MARSHALLING: Waimana player Noi Elmiger with the ball waits for the scrum to set during their match against Rangiuru Women’s Rugby team at Rugby Park on Saturday. Waimana players setting on this side are Anahera Rapana, Mikyla Wardlaw and Jayde August at the back. Photos John Morin D8463-054

WAIMANA hosted Rangiuru women’s rugby team at Rugby Park in Whakatane on Saturday.

The game was moved to Whakatane to help alleviate further travel time for the Waimana team, who have been on the road every weekend bar one.

Waimana captain and co-coach Janie Kaafi thanked Rangiuru coach Jimmy MacLean, who is a well-known Whakatane coach and rugby advocate, for helping to make this happen.

Kaafi said Rangiuru were a “beautiful team to watch as a supporter as their structure in the game is amazing, but not so much when you are their opposition”.

In the Rangiuru team were a good number of Eastern Bay players including New Zealand sevens player Tynealle Fitzgerald from Opotiki.

Also from Opotiki are Helen Coughlin and Leah Wilson, along with Trident High School students Chrysler Weneti and Layla Te Riini.

Kaafi also acknowledged Eastern Bay rugby stalwart and treasurer George Rogers for his continuous support of the Waimana team, who trained at Rugby Park.

Kaafi said Waimana had some great attacking phases, but defensively the team had a lot to work on and improve on.

“We will focus on key areas where we will progressively work on as a team to play throughout the season.”

In reflection of the scoreline, 58-12, Kaafi said it wasn’t something the team would dwell on as they would take the positives from the game.

Kaafi believed coach Lauralee Hillman would be looking to structure Waimana’s game plan to come back stronger next time the two sides meet.

This weekend, the Waimana women’s team will take on Whakarewarewa at home in Waimana on Sunday and were expecting a “gutsy game against our whanau from Te Arawa”.

The women’s side were congratulated the men who won their semi-final on the weekend and qualified for the upcoming Eastern Bay final on Saturday to be hosted at Edgecumbe.

In other Eastern Bay women’s rugby games, Matata were scoreless against a very strong Rangataua side, 86-0.