ENGAGE: Rangitaiki forwards prepare for a scrum against Tauranga East with Wiremu Green eyeing his opposition, Mikaere Te Maipi Lucian Bain, Kahu Kiel and Jon Tiwha-Smith about to pack in.Photos John Morin D8628-111

TORRENTIAL rain didn’t deter the spectators from turning out in their hundreds to watch Tai Mitchell at Eivers Park in Te Teko.

Hosted by the Rangitaiki Tai Mitchell committee the first round of pre-tournament games was played on Sunday.

The day started with the first of three weigh-ins for Tai Mitchell players who must not exceed the 53kg weight limit. There were a few nervous moments for players and a handful were sent to do a few laps of the field to shed a few 100 grams to make the limit.

Each of the 10 Tai Mitchell representative under-13 teams played one game with the upset of the day being Tauranga West beating Te Puke 28-19.

The defending Tai Mitchell champions for two consecutive years, Te Puke couldn’t answer the onslaught from Tauranga West who scored four converted tries to Te Puke’s three tries and two conversions.

Hosts Rangitaiki kicked off their Tai Mitchell campaign with a good win over Tauranga North 24-7.

Rangitaiki Tai Mitchell co-coach Don Te Maipi was pleased with the team’s performance, particularly the good ball distribution out to their ball runners and their defensive efforts.

Rangitaiki’s player of the day was Pep Chisholm who played at centre showcasing his strong running with the ball in hand and crossing the line to score.

Usually a number 8 for his Te Teko club side Pep was moved to centre for the rep team where the additional space proved dangerous for the opposition.

It was a game of two halves for Whakatane Tai Mitchell team against Tauranga East. Whakatane’s valiant second half effort to maximise possession saw them come close several times. A clever kick and chase was well executed in the wet weather, but in the end they could only cross once and then let in another second-half try by the visitors to finish the game 17-5.

Rotorua Maroon was too strong for Opotiki with the Central Bay side scoring 12 tries and converting eight for a final score of 78-0.

The final match of the day of Rotorua Gold against Galatea was heading for a similar blow-out with the score up to 45-0 at half-time before the match was called off.

With a bonus point system and a points differential all contributing to the standings, it is Rotorua Maroon leading the table, followed by Rotorua Gold, Rangitaiki, Tauranga West, Tauranga East, Te Puke, Whakatane, Tauranga North, Galatea and then Opotiki.

Results from round one – Sunday, June 23:

  • Te Puke 19, Tauranga West 28
  • Tauranga East 17, Whakatane 5
  • Tauranga North 7, Rangitaiki 24
  • Rotorua Maroon 78, Opotiki 0
  • Rotorua Gold 45, Galatea 0

Positive feedback for Tai Mitchell organisers

AS much as the weather was pouring in, so was the positive feedback for this year’s hosts, the Rangitaiki Tai Mitchell organising committee.

With the aim to ensure this year’s tournament lived up to the mana of the coveted Tai Mitchell Shield, the Rangitaiki Tai Mitchell committee began organising the tournament last November.

Committee member Aaron Elliott said they’d received great feedback from the management of other teams and their supporters. Catering for the challenging conditions the organisers had large gazebos on the field for each team which were well utilised throughout the day by subs and supporters.

Elliot said their ability to host the tournament between Te Teko at Eiver Park and Kawerau’s Tarawera Park was due to the contribution of people on the committee, but also many others who offered their support and help.

“In addition, the support and backing of Omataroa Rangitaiki Trust No.2, the Putauaki Trust, the Rangitaiki Whanau Trust, the Kawerau District Council, Fonterra and Otakiri

Water had made the event possible.”

“This is for our kids and it was great to see all the people out there braving the conditions to support and also the support of our five referees.”

Elliott said it was a “positive atmosphere” and the committee were thankful for the ongoing community support for the coming round this Sunday back at Eivers Park in Te Teko and the final four-day tournament at Tarawera Park in Kawerau.