They may be enemies on the fields of Whakatāne, but off them they are all team mates with the majority of the players currently members of the national representative team. Whitiaua Black, one of the team members, says many teams competing at the Whakatāne Tournament have been playing together for a while and apart from competing against each other for fun in this arena, another core goal was to hone their fitness and technique.
It’s just a month out from the Trans-Tasman Touch series and the Whakatāne tournament provided the perfect arena and trial base for the moves they plan to lay on the teams from across the Tasman.
Whitiaua Black captained his Tūhoe Team competing in Whakatāne and is also a member of the NZ Open Mens squad. He’s been training throughout the Christmas holidays to avoid a repeat of last year's loss to Australia in Canberra.
In the Whakatāne competition, his opponents team came under the Galaxy club umbrella, but all members of his team are in the NZ Under 21 squad and it seemed there was a lot of room for improvement with the Galaxy Team after losing their match: 7-1.
This year's Trans-Tasman tournament will kick off on February 5 at Waitākere Stadium.
Reporter: Rahia Timutimu.