Defending touch national champs prepare to defend their title
The E Tū Whānau National Touch Championships, the country's premier touch competition is underway.
Competition winners Waikato's open men’s side is aiming to win back to back titles this year following their success at other tournaments in the lead up to the event.
Captain of the team, Shanan Tomuri says this team is a very young side.
“We got a young crew few older fellas, myself being the tuakana. So yeah we've got a good balance right across the paddock.”
The squad swept up at all recent tournaments after taking out the Elite Touch League, the National Māori and Whakatāne Touch Championships.
Team member Mita Graham says their luck is down to hard work and being committed to the cause.
“Ko te waimaria o tō mātou kapa ahakoa te ETLs, tō mātou kapa Wairere, ko te katoa e whakapono ana ki tēnei kaupapa ahakoa ngā piki me ngā heke ko te painga o te tōnamana ka taea te whakapaki ia kēmu ehara i te mea ka wikitōria te whakataetae i te rā, te kēmū tuatahi.”
It's a rare sight to see such a successful team and Tomuri says now their focus is to defend their national title.
“Everyone's aim is to get a gold medal but not disappointed if we don’t win or lose we still just come here to have fun.”
Aside from competition, developing their wider club is a key focus.
The tournament will run for the duration of the weekend and qualifying finals will kick-off on Sunday.