Fuelled by emotion, Rangiuru dominated Whakarewarewa to capture the Baywide women's rugby title on Sunday.
The 29-0 score of the Toi Ohomai Baywide Women's Competition final at Te Puke's Centennial Park was undoubtedly harsh on the visitors who were more than a supporting act in a superb showcase of women's rugby. The only people that matched the players' determination for 80 minutes was the few hundred in the crowd as they cheered every thunderous hit, of which there were plenty, and every slick sidestep.
Immediately after kickoff, it was apparent there was an entertaining game ahead as bone-jarring tackles jolted possession, but did not diminish the bravery of the ball carriers. It was a tone that stayed throughout the game.
After leading 5-0 at halftime, Rangiuru took their chances in the second half to run away with the game. When the fulltime whistle went, the Rangiuru bench cleared as yelps of jubilation and hugs were dolled out. A tired Whakarewarewa congratulated each other more sedately, but with no less pride.
Rangiuru captain Christie Yule says the result is four years in the making.
"There was emotion going into the game in terms of families that had lost members that were supporters of our team and there was the emotion that it had taken us four years to have a home final. We had played well all season but could not let this one slip," Yule said.
"It [the final score] definitely wasn't reflective of the game. I am proud of the fight we came with, the first 40, it was really close. That second 40, we came out hissing and took it to another level, we knew it was going to be a battle and we just had to hang in there."
With a slim lead to start the second half, a quick one-two with tries to Rangiuru's Sapphire Tapsell and winger Chrysler Wineti provided the crucial moments of the match.
It was a period of pressure Whakarewarewa would not recover from as Rangiuru scored two tries in the final 10 minutes to extend the scoreline.
"Both teams were deserving teams," Yule says.
"They both worked hard and both had forward packs that wanted to take the ball and make the hard hits and send it to their electric backs – what more could you ask for in women's rugby?"
The win went some way to healing Rangiuru's pain from last year's one-point loss in the final against Rangataua.
"It think we have put that one behind us," Yule says.
"We have a massive platform to move forward with. I hope we have inspired young girls and future generations to come and get involved, even if it is not with Rangiuru."
Whakarewarewa never wavered and were searching for a try right until the final whistle and co-captain Antoinette Kereopa says she is proud of what her team achieved.
"We worked really hard and for 80 minutes, but it was Rangiuru's day today and they deserved it. Our main focus today was to play for the full 80 minutes no matter what happened. At fulltime we re-focused and talked to the girls about keeping their heads up, we made the final and I am proud of the girls for making it that far.
"They enjoyed the final, winners are always grinners, but the girls worked hard all year to get there, we had a few ups and downs but they are hungry and wanting to come back to the final next year."