Going into their Baywide final against Tauranga Girls' College, the Rotorua Girls' High School first XV had all the motivation needed.

They were determined to finish the season on a high for their long-time fitness coach Mark Edmonds, affectionately known as koro Mark, who died in June. There is little doubt he would have been proud of the girls' performance as they ran out 27-17 winners to claim the Division 1 title.

Rotorua Girls' opened the scoring in the first 10 minutes, on the back of a break down the left wing by Allannah Tapara. After several phases on attack inside the Tauranga Girls' 22m, first five Te Aomihi Paul threw a dummy and raced through a gap to score.

Rotorua Girls' High School 1st XV celebrate at the final whistle. Photo/Ben Fraser
Rotorua Girls' High School 1st XV celebrate at the final whistle. Photo/Ben Fraser

Minutes later they added a second try, this time to Tapara, who was wreaking havoc with her speed on the left wing. With neither try converted, Rotorua Girls' led 10-0.

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Fifteen minutes into the game Tauranga Girls' hit back after some patient build-up play. After sucking in defenders on the right they shifted the ball left where centre Caitlin Robb showed great strength to crash over and score, reducing the deficit to 10-5.

Tauranga Girls' had the momentum for the last 10 minutes of the half, but Rotorua Girls' held strong and kept them out. Having absorbed the pressure, the home side broke out of their own half and showed impressive support play to put centre Kimoana Niupalau one-on-one with the fullback, who she steamrolled to score her side's third try. Rotorua Girls' led 17-5 at halftime.

Tauranga Girls' College first XV player Caitlin Robb makes a tackle during the Division 1 final against Rotorua Girls' High School. Photo/Ben Fraser
Tauranga Girls' College first XV player Caitlin Robb makes a tackle during the Division 1 final against Rotorua Girls' High School. Photo/Ben Fraser

Tauranga Girls scored early in the second half through prop Rose Togotogorua and with the score at 17-10, a comeback was in their sights.

Rotorua Girls' came back at them strongly though and started to dominate territory and possession. They extended the lead back out to 22-10 with a try to their ever-dangerous fullback Kahlia Kiel, who was in Malaysia last week representing New Zealand in touch rugby.

Rotorua Girls' extended the lead again, to 27-10, with the try of the game to centre Niupalau. Flanker Finesse Johanssen made a strong run up the middle before producing a perfect offload to put Niapulau over the line.

Tauranga Girls' Togotogorua scored her second try late in the game, but it was little more than a consolation as Rotorua Girls' claimed the title.

Rotorua Girls' coach Jimi McLean said he was pleased with the result.

"The girls have put a lot of effort into this season and we had a motivator as far as the passing of our trainer and coach Koro mark as they refer to him. He was awesome as far as this team is concerned, he was a lot of the drive behind our result today, we did it for him.

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"We talked this morning about drive, passion and attitude - they did those things well today.

"Unfortunately in this competition there's only really us and Tauranga as the standouts, hopefully Bay of Plenty Rugby keep promoting and encouraging secondary school girls' rugby so it can grow."