Rugby enthusiasts can expect a feast of exciting rugby at the Toi Ohomai and Bethlehem Coachlines Secondary Schools finals on Saturday.
The rugby extravaganza is being held at Otumoetai College, and Bay of Plenty Rugby Union Secondary School manager Ian Parata says, rugby fans are in for a treat, especially with the Tauranga Boys’ College (White) and Rotorua Boys’ High School (Red) rivalry back on display in the Under-14 Championship.
“That’s going to be a good battle between the two rival schools. Rotorua Boys’ obviously have got a bit of pride to make up for the (1st XV) loss on Saturday. So, we are expecting that to be full of exciting rugby.
“Rotorua Red were the fourth ranked team and they caused a bit of an upset over Whakatane High last week by beating them in the semi-finals,” Parata says.
“Whakatane were ranked number one and Rotorua were ranked four. So, they caused a bit of an upset. I think the team culture was great and their coaching staff were positive and they’re on a bit of a high at the moment.”
Parata says the games just get better as the day goes on with Rotorua Boys’ Blue team taking on Mount Maunganui College in the Under-14 Premiership final.
“Rotorua Boys’ Blue are unbeaten in two rounds. The only game the Mount have lost was to Blue in pool play. The score was a 20-point difference in the first pool round. So, the Mount are focusing hard to close that gap. It’s going to be close.”
In the Under-15 Premiership final, Otumoetai and Bethlehem College Barbarians take on Rotorua Boy’s Under-15 Blue side.
“They are the absolute underdogs the Baba’s. The Under-15 Blue team haven’t lost all season. It’s a massive challenge but the Barbarian team are up for it and they just want to go out there and be competitive.”
In the 2nd Division 1st XV final, Katikati College take on Papamoa College, and Parata is predicting a royal battle for the last game of the day.
“Papamoa College are underdogs, they had a 50 per cent win/loss record this season. But they upset the only unbeaten team in the division in last weekend’s semi-finals. They beat Mount College 24-22.
“I was talking to [coach] Andrew Jacobs, he said, they had a game plan, they stuck to the game plan. But the belief in their boys at half-time is what got them over the line. They were 22-0 down at the break."
Parata says despite Katikati College beating Papamoa College twice during the regular season, the side can not underestimate their rivals.
“They will need to keep their head space really humble. The amazing thing with Katikati is they have only had 18-19 boys all season. They literally don’t have 22 senior players in the school. It’s a small school, small rugby numbers, punching way above their weight.
“They have gone through some games with only 17 players in the squad. They are just one of those teams that play really open expansive rugby. They’re big and they’re fast.”
The finals get underway at 10.30am with entry to the finals free to the public with the hopes of encouraging whanau and supporters to get down to support teams.
Bay of Plenty Rugby will be updating all half-time and full-time scores from the finals on our Twiiter page. Follow @BOPRugby on Twitter for updates.
Under-14 Championship Final
Tauranga Boys’ White v Rotorua Boys Red, 10.30am Field 2
Under-14 Premiership Final
Mount Maunganui College v Rotorua Boys’ Blue, 11.00am, Field 1
Under-15 Premiership Final
Rotorua Boys’ Blue v Otumoetai/Bethlehem College Barbarians, 12.30pm, Field 1
1st XV Division Two Final
Katikati College v Papamoa College, 2.00pm, Field 1