Rugby Preview 27-9-2014
After suffering its first loss of the season last week against North Otago, the Thames Valley Heartland Rugby team must pick itself up and get ready for the trip to Memorial Park in Masterton to face Wairarapa Bush. Neither side will be lacking in motivation going into this fixture as one looks to keep pace with the Meads Cup pacesetters while the other will be aiming to notch its first win of the season and maintain the possibility of a place in the Lochore Cup semi finals.
For Thames Valley this is a game of much significance. If this group of players is to take the next step up they need to perform well in Masterton. Weeks five and six of the Heartland Championship are when the wheels traditionally fall off the Thames Valley wagon and for this team to continue to do well in 2014 they must win on Saturday and put the hoodoo to rest.
A win would keep alive a very real prospect of a Meads Cup semi final for Thames Valley but they must overcome some indifferent form on the road for that to happen. History shows that away games are the undoing of many a Thames Valley team and consequently host unions target the Swampfoxes as must win games.
Wairarapa Bush have had a poor season to date in contrast to last year when they defied the form book to finish third in the overall standings and earned a Meads Cup semi final against North Otago in Oamaru, where they lost a high scoring game34-48.
So far this season they have had a draw and four losses from the first five rounds of competition and find themselves in tenth spot and eight points adrift of a Lochore Cup semi final. A win will boost them immensely and they will be desperate for victory.
The teams have faced each other four times since the Championship began in 2006 with both recording two wins. Thames Valley won last year’s match in Paeroa 23-15 and travelled to Masterton in 2011 to win convincingly by 53-26. Wairarapa Bush won in 2006 and 2007.
The Thames Valley Development Team plays against Waikato Under 85kgs at Rhodes Park on Saturday at 1.00pm and will be preceded by the Roller Mills team at 11.30am, who face North Harbour in the latest round of competition.
The Under 18’s are off to Whangarei to play the Northland Vikings and the Under 14’s go all the way to Whakatane to meet Eastern Bay of Plenty while the Girls Team is off to Waitemata to play North Harbour at 1.00pm.
Rugby Report 20-9-2014
The bubble finally burst on the Thames Valley Heartland Rugby team when it tasted defeat for the first time in this year’s competition at the hands of the visiting North Otago side. Travelling from Oamaru all the way to Paeroa proved no inconvenience for the victors as they went about their business in a workman like manner leaving the Thames Valley side to lament a disappointing first half performance that ultimately led to the 19-15 loss.
The result leaves Thames Valley in fifth place on the table, which is headed by the unbeaten Buller side who accounted for Mid Canterbury at Ashburton by 29-19. South Canterbury had a solid win at home against Poverty Bay to claim outright second while the Bay drops to fourth place. Horowhenua Kapiti beat Wairarapa Bush 12-9 in a tryless encounter in Levin to keep a grip on third spot while King Country had to work harder than expected to overcome West Coast 15-10 at Taupo. Perennial Heartland heavyweights , Wanganui ,claimed their second win of the season as they thumped East Coast 44-7 at Cooks Gardens.
The Thames Valley line up had a settled look about it going into the North Otago game and there were no new injuries to concern Coach Hayden Roe that might explain the poor display in the opening forty minutes of play. Accuracy and concentration were in short supply for the home side as North Otago, playing in their change strip of blue jerseys, built a thirteen point lead through a converted try to hooker Ralph Darling and two Ben Palmer penalties. A David Harrison penalty was all the hosts could come up with in reply.
A couple of player changes after the break seemed to add a little bit of spark to the home team and tries to Jason Laurich, who finished off a cracking move and Blake Hill, brought the score up to 15-16 after Palmer had added another penalty for North Otago. The Valley was finishing strongly but once again an unforced error in the last few minutes, led to a turnover, loss of territory and finally a penalty that Palmer converted to extend the lead and see off the hosts 19-15.
A solitary bonus point for the loss by less than seven points was all the home team probably deserved but the real hurt will come from the fact that this was a game they should and could have won.
In the curtain raisers at the Paeroa Domain, the Thames Valley Under 14’s lost to Western Bay of Plenty 43-17, the Girls lost 35-0 to Waikato and the Roller Mills got beaten 76-0 by Bay of Plenty.
The Under 18’s and 16’s lost away to Auckland and North Harbour respectively while the Development Team put in a determined showing against North Harbour, going down 30-7 at Northcote.
On Sunday the Thames Valley Under 45’s showed how it’s done by coming back from a 19-5 deficit to eventually draw 19 all with King Country in their first game at Boyd Park, Te Aroha before going on to record an outstanding 76-0 win against Te Awamutu in their second game and give them third place overall in the competition which was won by Hamilton Gold.
______________________________________________________________STAN MEADS CUP XV POST A CLOSE FOUGHT VICTORY AGAINST NEW ZEALAND HARLEQUINS
Nearly sixty points were scored in the match-up between the Stan Meads Cup XV and the New Zealand Harlequins selection, at Te Rapa on Sunday (21 September 2014)
The SMC XV was selected from the King Country and Thames Valley Rugby Unions and the five Sub-unions that took part in the 2014 SMC competition. Standing in the way of a second successive win for the SMC side, were the New Zealand Harlequins, which were a predominantly Hamilton based team
Harlequins opened the scoring with a try shortly after the opening whistle, before the SMC XV roared back with unconverted try. With the game up for grabs at half time in the fast paced encounter, the second spell resulted in both side taking turns to put points on the board.
The SMC XV came from behind to score a touchdown with five minutes remaining in the match and then hung on to close out a hard fought 32-26 victory.
SMC XV coaches Tanirau Manawaiti, Aaron Pene and Warren Hodges were relieved when full time was called and were well pleased with the final result. The 2014 victory followed last year’s inaugural win against a Sir Colin Meads selection. New Zealand Harlequins expressed an interest in making the match an annual fixture.
SMC XV 32 New Zealand Harlequins 26
Valley Boys Selected for Heartland Under 19's Team
After a full year in senior club rugby and then being selected for the Thames Valley Swampfoxes senior squad, Nic Judd (Thames) and Josh Turner (Cobras) have now both been selected for the Heartland U19's team that will participate in the upcoming national U19's tournament in Taupo from 26th September to the 4th October.
This is the age grade equivalent of being selected for the New Zealand Divisional XV which is a huge achievement for these 2 young men.
During the tournament they will play against the top U19's players in the country in the new national tournament that involves teams from all 14 ITM Cup unions as well as a 2nd Auckland Team.
Congratulations men on your hard work and dedication.
In addition - Cole Berridge and Riki Wathne (both from Hauraki North) were also selected for the Harlequins U19's team that is currently taking part in a Chiefs wide ranking tournament against Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Counties Manukau U19's teams.
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