Tomorrow marks the start of the 2013 Baywide rugby season. Ben Guild and Greg Taipari preview the teams competing in this year's premier division.
TE PUKE SPORTS
- 2013 coach: Craig Jefferies
- 2012 premier finish: (19-1), 1st
- Points for: 817
- Points against: 256
- Player gains: Jimmy Roberts, Tim Bond, Junior Tafa Va'a
- Player losses: Jack Wilson, Isaac Takai, Simon Chisholm (injured), Tooks Carter (injured)
The two-time defending champions will be looking forward to easing their way back into action at home in fine weather after last year defeating Rotoiti 12-3 in a final played in atrocious conditions at Tauranga Domain.
They are set to play a promoted Paroa side, which will get an early insight into top flight quality. The match will likely serve as a tune-up for Te Puke, with the side travelling away to Te Puna in round two.
- 2013 coach: Kevin Lee
- 2012 premier finish: (12-8), 2nd
- Points for: 550
- Points against: 428
- Player gains: Arapo Whata, Scott Bogun
- Player losses: Wayne Ormond, Joe Gotz, Joe Fenton, Kevin Guptil, Sigfried Fisiihoi, Rob McCann, William Royal, Luke Cassidy
Last year's surprise finalists, who tipped over the more fancied Tauranga Sports 13-10 in one of last year's semifinals, will open their campaign away against Whakarewarewa.
The loss of former Steamers captain Wayne Ormond will be felt, with Whaka's coach last year Kevin Lee taking over. It will be interesting to see if he can lift the team to the lofty heights of last season. Jesse Acton has returned to lead the team for a second season.
- 2013 coach: Mike Rogers
- 2012 premier finish: (13-3-3), 3rd
- Points for: 788
- Points against: 305
- Player gains: Mitch Greenway
- Player losses: Jeremy Cave
The Tauranga side will be out to exorcise some demons after succumbing 13-10 to beaten finalists Rotoiti in one of last year's semifinals. They travel away to Greerto in a positive mood after a strong pre-season boosted by a reported improvement in depth.
- 2013 coach: Mike Smith
- 2012 premier finish: (9-2-8), 4th
- Points for: 500
- Points against: 354
- Player gains: Hamu Hudson
- Player losses: Minimal
Opotiki lost 36-12 to eventual champions Te Puke Sports in the semifinals last year, so will be looking at going at least one better this year. The side beat Rangataua 43-5 in round three and 28-10 in round 12 last season, so will be looking for a win at home tomorrow.
- 2013 coach: Vaughan Bidois
- 2012 premier finish: (9-1-8), 5th
- Points for: 512
- Points against: 448
- Player gains: Courtney Mita, Paul Tietjens, Ben Diamond, Quentin Gardiner
- Player losses: Pomare Pearson
Te Puna narrowly missed the playoffs last year despite finishing on the same number of points as beaten semifinalists Opotiki Sports. They travel to meet a Mount Maunganui side whichhad an identical win/loss record last year, in an opening round cracker at Blake Park.
- 2013 coach: Rodney Voullaire
- 2012 premier finish: (9-1-8), 6th
- Points for: 429
- Points against: 342
- Player gains: David Smart, Sam Gavigan, Johan Bardoul, Karl Perrett, Ryan Wilson, Mark Hodson, Mike Autridge, Logan Walsh, Nik Dyer, Adam McGarvey
- Player losses: Warren Smith, Marty Bourke, Mata McGrath
The Mount, with a new coaching staff and inflated pre-season training numbers, play at home to a Te Puna side that beat them 19-23 at home and 36-22 away last season.
- 2013 coach: Maurice Stone
- 2012 premier finish: (7-3-8), 7th
- Points for: 437
- Points against: 514
- Player gains: Pomare Pirini, Stefan Squire, Matthew Cuming, Dave Marinkovich, Bruro Kairaoi, Scott Mayhew, James O'Neill, Ricci Herbig, Steven Schenk, Henry Kershaw
- Player losses: Caleb Ralph, Willie Ripia, Tyson Repia, Harold Koia, Rawiri Tapiata, Theo Heta, Tony Tataurangi, Shaqulle Stone, Cedric Carston, Courtney Mita, Aliki Kisina
A new coach, some new faces and a new hunger. Whaka supporters were upset with where the team finished last year. However, the team looked dangerous in the Rotorua pre-season competition winning the Banner final. Under Stone's guidance the team appear to have strengthened the scrum and lineout.
- 2013 coach: Kane Parker
- 2012 premier finish: (4-1-13), 8th
- Points for: 418
- Points against: 678
- Player gains: Andrew Hill, Kalem Chan-Boon, Troy Callander, Tim O'Malley, John Bosco Tagaloa, Joe Key, Matt Ropoama, Mike Bradshaw
- Player losses: Karl Perrott
After staving off relegation during a promising season last year, the junior rugby powerhouse will attempt to make an impression in their second year amongst the big boys.
They host Tauranga Sports, which won last year's two meetings by a combined 79 points, in round one.
- 2013 coach: Paul Pou
- 2012 premier finish: (4-1-13), 9th
- Points for: 315
- Points against: 697
- Player gains: Minimal
- Player losses: Jason Hona, Adam McGarvey, Quentin Gardiner
Fixing defensive frailties will be top of the agenda for a side that conceded the most points last season.
An away game against an Opotiki side that comfortably won both fixtures last year should provide a decent indicator of where the side is at.
- 2013 coach: George Harawira
- 2012 premier finish: (17-1-2) Division one champions
- Points for: 772
- Points against: 230
- Player gains: Christian Wetting, Mark Berry
- Player losses: Minimal
The promoted division one side of last season play away the defending champs away at Murray Salt Stadium. The newcomers will have a point to prove after winning promotion last year due to scoring first in added time. Rumours abound that Jason Hona might ply his trade for the new side this year.
BAYWIDE RUGBY ROUND 1
(All games to start at 2.45pm on Saturday March 23)
- Greerton Marist v Tauranga Sports (Greerton Park 1)
- Mount Maunganui v Te Puna (Blake Park 1)
- Sports Opotoki v Rangataua (Princess Street Reserve 1)
- Te Puke Sports v Paroa (Murray Salt Stadium 1)
- Whakarewarewa v Rotoiti (Puarenga Park 1)
Division one: (All games to start at 2.45pm on march 23)
- Ngongotaha Div 1 v Ruatoki Div 1 (Ngongotaha Domain 1)
- Poroporo Div 1 v Te Teko Div 1 (Poroporo Park 1)
- Rangiuru Snr A v Marist St. Michaels Div 1 (Centenial Park 1)
- Waikite Div 1 v Kahukura Div 1 (Bellvue Road 1)
- Whakatane Marist Div 1 v Katikati Div 1 (Rugby Park 2)
WBOP Local senior competition:
Greerton Marist Snr B v Tauranga Sports Sen B (Greerton Park 1 - 1pm)
Matakana v Judea Snr (Matakana Island 1 - 1pm)
Mount Maunganui Snr B v Te Puna Snr B (Blake Park 1 - 1pm)
Rangiuru Snr B v Rangataua Snr B (Oval 3 - 1pm)
Te Puke Snr B v Eastern Districts Snr (Murray Salt Stadium 1 - 1pm)
Papamoa Snr v Arataki Snr (Gordon Spratt Reserve 1 - 2.45pm)