Bay of Plenty Steamers Tom McHugh, Matt Skipwith-Garland and Baden Wardlaw have more than the blue and gold hoops in common, they also share a bond that comes in red and black, too.

Bay of Plenty opened their Mitre 10 Cup campaign with a 50-7 thrashing of Otago in round one of the competition at the Tauranga Domain last Sunday.

Midfield back Skipwith-Garland says the team is happy with the result but know not to get ahead of themselves.

"All our hard work and preparation during the off-season, and to see things that we've been practising unfold on Sunday, it was quite satisfying. I'm really happy," Skipwith-Garland says.


"We can't really do anything without a strong base. Having that front row there, that's pretty much a Super Rugby front row, and then the loose forwards and locks carrying the ball, it was just out of this world."

This weekend, Bay of Plenty take on Waikato in round two with another home game at the the Rotorua International Stadium on Sunday.

"We don't want to jump the gun and get too ahead of ourselves. We've found out there is a lot to work on from that game. So, we will keep working hard and hopefully we can put on the ultimate show for our supporters and whanau."

Skipwith-Garland, McHugh and Wardlaw are also Whakarewarewa teammates and
Skipwith-Garland hopes to see a good crowd turn out.

"I know the Whaka supporters will get behind the team, and it would be great to see the rest of Rotorua get in behind us as well. Having a vocal backing definitely lifts the boys."

McHugh, who made his Steamers debut off the bench, says the bond of brotherhood within the Steamers and Whaka is an experience he didn't expect.

"I haven't experienced in all my life, such a tight-knit family kind of feel like I have here in the Bay. That has really captured me."

The 24-year-old says the team genuinely wants to work hard for one another and for their Bay supporters.


"We've spoken massively pre-season of how important the community means to us, we've got a few players from Rotorua and so is the coach. It's vital for us, to get out there and play for our entire union."

Wardlaw, a towering 198cm lock, says the side wanted to show they are a side prepared to put their bodies on the line for one another, and the score didn't really reflect the intensity of the match.

"In the first minute, I split my eyelid open. That was one of my first collisions. That was how hard it was. I just threw my body in there and I come off second best. But I didn't strap it until 20 minutes later. It was a real physical game."

The 29-year-old, credits senior players in the forward pack for the side's dominant display against Otago's forwards.

"Being behind guys like Aidan Ross and having an All Black in there like Nathan Harris, it makes our job easier. I just do what they want me to do."

It wasn't just the Steamers who did well at the weekend, more than $9000 was raised at the game for the BlueLight – Police Charity.

Game Details:
Bay of Plenty Steamers vs Waikato.
Rotorua International Stadium, Sunday, August 18, kick-off at 4.35pm.
Stadium gates open at 1.30pm.
Curtain-raiser: Bay of Plenty Ngawha vs Waikato Under-23, kick off 2pm.