tomorrow) as home games are always really important to us. We like to protect our patch. We have to win and anything else is basically end of the season for us.

"We don't want to have to rely on any other teams' misfortune to promote us."
Te Puke and Rotoiti played out a thriller in round one with Jeffries well aware of the Rotorua team's strengths.

"Their forwards are generally really good and they have a couple of big game players in (lock) Baden Wardlaw and (flanker) Zak Hohneck. They are bloody good footballers and they base a lot of their play around those better players.

"So it has to be in the backs for us but their backline is not too shabby either. They are going pretty well and we were lucky to beat them in the first round."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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