One more win is all that stands between four Baywide women's rugby teams and a spot in next week's final.

In Sunday's semifinals, table toppers Rangataua host Waikite and second-placed Rangiuru host Whakarewarewa.

Rangataua have been, arguably, the most impressive team in the Bay of Plenty this season - men's or women's.

They won six games of six in the round-robin and finished with an incredible points differential of +301.


Rangataua coach Paul Pou said: "This week we are preparing as if this is our final. We are playing last year's champs and, if we want to be in the final, we need to come prepared mentally for a battle which is what I am expecting.

"Our premier men's team will be behind our women's team this weekend as they have been all year. They will be preparing our kai [food] for our manuhiri [guests] after the game.

"The club have been supportive over the past two years and there has been huge learning for all involved with the journey thus far.

"To host a semifinal is always an honour and you want to be playing finals rugby in front of your supporters. There will be a huge vibe this weekend and the ladies, I am sure, would be very excited about this weekend also."

It has been far from smooth sailing for Waikite, the defending champions, this season, but they are well aware anything can happen in a knockout game.

Coach Shane Wilson said: "We will be concentrating on what we do well, which is to keep the ball in hand, using our big forwards and big centre to crash it up close. Our main focus will be to not give them any opportunities to counter-attack off our mistakes, so ball retention is the key focus.

"To remain composed, our ladies will simply take a breath, absorb any pressure that is applied to us and enjoy the moment before re-focusing on what our aims are for the match."

Meanwhile, Rangiuru have been another formidable force in this season's women's competition, their only loss coming against Rangataua.

For Rangiuru it has been a couple of losses off the field and a big anniversary which have fueled them. They lost one of their staunchest supporters, club president George Wehi Clarke, when he died at the end of last year, as well as their trainer Mark Edmonds, who died in June.


Both men are sorely missed by all involved which women's coach Jimi McLean said made it all the more special for the club having men's and women's teams playing in semifinals this weekend.

"It's for our president and for our women it's also for our trainer Mark Edmonds. It's also a celebration for us, it's 125 years, that in itself means a whole lot to the club.

"It's something more meaningful to play for I guess, even though we've lost two great people along the way."

While there were plenty of driving factors, McLean said the team was focused on themselves and the job at hand against Whakarewarewa this weekend.

"We're focused on what we need to do well this weekend. Whakarewarewa have definitely been there and they have some players back from last time we played them, I understand there are five or six players coming back and we expect them to be a lot tougher. They've been on song the last three or four games," he said.

Whakarewarewa coach Ron James expected Rangiuru to attempt to play a "pretty expansive game".

"They'll look to be pretty dominant up front too I think, it will be a pretty intense game I'd say. We've been targeting our set piece, our scrum especially, and if we can get parity with them there we've got the strong ball carriers and flare in the backs to match them.

"The players are really excited, going by Wednesday's training they're well and truly up for it. They're enjoying it and getting through their work really well. We're not going there to make up the numbers."

While the two semifinal winners will battle it out next week for the title, the losers will have to duke it out in a third and fourth play off, for seedings heading into the inaugural Battle of the Kaimai's the following week.

This weekend Waimana play Rotoiti for fifth place.

Baywide Premier Women's Semifinals
(Kickoff 1pm)
Rangataua v Waikite at Te Ariki Park
Rangiuru v Whakarewarewa at Centennial Park

Playoff for 5th
(Kickoff 1pm)
Waimana v Rotoiti at Waimana Domain