Rangiuru, under the guidance of player/coach Tanerau Latimer, have announced themselves as real Premier contenders.

They travelled to Whakarewarewa's Puarenga Park on Saturday, sitting second on the table with just one loss and having already conquered some of the giants of Baywide Premier division rugby.

Meanwhile, Whakarewarewa came into the match on the back of a 55-7 hammering of close rivals Rotoiti the week prior. The scene was set for am intense, hard-fought battle.

Few expected Whakarewarewa to take control and dominate on their way to a comprehensive 57-19 victory.


Whakarewarewa captain Doug Edwards said the club as a whole had a real focus on creating a whānau-orientated environment this season and the players were thriving off it.

"We work hard on our culture, really working on being community and family orientated being involved with our JAB rugby. We're loving it and our kids are loving it, you can see them here supporting us. Gone are the days of us putting ourselves up on a pedestal, we're part of one big family here."

Whakarewarewa spent the early part of the game under pressure but absorbed it and once they got on the front foot never looked back, racing to a 29-7 halftime lead.

"I think the intensity was there after that first initial lapse in concentration at the start. The boys eventually brought the heat and we saw that during the game.

Whakarewarewa captain Doug Edwards reacts to his side's convincing win over Rangiuru.

"We put a lot of pride in our defence on Tuesday and Thursday and to hold them after that little lapse, I thought we did well.

"The boys are slowly starting to gel, starting to work out how each other plays. It's tough to gauge anything from the opposition because they're a good team and they had a few players out but you can't fault our intensity and urgency."

Whakarewarewa have well and truly cemented their spot in the top eight now but Edwards said a win against Mount Maunganui in the last game of round one this weekend would be crucial in terms of building momentum for the second phase of the competition.

"We've got things to work on and we're in a fortunate position to be able to try those things against another top three team in Mount Maunganui. Just tightening up in our structure basically."

When asked if he took any positives from the game, Rangiuru player/coach Tanerau Latimer said "nope".

"The score reflects everything, I haven't got much to say. In particular our ruck time, we were pretty shady there and our turnover time.

"[Whakarewarewa were] awesome, they were wicked."

Next week, Rangiuru take part in the game many have been looking forward to, against their neighbours Te Puke who sit unbeaten at the top of the table.

"We've been trying to not look too far ahead and concentrate on the now. We have injuries, there's a bit of a contingent that are injured but they should be back on deck next week.

"We're just getting everyone running in the same direction this season, once we do we'll be fine. Today was a little blip on the radar and I told the boys it would be foolish not to go away from here and learn something."

With the on-field business complete, the two sides spent the night enjoying each others company at the Whakarewarewa clubrooms.

Whakarewarewa coach Boxer Smith said the two clubs shared some of the same ancestors.

"We're quite close whakapapa, both Tuhourangi, so it's a real honour for us to host Rangiuru and we'll put on a good night for them. It means a lot to us, we haven't been able to host them here for a while."

Baywide Club Rugby Results


Te Puna 94 Rangataua 3, Ōpōtiki 7 Tauranga Sports 62, Greerton Marist 81 Te Teko 21, Te Puke (win by default) v Rotoiti, Arataki 35 Mount Maunganui 32, Whakarewarewa 57 Rangiuru 19.

Premier Development: Te Puna 65 Rangataua 19, Ōpōtiki 10 Tauranga Sports 31, Greerton Marist 47 Te Teko 15, Te Puke (win by default) v Rotoiti, Arataki 36 Mount Maunganui 25, Whakarewarewa 32 Rangiuru 15.

Division 1: Paroa 0 Ngongotahā 25, Ruatoki 26 Murupara 7, Reporoa 38 Whakatāne Marist 28, Waikite 65 Pāpāmoa 12, Judea 22 Marist St Michael's 43, Poroporo 35 Kahukura 34.

Western Bay Senior Reserves: Te Puna 24 Matakana Island 26, Judea vs Greerton Marist (score not received yet), Eastern Districts 19 Katikati 52, Tauranga Sports — BYE.

Central Bay Senior Reserves: Waikite 7 Ngongotahā 32, Eastern Pirates v Taupō (score not yet received), Reporoa 17 Marist St Michael's 43.

Eastern Bay Senior Reserves: Edgecumbe 67 Matata 5, Waimana 36 Galatea/Waiohau 22.