Rangiuru's women's rugby have taken the first step in what they hope is a landmark season.
Rangiuru won the women's title at a 10-a-side tournament at Te Teko on Saturday, beating Mount Maunganui, Waimana, Waikato University and Ōpōtiki. Rangiuru team manager Ereti Williams says Ōpōtiki withdrew from the final game as a result of the day's injury toll.
"We are grateful Te Teko put a women's grade in and it is one of the best tournaments in the Bay of Plenty," Williams says.
"It is a little bit difficult with the format. Teams like Waimana have a big forward pack and like to take it straight up, so we know we have to try to get it wide."
"It is a good mix of sevens and 15s. It was an opportunity for our forwards to get on the paddock without the fear of getting run around and it was also an opportunity for our rookies."
Rangiuru were beaten by one point by Rangataua in last year's Baywide women's final and Williams says the tournament in the Eastern Bay is a good way to continue their pre-season work.
"The feedback from our girls last year was they wanted more pre-season games. We were happy to support any club in the Bay who want to give us games. It is always difficult in pre-season to get that structure in place and get the game time. That is what we aim to do and also let the girls they have to fight to earn a spot in the team."
Te Teko spokesman Anthony Studer says the tournament is modelled from the 10s tournament held at Whakatane's Rugby Park last year. He said the club wanted to stage something in the small community with the hype of rugby back in the town.
Te Teko won the men's division, while Ruatoki were runners-up.