It is the second to last round before Baywide Premier semifinals and the winner of the Whakarewarewa-Te Puna match tomorrow will go a long way towards playing in them.

Te Puna were red hot during round one, finishing the round-robin unbeaten with a points differential of +388. That included a 46-14 win over Whakarewarewa on Matakana Island.

However, the second round has proven they are not unbeatable. Te Puna sit second, with three wins and two losses - at the hands of Tauranga Sports and Te Puke.

Meanwhile, Whakarewarewa have also won three from five and sit fourth, a single bonus point behind Te Puna and behind third-placed Tauranga Sports on points differential.

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With Te Puke eight points clear at the top of the table, the battle for the other three semifinal spots is an intriguing one.

Te Puna, Tauranga Sports and Whakarewarewa will be well aware that nipping at their heels, just four points out of the top four, are Greerton and defending champions Mount Maunganui.

Winning at home against Te Puna tomorrow would make Whakarewarewa's trip to Tauranga Sports the following weekend a lot more comfortable.

Whakarewarewa coach Boxer Smith said the club had worked hard to get to the position they are in.

"We talked a lot during the week about how this is our opportunity to consolidate that spot and really get some dominance and momentum heading into it. We know that top four is on the line, if we lose we still get a chance next week, but we want to try to get it this week with a home game in front of our families, supporters and community.

"We want to be able to go to Tauranga next week without having to worry about winning and hoping other teams lose. Our destiny is in our own hands," Smith said.

ROTORUA DAILY POST | Sport
1 Jul, 2018 12:50pm
4 minutes to read

He said his side learned a lot from their loss to Te Puna in round one.

"Te Puna are very structured and fast, they play quite an expansive game and move teams from side to side looking for mismatches. They're very technical and they play to their strengths - they're young, fit and fast.

"We're looking to target the collision area, definitely at rucks, mauls and set pieces. That's the place we want to try to attack them and nullify their strengths."

Te Puna have never made the semifinals and coach Aidan Kuka described this weekend's game as "hugely important".

"Playoff spots are still wide open for any team. We're looking to play to our strengths, we know Whakarewarewa are going to be physical and they've got some exciting backs.

"We'll look to really concentrate on getting our game right, we've had a couple of losses in the past few weeks, which was a good chance to re-check our game," Kuka said.

He said finishing top two and having a home semifinal would be nice, but the team had to concentrate on securing top four first.

"It's a very young group that we've got, so they're just excited about doing well as a playing group. We've played some pretty good rugby this year and we'd hate to see our first round efforts go to waste."

Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Club Rugby Draws
Saturday

Premier 1
(Premier kickoff 2.45pm, Development 1pm)
Rotoiti v Te Puke at Emery Park
Rangataua v Tauranga Sports at Te Ariki Park
Whakarewarewa v Te Puna at Puarenga Park
Greerton v Mount at Greerton Park

Premier 2
(Premier kickoff 2.45pm, Development 1pm)
Arataki Marist v Opōtiki at Arataki Park
Ngongotahā v Te Teko at Ngongotahā Domain
Marist St Michael's v Waikite at Marist Park
Rangiuru v Whakatāne Marist at Centennial Park

Division One
(Kickoff 2.45pm)
Kahukura v Waimana at Kuirau Park
Ruatoki v Poroporo at Tuhoe Park
Paroa v Murupara at Lawson Park
Pāpāmoa v Judea at Gordon Spratt Reserve

Division Two
(Kickoff 2.45pm)
Eastern Pirates v Eastern Districts at Neil Hunt Park
Katikati v Matata at Moore Park
Edgecumbe v Reporoa at Edgecumbe Domain