The Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Men's Club Rugby premier final is set to be a cracker of a match this weekend. Two strong Tauranga teams have been gearing up to battle, with an army of supporters backing either side. Reporter Caroline Fleming spoke to some of those behind the scenes and what they were expecting the atmosphere to be like for arguably Tauranga's biggest rugby match of the year.
The Baywide rugby premier final between Te Puna and Tauranga Sports this weekend is being hailed as "one for the history books".
The Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Men's Club Rugby premier final will take place this Saturday at Te Puna and supporters of both teams are gearing up for a big one.
Preparations had already begun at Te Puna Rugby Club on Thursday, with treasurer Donna Bidois saying they were expecting more than 2000 supporters to watch the final.
She said a hangi to feed more than 250 people was being prepared, and supporters were getting their lungs ready to blow up thousands of blue and black balloons.
The club was extremely "community and whanau orientated", she said.
Relatives and supporters were flying from Australia to watch the big game.
This year marked the club's 100th year, she said, so it had always been a dream to get to the final on home turf this year.
"Our community bleeds black and blue, and those boys are ready to go to war for their colours."
She said no one could sleep and the game was all anyone could talk about.
Te Puna vs Tauranga Sports - who will win?
The boys would be playing the game for all the players and supporters who had passed, and she said she was sure they would all be looking down in support.
Tauranga Sports club president Warrick Jackson said fans would be starting early. The club's bar would open at 11.30am and busloads of supporters would then head out to the Te Puna grounds in the afternoon.
Jackson said they were expecting more than 300 of their fans to come out on the day.
Tauranga Sports had set up a large marquee at the field for their fans and supporters were asked to come down in their blue and yellow jerseys, he said.
He said it would be hard to compete with the blue and black atmosphere, but "at the end of the day, it's all about what happens on that field".
Social media was also abuzz, with many people changing their profile pictures to a Tauranga Sports Raptor symbol or a stamp with the Te Puna blue and black army scribbled across it.
Te Puna Rugby Club chairman Charlie Cook said the final was "a dream come true for a lot of us out here".
He said the team had been at the bottom of the ranks for a long time,
However, over the past few years, the players had begun believing in themselves and climbing to the top.
The atmosphere on the day would be "one for the history books", he said.
All the life members would wear their number ones forming a "guard of honour" as the boys run out and the community had planned a riveting haka, he said.
"This will be the biggest day the club has ever seen."
Cliff Honey, a father of one Tauranga Sports player, said he played in some finals himself previously and was excited for the team to get there again.
He said the players had clicked so well throughout the season and both teams deserved to be there.
Sean Lett, the Te Puna Rugby Junior Club president, said young players would be down at the game to support the home team.
James Black, whose son is a junior player for Tauranga Sports, said it was important young players watched the game.
The game will kick off at 2.45pm at Maramatanga Park on Saturday.