Rangiuru defeat Opotiki for top spot
Rangiuru deposed Opotiki to become Baywide Division 1 table leaders with a convincing win in Saturday’s top-two clash at Centennial Park.
The 39-12 win was built on an openingquarter defensive effort that coach Simon Rolleston says has become the hallmark of the team in recent weeks.
“The last few games have been built off the back of really good defence with everyone working really hard for each other and not wanting to let each other down.”
After resisting the Opotiki onslaught, it was Rangiuru winger Ngaupapa Faulkner who outstripped the defence to score the game’s first try after a turnover.
“We’re very lucky we’ve got players in our team that are good strike players who can pounce on the ball and go the whole field,” says Rolleston.
“The last few weeks we’ve been defending really well and trusting our systems. We made it a little bit hard for ourselves in that first 20, but it was good to see them hold the line.”
Rangiuru travel to Murupara, who have a two win, seven loss record, for the final roundone game on Saturday.
“The good thing is now, this gives us a week to have a bit of fun and enjoy the week and rest a few bodies because some of our trainings have been pretty intense. But we don’t want any hiccups.”
Rolleston says the focus has already shifted to the next phase of competition where the top four Division 1 sides combine with the bottom four Baywide Premiership teams in the Baywide Premier 2 competition. The top four Premier 2 sides will play in next year’s Baywide Premiership.
Rolleston says securing one of those four places is a key goal for the rest of the season.
“We’re not naive about it and how hard it’s going to be. Hopefully we get a good side of the draw with four home games.”
Rangiuru’s two locks, Patuara Biel, left, and Cruise Clarke get to grips with the opposition. Rangiuru’s open-side flanker Terry Wilson is caught by strong Opotiki defence in Saturday’s top-of-the-table Baywide Division 1 clash.
Isaac Te Aute clears the ball.
A strong hand-off from Rangiuru fullback Elijah Nicholas.