"It is about the people."

This is how Steamers head coach Clayton McMillan responded to people gathering for the first of the Bay of Plenty Rugby team's trophy tours.

"The boys have had fun all year, and this is not about us," McMillan said.

Fans were at the centre of the players' thoughts after they had supported the team week in and week out. Photo / Getty Images
Fans were at the centre of the players' thoughts after they had supported the team week in and week out. Photo / Getty Images

On Friday, the team scored a 12-7 win over Hawke's Bay in the Mitre 10 Cup Championship final. Today, they took their celebrations to the community at Rising Tide in Mount Maunganui, with their trophy on display, signing autographs and taking photos.

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"When you are in a privileged position to be able to represent your province it is important to acknowledge those people who turn up on the rugby field with you week in week out," McMillan said.

READ MORE:
Bay of Plenty Steamers beat Hawke's Bay in Mitre 10 Cup Championship final
Bay of Plenty take on Hawkes Bay in the Mitre 10 Cup Championship final in Rotorua
Mitre 10 Cup: Bay of Plenty vs Manawatu - Steamers focused on task at hand
Bay of Plenty Steamers fans raring to go for home final against Hawke's Bay

Steamer Jeff Thwaites described the final as an absolute grind but said coming out and meeting the fans was a great sign-off to the season, "especially for those who have been with us through years where we haven't been so successful".

"I want to say thanks to the fans who are always right behind us, or who come up for a chat on the street. It's part of the reason we do what we do."

Chase Tiatia and daughter Monae,7, were excited to meet the fans who helped them bring home the trophy. Photo / Leah Tebbutt
Chase Tiatia and daughter Monae,7, were excited to meet the fans who helped them bring home the trophy. Photo / Leah Tebbutt

Chase Tiatia said it was great playing a home game and knowing the fans were shouting out for them.

"They're always giving off good energy we try to feed off.

"We're going to be giving the love around the bay to the best fans and I can't wait to meet them all."

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union community rugby manager Pat Rae encouraged fans to head to the different celebrations around the region.

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"It will be really cool to see a lot of people getting out there to those. Especially the younger ones, because they're the future of the game. I know a number of the Steamers have local connections which I think is a good thing," Rae said.

Bay of Plenty Steamers Trophy Tour
12pm Wednesday at Aquaheat (266 The Strand), Whakatāne.
3pm Wednesday at Eat Streat, Rotorua.

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