The stage is set for a cracking culmination of the women's club rugby season.

The Toi Ohomai Baywide Women's Competition final will be contested between Rangiuru and Whakarewarewa at Te Puke's Centennial Park, kicking off at 1pm tomorrow. Carrying the favourite tag as top qualifier is Rangiuru, who are keen to erase the memories of a one-point loss to Rangataua in last year's final.

Standing in their way is an unpredictable Whakarewarewa, who beat Rangataua to reach the final, and they are the only side to come close to beating Rangiuru this year. The two teams played out a 20-all stalemate in the first round and two weeks ago Whakarewarewa had a 13-point lead before Rangiuru stormed back to claim a 39-20 win.

But previous results and seedings matter little tomorrow as both sides need just the 80 minutes, or possibly more, to claim glory.


Rangiuru captain Christie Yule says the team is ready for the finale.

"We got ourselves to this point so we are pretty excited to represent our club. This has been four years in the making. Some of the girls have been there since day one," Yule says.

"We are going to carry on business as usual on Sunday, however we have had many conversations about going back to square one, finals is different. We look at it as we would any opposition and target weaknesses.

"The pressure comes more from ourselves, we want to showcase what women's rugby is."

Yule says Rangiuru has always been a young team and she is looking forward to seeing what they can do in the final. She says there are a lot of similarities between her side and Whakarewarewa particularly up front where both packs will want to impose themselves.

"We have never had the ability to kick the ball, and we have really worked hard on that this year. It means we can kick down field and play territory. We are lucky we have a lot of girls involved in the Volcanix squad, so we have a strong forward pack. We have girls who have their heads screwed on and are not afraid to take the ball up."

Rangiuru coach Jimi McLean says the top qualifier tag is not necessarily a good one.

"We have to enjoy the occasion and it is the pinnacle of any team to get there. We can't put too much stress on it or you get too over-hyped," McLean says.


"You go in there with a target on your back, in saying that they have worked hard and they have to live up to that reputation. For any team that has made it this far, it is about the hard work they put in off the field. It is plain and simple - hard work on the training paddock and applying that on the field.

"We have to play smart, we have to do what is best for us and this year we have worked hard on our defence. We set aside time on our calendar just to work on defence, from a whole lot of situations."

Whakarewarewa co-captain Antoinette Kereopa, who leads the team alongside Kaci James, says her side took heart from the loss to Rangiuru two weeks ago, but they have to play that way for 80 minutes.

"The girls are excited and nervous, it makes us want to get out there and support each other," Kereopa says.

"Rangiuru are a very good team and they have put in a lot of work behind the scenes. We are unpredictable but we will try and stick to our structures as much as we can. We have a strong forward pack and an elusive backline."

Kereopa is a beacon of commitment to her team, driving from Turangi for training and games. As there was no rugby in Turangi, she was able to connect with Whakarewarewa last year.


"I think our team culture is built well this year. The girls get together one Saturday and have dinner and build that team bonding. During the week if we need to talk anyone they are there, they know we have their back."

Whakarewarewa coach Ron James says there is belief in his side.

"At this stage of the season they are playing to their potential and the girls are stepping up to the mark and enjoying their rugby. The young girls that have come into the squad are starting to understand things and they have the talent. We just want to enhance that," James said.

"We know they [Rangiuru] have a good set of forwards and their backs are exciting. It will just come down to who wants it most."

James pointed to a sharp set-piece as a potential weapon in Whakarewarewa's arsenal.

"The last few weeks we have grown really well and they have confidence from it. It is great to sit back and see it. It also about enjoying the moment, they understand they have the ability and belief, and they get inspired by each other. At this stage not too much coaching going, they just get out there and do it."


Baywide women's competition final:
Rangiuru vs Whakarewarewa.
1pm, Centennial Park, Te Puke.