Te Puna players celebrate a try against Rotoiti at Emery Park on Saturday. Photo / Ben Fraser 130419bf12.JPGClub Rugby
By David Beck
Hosting last year's finalists Te Puna, Rotoiti knew they would have to be at their best if they were going to have any chance of winning on Saturday.
They were right in the game, trailing 12-6 after about 30 minutes, when player/coach Wayne Ormond was shown a red card for allegedly kicking an opposition player in the head.
That put Rotoiti on the back foot and, although they showed great character in their attempts to stay in the game, only down 17-13 at halftime. However, Te Puna eventually found top gear and cruised to a 48-13 win.
After the match, Ormond said an opposition player was holding his foot in the ruck and when he tried to pull it free he accidentally caught him. For that reason he did not think it should have been a red card but he could see how the referee might have seen it that way.
"As he's released my foot, it's connected with his head, I was lying on the ground. I'm not the type of person who would deliberately do that sort of thing. Sometimes I come across aggressive, but there are things you do and things you don't do."
He was proud of the way the team kept their heads up despite facing an uphill battle.
Rotoiti now have a record of two wins and two losses for the season.
"For 55 to 60 minutes we were awesome, we stood up and we had a bit of a game plan to try to counter Te Puna.
"Basically for us, it's coming down to numbers and guys at training. But, in terms of effort, apart from that last 20 minutes, it was good. Te Puna are a good team, they'll be semifinalists," Ormond says.
Ormond played 65 games for the Steamers from 1999-2005, scoring 11 tries. He is the only Bay of Plenty Steamers captain to lift the Ranfurly Shield in triumph. Now, in his mid-40s, he is having the time of his life running out for Rotoiti each week.
"I love this, this is my favourite place in the world to play rugby, I'm happy as. We've got Tauranga Sports next week and I just want to see what we did at the beginning but hold it for a bit longer."
Meanwhile, after losing 41-15 to Te Puke in round one, Te Puna have gone on to win three games on the trot. Head coach Aidan Kuka says he knew his side would be going to Rotoiti for "a tough battle".
"That's exactly what we got, it took the best part of 70 minutes to really dominate. Rotoiti were down to 14 men for a large part of that game so they were courageous I thought. They definitely stood up to our guys - hats off to them. Especially when it's their inspirational coach, one of the legends of the club."
He says it was his side's dominance at set piece time which led them to victory.
"Our lineout was good, our scrum was dominant, especially in that second half. The backline didn't really fire that much today, it was more the set piece that was the standout."
This weekend Te Puna take on Rangiuru, who are unbeaten so far.
"They're going really well. I think we just need to be a bit more patient. We were trying to offload when it wasn't on, we were trying to do things before we'd earned the right to do them," Kuka says.
Baywide Club Rugby Results
Rotoiti 13 Te Puna 48, Whakarewarewa 25 Tauranga Sports 42, Mount Maunganui 30 Greerton Marist 27, Te Puke Sports 40 Rangataua 27, Te Teko 31 Arataki 28, Ōpōtiki 15 Rangiuru 45.
Rotoiti 0 Te Puna 65, Whakarewarewa 24 Tauranga Sports 22, Mount Maunganui 40 Greerton Marist 17, Te Puke Sports 62 Rangataua 19, Te Teko 17 Arataki 22, Ōpōtiki 13 Rangiuru 17.
Ngongotaha 39 Judea 10, Whakatāne Marist 12 Kahukura 52, Reporoa 26 Poroporo 5, Marist St Michael's 31 Paroa 13, Waikite 19 Ruatoki 12, Murupara def Pāpāmoa by default.
Judea 7 vs Katikati 128, Greerton Marist 10 vs Matakana 45, Tauranga Sports 0 vs Eastern Districts 38, Te Puna - bye.
Reporoa 25 Waikite 24, Marist St Michael's 24 Taupō United 17, Ngongotahā 88 Eastern Pirates 0.
Ruatoki 19 Waimana 24, Edgecumbe 74 Galatea/Waiohau 5, Matata the bye.