Te Akau Ki Papamoa School’s year five/six rippa rugby champs are headed to the national tournament in Wellington.
They defeated Omanu Primary School 6-5 in a tense final in Friday’s Baywide Championships in Paengaroa to earn the prestigious capital excursion in September.
After falling behind early in the final to Omanu, Te Akau Ki powered back late in the match to take the title, impressing their coach Tane Bennett.
“To come from behind to win the final, that shows the character of our team to be able to bounce back from being down and win. Winning in the dying seconds of the match makes it even that little bit more special.”
It’s a familiar destination for Te Akau Ki, having won their way through to the national Air New Zealand Rippa Rugby Championship twice before.
“We are quite a powerhouse school when it comes to Rippa Rugby,” says Tane. “This is our third time winning this championship and representing the Bay of Plenty in Wellington. It’s an awesome achievement for our school and this group of kids.”
Rotorua’s Westbrook Primary are the year three/four champions, taking out their final over fellow Central Bay school Glenholme Primary. The teams were locked at five-all at fulltime but Westbrook were declared winners as they scored first.
Finals day in Paengaroa was a buzz for BOP Rugby’s Operations Manager Neil Alton.
“A combination of great weather, an awesome attitude from players, parents, supporters and coaches and great referees. It is great seeing the kids out there enjoying themselves.”
Neil also acknowledged the help of Sport Bay of Plenty in staging the competition over the season.
Baywide Rippa Rugby Championship Finals Day Results:
Championship Final: Te Akau Ki Primary School 6, Omanu Primary School 5
3rd and 4th: St Joseph’s Primary School 6, Allandale Primary School 4
5th and 6th: Mount Maunganui Primary School, Pyes Pa Primary School
7th and 8th: Westbrook Primary School 6, Kawerau South Primary School 3
Championship Final: Westbrook Primary School 5, Glenholme Primary School 5 (Westbrook took title by scoring first)
3rd and 4th: Maungatapu Primary School 5, Mount Maunganui Primary 3
5th and 6th: Tauranga Primary School 5, St Mary’s Primary School 4
7th and 8th: Te Kura O Te Paroa 7, Owhata Primary School 2