It is a new year and a new rugby season, but there is no escaping the fact that last time Rotoiti met Mount Maunganui they were hammered 41-8 in the 2017 Baywide Premier final.

This weekend they meet again, at Rotoiti's home ground Emery Park, but there is a lot less on the line as both sides have secured a top eight finish going into the second phase of the competition.

With two games left in round one, Rotoiti sit in fourth place, six points ahead of Mount Maunganui in sixth. Rotoiti coach Richard Francis said last year's final was in the past and his players were focusing on producing a good performance for their home crowd tomorrow.

"We're looking forward to getting home and hosting the Mount. It's a different year and different teams, that was all different circumstances last year.


"[The Mount haven't] been tracking that well either. They're probably targeting certain games, knowing they're in the eight now, so you can't read too much into their results," Francis said.

Last weekend Rotoiti faced a tough trip to Te Puke, where they lost 22-10. They were without captain Baden Wardlaw and first five Whakataki Cunningham that day, but both return this weekend.

"The conditions weren't good for running rugby, so it was whoever played to the conditions better and Te Puke, in the first half, played better, kept us in our half and the boys struggled in the wet.

"We want better control this weekend and we're hoping it's not raining so we can play some running, entertaining rugby," he said.

Meanwhile, Whakarewarewa will be looking to bounce back from a 23-16 loss to Greerton when they travel to play Tauranga Sports this weekend. They earned a bonus point in that loss which is enough to secure a top-eight spot.

Whakarewarewa's Matthew Garland is hit hard in a tackle against Greerton last weekend. Photo / Stephen Parker
Whakarewarewa's Matthew Garland is hit hard in a tackle against Greerton last weekend. Photo / Stephen Parker

Coach Boxer Smith said the players had bounced back well after the loss.

"We picked up on a few things, we didn't turn our possession and territory into points, so that's a big focus. We're also looking to build our cohesion going into the second round and working to our strengths," Smith said.

He said travelling to Tauranga Sports was "definitely a tough trip", but the side is bolstered this week by the return of Bay of Plenty Steamers and Samoan representative prop James Lay as well as debutant prop Tom McHugh in the front row.


"We know they'll be really well structured and super fit, like the majority of teams from over that side. Set piece will be important, if we can find some dominance there.

"James is coming back from overseas. Him and Tom have both played for Auckland, James is an international, so hopefully they help with that solid set piece and the physical side of things," he said.

Meanwhile, Ngongotaha produced an impressive performance in their 15-3 loss to Mount Maunganui last weekend. Unfortunately, it was not enough to avoid missing out on the top eight, meaning they will play the second half of the season in Premier 2.

This weekend they play Whakatane Marist, who have also missed the eight.

Coach Jodie Wharekura said he wanted his side to be patient and execute when provided the opportunity on attack.

"Our main focus will be to utilise the great platform that our forwards have been setting in past weeks, but ensuring we show composure, not to panic when Whakatane are applying pressure and be patient. When on attack, we need to attack with accuracy when opportunities arise," Wharekura said.

Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Club Rugby Draw
Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier
Premier kickoff: 2.45pm
Development kickoff: 1pm
Tauranga Sports v Whakarewarewa at Tauranga Domain
Greerton Marist v Arataki at Greerton Park
Rotoiti v Mount Maunganui at Emery Park
Te Puna v Rangataua at Maramatanga Park
Paroa v Te Puke Sports at Lawson Park
Ngongotaha v Whakatane Marist at Ngongotaha Domain

Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Division One
Kickoff: 2.45pm
Ruatoki v Waimana at Tuhoe Park
Papamoa v Murupara at Gordon Spratt Reserve
Marist St Michael's v Kahukura at Marist Park
Rangiuru v Opotiki at Centennial Park
Waikite v Te Teko at Bellevue Road
Poroporo v Judea at Poroporo Park