Just another victory to revel in
Super Rugby title, Ranfurly Shield, and now the Northern Roller Mills champions can be added to the list of Waikato rugby achievements in 2012 after Waikato clinched the title in Auckland at the weekend.
It had been 21 years since the region last won the tournament and the Waikato Roller Mills side were crowned champions defeating Auckland East 21-0 in the final.
Waikato coach Wayne Bootten was thrilled with the team's achievement and felt his side were able to execute their game plan and stick to it, which proved to make the difference in the final.
He credited his side's ability to work as a unit and felt it was something he had tried to enforce leading up to and during the week-long tournament.
“It was a real team effort and [that's what] I've got to put it down to it. It was one thing we worked solidly on right through the competition.
“A magical experience for these boys, I say each and every one of them played out of their skin.”
The side went through the competition undefeated, amassing 215 points, while only conceding 22. Waikato scored a staggering 35 tries.
Bootten believed one of the strengths of his side was the continuity within the team and they were able to transfer that out on the playing field.
“It was just like one big family and that's one thing we worked on right from the start. We built a team before we worried about our skills and drills.
“It was a rule that if your brother went down you'd look after [him] and that's how the team worked.”
This year was Bootten's first year in charge of the side but had been previously involved with the Waikato Roller Mills side over the past three years.
The Roller Mills tournament has produced many first-class players and Bootten said there were players in his squad to keep an eye on in the future.
“As a definite, I would not be surprised to see some of these names [go onto higher honours],” Booten says.
”They will certainly be names that will be looked at right through their schooling and if they keep growing the way they are, they will be some outstanding players.
As a result of their dominating performance, six of the side were selected in the tournament side with Tairoa Crean, Vynce Bolli, Kaea Hongara, Mitchell Robertson, Jake Russ, and Kelly Paekau-Rush all named in the lineup.
The team will feature in the Mooloo Parade down Anglesea St on Saturday as a part of the build-up to the Ranfurly Shield clash between Waikato and Hawke's Bay.
AT A GLANCE
Pool play Waikato 46 Thames Valley 0 Waikato 24 Bay of Plenty 10 Waikato 68 King Country 0 Waikato 39 Northland 0 Semifinal: Waikato 17 Auckland West 12 Final: Waikato 21 (Calib Muntz, Vynce Bolli tries; Raiki Willison 3 pen, con) Auckland East 0 --------------------