New Whakarewarewa coach Ngarimu Simpkins wants his team to play open, fast-running rugby this season ahead of their opening game of the 2014 season.

All eyes will be on Rotorua this weekend as the 2014 Baywide premier rugby season kicks off one week early.

The Baywide premier season is not set to start until next weekend but Whakarewarewa will play their first game against Opotiki at Puarenga Park tomorrow.

The match was originally scheduled for much later in the season but the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union has approved the match to be played tomorrow.


Simpkins, who has taken over as head coach from Maurice Stone snr, said it suited the club to play this weekend as they had a really busy schedule later in the year.

He said they expected Opotiki to be really strong up-front and he wanted his players to simply work on what they had learned during the last few months.

"This is a new-look team for Whaka, so basically I just want them to be patient and get out there and do some of the things they have learnt over the last couple of months," he said.

He said the club has a strong Maori and Pacific base and they wanted to play some good "Maori rugby" this season.

"What I mean [by that] is I want us to play open, fast-running rugby," he said.

Simpkins said Opotiki are a really tough side and the match tomorrow would give him a good gauge of where his team were at.

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Simpkins said there was a good atmosphere in the club leading into the season and they wanted to make the Whaka community proud.

"We are a community team. We are playing for all our families."

Meanwhile, next weekend will see Rotorua's two premier clubs, Whaka and Rotoiti, clash at Emery Park.

Rotoiti will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the outcome of tomorrow's match as they prepare for the derby game.

This season will see the introduction of the premier development grade. Each premier club must field a senior development team as well as their first team.

The Whaka versus Opotiki development teams will face off at 1pm followed by the premier game at 2.45pm.