Ngongotaha ready for derby battle

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Ngongotaha player David White, in action against Waikite last season. Photo/File

By Ruth Dacey

Unbeaten Ngongotaha are ready for battle in a derby day special.

The table-topping team take on fierce rivals Waikite in their fifth match of the Baywide Division 1 competition at Ngongotaha Domain tomorrow.The game looks set to be a close contest - both sides go into the game on the back of impressive results - Ngongotaha beat Waimana 65-5 in their last contest while Waikite, in seventh but just four points off second-placed Opotiki, beat Judea 19-13 and Katikati 93-17 in their last two runouts.

Ngongotaha manager Jared Grace said a consistent performance throughout the crucial clash was essential.

"A key focus area for us at the moment is continuity of play," he said. "The guys have been playing well in patches but we haven't been able to link a series of phases together successfully when we try to initiate positive play."

Grace said he was wary of the potential physicality of a dangerous Waikite.

"Waikite are the team we gauge ourselves on. Moving forward we know if we play well against them and match their physicality we will be in good stead in the coming weeks. It will be a match to test us in different facets and aspects of where we are at when we face our old foes," he said.

"We know Waikite are very strong with ball in hand, we will be looking at slowing down and choking their supply through our forwards. If we have dominant tackles and support at the breakdown we should be able to starve them of their possession and prevent them from utilising their strong ball carrying ability."

Waikite head coach Kevin Lee, in his first year at the helm, said the importance of clinical finishing had been stressed in training this week.

"We must ensure we create and take opportunities where we can. This and players playing their individual roles will be crucial to our team's performance," he said.

"We need to continue to gain a better understanding of our game and demonstrate an improvement in this area from week to week."

Baywide Division 1:

Saturday, kick-off 2.45pm

Ngongotaha v Waikite, Ngongotaha Domain

Marist St Michael's v Rangiuru, Marist Park

Kahukura v Katikati, Kuirau Park

Ruatoki v Judea, Tuhoe Park

Te Teko v Opotiki, Dunderdale Park

Waimana v Papamoa, Waimana Domain

Bay of Plenty rugby union Premier and Premier Development fixtures:

Saturday, Premier Development kick-off 1pm. Premier kick-off 2.45pm

Whakatane Marist v Rotoiti, Rugby Park

Paroa v Whakarewarewa, Lawson Park

Poroporo v Rangataua, Poroporo Park

Mount Maunganui Sports v Greerton Marist, Blake Park

Tauranga Sports v Te Puna, Tauranga Domain

Arataki v Te Puke Sports, Arataki Park

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