When you lose your player/coach, not to mention inspirational leader, to a red card after 30 minutes, it is always going to be a tough day at the office.
That was the case for Rotoiti today as they went down 48-13 at home to Te Puna in round four of the Baywide Premier Rugby competition.
Te Puna flew out of the gate. They had all the possession in the opening two minutes and after some patient build-up play a neat passing move on the left gave winger Greg Stevenson an overlap and the first try.
Rotoiti warmed into the game and were right in it, trailing 12-6 after 30 minutes, when player/coach Wayne Ormond, the only Bay of Plenty Steamers captain to lift the Ranfurly Shield in triumph, was red carded for allegedly kicking an opposition player in the head.
Te Puna scored again from the resulting penalty and it was textbook stuff. They found touch inside the Rotoiti 22m, won the lineout and drove forward in a maul.
After a few phases hooker Poukohe Sorenson, fresh out of Rotorua Boys' High School, burrowed over to score and make it 17-6.
Despite being down to 14 men, the Rotoiti players did not let their heads drop and a try just before halftime, to winger Kaipo Brown, had them right back in the game at 17-13.
Te Puna did not make the final last year by chance and in the second half they started to show their quality. The longer the game went on the more the gaps opened up in the Rotoiti defensive line.
Te Puna halfback Ryan Tuhakaraina produced a brilliant solo effort, hitting gaps and slipping out of several tackles to score. Te Puna backed that up with another try shortly afterwards and with 25 minutes left to play led 29-13.
The away side went through a rough patch, inviting pressure from Rotoiti with several errors in their own half, but Rotoiti lacked the clinical finishing to make them pay.
Te Puna scored three tries in the final 10 minutes of the match to ensure the winning margin was an impressive one, securing their third consecutive victory.
Baywide Club Rugby Results
Rotoiti 13 Te Puna 48, Whakarewarewa 25 Tauranga Sports 42, Mount Maunganui 30 Greerton Marist 27, Te Puke Sports 40 Rangataua 27, Te Teko 31 Arataki 28, Opotiki 15 Rangiuru 45.
Rotoiti 0 Te Puna 65, Whakarewarewa 24 Tauranga Sports 22, Mount Maunganui 40 Greerton Marist 17, Te Puke Sports 62 Rangataua 19, Te Teko 17 Arataki 22, Opotiki 13 Rangiuru 17.
Ngongotaha 39 Judea 10, Whakatane Marist 12 Kahukura 52, Reporoa 26 Poroporo 5, Marist St Michael's 31 Paroa 13, Waikite 19 Ruatoki 12, Murupara def Papamoa by default.
Judea 7 vs Katikati 128, Greerton Marist 10 vs Matakana 45, Tauranga Sports 0 vs Eastern Districts 38, Te Puna - bye.
Reporoa 25 Waikite 24, Marist St Michael's 24 Taupo United 17, Ngongotaha 88 Eastern Pirates 0.
Ruatoki 19 Waimana 24, Edgecumbe 74 Galatea/Waiohau 5, Matata the bye.