The Rangiuru women's rugby team are looking like a force to be reckoned with this season.

On Sunday, at Puarenga Park in Rotorua, they cruised through the Ideal Buildings Baywide Women's Pre-Season Tournament unbeaten, including a 22-7 win over Rangataua in the final.

This pre-season they were also crowned champions at the Baywide Women's Sevens Club Tournament and Arataki 10s Tournament.

With Waikite and new women's club team Matata unavailable to compete in the tournament at the weekend, Rangiuru, Rotoiti, Rangataua, Waimana and host club Whakarewarewa battled it out for pre-season bragging rights. They were split into two pools, and played 30-minute games to find the finalists.


During pool play Rangiuru scored almost a point a minute to beat Rotoiti 29-0 and beat Whakarewarewa 22-0 to earn their spot in the final.

Rangiuru co-captain Ereti Williams said that after a tough couple of seasons the team had prepared well this year.

"We've been in pre-season for a couple of months now, so it's good to see our structures come together.

"We've had some of our team spend time in New Zealand squads, so they've come back into the fold. That experience is valuable because we have a lot of young players too, so it's good to see that mixture coming together," Williams said.

Rotoiti's Tamea Te Rauna makes a run against Rangiuru. Photo / Ben Fraser
Rotoiti's Tamea Te Rauna makes a run against Rangiuru. Photo / Ben Fraser

She said the young players kept the older women on their toes and they were eager to let them express themselves.

"We want them to play to our structure, but at the same time we want them to bring that flair. We try not to dim the fire that's within them.

6 May, 2018 1:12pm
3 minutes to read

"I think today we progressively got better as the day went on, our scrums were dominant in our two early games. We have a huge front row. We also have two New Zealand touch representatives playing at nine and 10 - with that combo comes a lot of experience, a lot of direction and a lot of communication, which is what you need."

Beaten finalists Rangataua were full of praise for their opposition with coach Paul Pou saying Rangiuru would be the team to beat this year.

"I think women's rugby is in a good place right now, overall some good rugby was played today.

"I thought our effort was there, in defence we weren't afraid to tackle and that's always something to work off. The structures are there but a little bit of skills let us down, but Rangiuru are a class team, they are definitely the team to beat. They have good depth and they all have good rugby heads on them," Pou said.

The tournament was a celebration of women in sport, with organisers encouraging those in attendance to wear something purple and running interactive activities throughout the day.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union women's development officer Lesley Elder said it was great to see so many players, coaches and supporters buying into the celebration.

"There was a good whanau vibe. I thought it was awesome - we had girls dyeing their hair, wearing purple socks and supporters showing up in dress-up, it was really cool.

"The play today was really good, what I did see was good quality and a good starting point for the season. I think holding a pre-season tournament is a really good opportunity for all the teams to come together and play some games leading into the competition," Elder said.

The Baywide Women's Premier competition kicks off this weekend. The draw is still being finalised.

Ideal Buildings Baywide Women's Pre-Season Tournament results
Sunday, May 6

Round One
Rangataua 14 v Whakarewarewa 5
Rangiuru 29 v Rotoiti 0

Round Two
Rangataua 12 v Waimana 12
Rangiuru 22 v Whakarewarewa 0

Round Three
Waimana 15 v Rotoiti 10

3rd/4th Play-off
Whakarewarewa 25 v Waimana 10

1st/2nd Play-off
Rangiuru 22 v Rangataua 7