Rugby Preview 10-10-2015 

There will be a lot riding on the Pink Batts Heartland Championship game between Thames Valley and West Coast at the Paeroa Domain on Saturday. This is the last round of pool play and either side can still make the semi finals of the Lochore Cup, although West Coast is in a much stronger position than the host.

If West Coast wins, Thames valley is out, while the Coast will still need Buller to lose against Horowhenua Kapiti, to ensure their Lochore Cup place.

In order for Thames Valley to qualify, they have to beat West Coast with a four try bonus and a winning margin of around sixty points, prevent West Coast from getting any bonus points and hope Buller lose heavily and not get any bonus points. It would also help if King Country lost to East Coast at Taupo.

It’s not impossible, more unlikely, but the Thames Valley faithful would be just as pleased if the team could pull off another home victory regardless of whether or not they make the semi finals.

West Coast has enjoyed recent success against Thames Valley in the last two outings, winning 27-22 in Greymouth last year and 33-18 at Rhodes Park in Thames the year before.

In all, the sides have met seven times, West Coast winning four, Thames Valley two and one draw in 2011 at Greymouth.

The referee for this game will be former Whangamata and Thames Valley rep, Danny Morrison, now in his third year of First Class Refereeing.

On Saturday, members of the 1975 Thames Valley rugby team are holding a reunion. This team won two of the nine games it played (against Bay of Plenty and King Country) as well as challenging Auckland for the Ranfurly Shield Challenge and playing an International match against Tonga.

The late Des Johansen was the Coach and he was assisted by the current TVRFU Patron, Roy Tyack. Three Thames Valley Centurions were in the team i.e. Tuk Sheehan the Captain (and a NZ Junior), Brian Duggan and the late John Hodge. Other prominent team members were Maori All Blacks, Mike Rabarts and Russell Doughty along with New Zealand Colt Murray Hill.

This was also the debut season of the current Swamp Fox Manager John Corbett.

 The best performance was the 10-8 win over Bay of Plenty at Waihi.

The Shield Challenge at Eden Park was played in very wet, windy and slippery conditions. The boys thought they were in with a chance at half time as Auckland only led 9-0 with the wind but it was not to be and the Auks pulled away to win 22-0.

Under the leadership of Murray Howse of Thames a Supporters Club was formed in 1975 and the Swamp Fox was adopted as the mascot so this was the first team to be called the Swamp Foxes!


Heartland Rugby Report 3-10-2015 

Thames Valley met Buller at Victoria Square in Westport in Round Seven of the Pink Batts Heartland Championship, with both sides needing a win to ensure a place in the Lochore Cup semi finals for 2015. Having failed to qualify for the semi finals last year, Thames valley was in need of the win after a recent run of losses saw the team slip down the points table to sit just outside the top eight. Buller went through round robin play unbeaten in 2014 and went on to reach the Meads Cup Final as top qualifier but they have not enjoyed such good results this year and found themselves level with Thames Valley  on the table going into this game. With one round to go the winner of this game would still be alive in the competition while the loser would only have the slimmest of chances to make the cut.

The Thames Valley squad that travelled to Westport for this game was much the same as the 22 that lined up against Wanganui the week before and put on an improved performance in that game although Thames Valley’s record against Buller in the Heartland Championship indicated that form favoured the home side in most clashes.

Buller were quicker out of the blocks than Thames Valley and scored two unanswered tries in the first half while a Jonnie Te Ruki penalty kept the visitors within reach at the break, only trailing 10-3.

Buller winger, Setefano Sauqaqa was in irrepressible form and couldn’t keep out of the action as he scored four tries in all, along with one from experienced front rower, Logan Mundy to give Buller the win, 25-17. Shayne Johnson and Moss Doran both scored for Thames Valley and David Harrison added two conversions to keep the score close but the valuable bonus point eluded them. By the same token, if the Buller goal kicker had his eye in the margin could have been much bigger.

The other games produced some interesting results, with some going to form and one boil over result.

Wairarapa Bush continued to push for a Meads Cup semi final with a forty point thumping of East Coast at Ruatoria. The Bush is equal on points with Horowhenua Kapiti in fourth place but has higher ranking because they won the round robin clash between the two teams earlier in the competition. East Coast has had a difficult year and sits alone at the foot of the table.

Horowhenua Kapiti pulled off a stunning comeback to defeat Mid Canterbury at the Ashburton Showgrounds and give them a chance to qualify for the Meads Cup semi finals. Horowhenua Kapiti had never beaten Mid Canterbury in the Heartland Championship having lost all five of the previous encounters.

After racing out to a 22-8 lead, Mid Canterbury eased up, allowing Horowhenua Kapiti to get within two points before extending the lead to 36-20 and seemingly taking the game away from Horowhenua but the visitors eventually overwhelmed their hosts and recorded an incredible 47-43 victory. Teegan Minkley scored four tries for Horowhenua Kapiti and Brandyn Laursen was accurate with the boot, landing four conversions and three penalties in the historic win.

South Canterbury took full advantage of their rival’s slip up, to take over top spot on the table after walloping two time Meads Cup winner, North Otago, 58-21 in Timaru. The manner and size of the win did come as a bit of a surprise but it was just reward for a team that seems to be timing its run to the play offs perfectly.

Wanganui continued its run of form with a comfortable 55-23 win against Poverty Bay at Cooks Gardens. The result guarantees Wanganui at least third place on the table and leaves the Butcher Boys of a chance of being the top qualifier if they can win their last game and other results go their way. Poverty Bay sits second from bottom and cannot make the play offs.

King Country got a much needed win against West Coast in Greymouth to keep well in the hunt for a Lochore Cup playoff spot. They were too good for the Red and Whites, winning 36-22 and picking up a bonus point for good measure.


Rugby Preview 3-10-2015

With two weeks left in the regular season of the Heartland Championship, Thames Valley finds itself in a must win situation if it is to realise its potential and qualify for the semi final play offs. A lack of consistency and some indifferent form sees the team carrying a two win, four loss record into this week’s encounter with Buller at Victoria Square in Westport. Both teams are on eleven points but Buller has a superior points differential courtesy of a much better defensive record.

The team that wins this game will stay well in contention for at least a Lochore Cup semi final game with an outside chance of making the Meads Cup section. Thames Valley will be hoping that West Coast can beat King Country in Greymouth as that would greatly help their cause.

Last year Thames Valley had the second best defensive record in the Heartland Championship, conceding only 135 points in eight games but in six games this year they have already let in 213 points.

Although the loss to Wanganui was disappointing, there were a lot of positives to come out of the game and if the error rate can be minimised there is no reason why Thames Valley cannot go into the game with Buller with a good amount of confidence. There were no significant new injuries of note so the main squad members should all be available for selection.

Buller has been off the pace a little bit this year compared to last season when they won ten out of eleven games stumbling only once, in the Meads Cup final at Westport against Mid Canterbury. That aside, the Buller record since the Heartland Championship changed to its current format in 2010, is formidable.

Buller has played in three Lochore Cup finals (2010, 2012, 2013) beating South Canterbury in 2012 and as mentioned earlier, the Meads Cup final last year.

Form favours the home team in games between these two sides. They have met five times since 2006 with Buller winning three to Thames Valley’s two. They last met at Paeroa in 2013 when Thames Valley won 23-18 but Buller won the year before in Westport, 24-14. The biggest winning margin was twelve points when Buller won 29-17 at Westport in 2009.

All the lower grade rep teams have now finished their programmes for this year apart from the Roller Mills team who are at the annual tournament which is being held in Whangarei this week.

Heartland Rugby Report 26-9-2015

Thames Valley picked up a valuable bonus point in the loss to Wanganui at the Paeroa Domain on Saturday to keep in the hunt for a semi final place in the Lochore Cup. It is still possible for Thames Valley to qualify for the top four Meads Cup section but current form would not support that notion. Wanganui scored seven tries to Thames Valley’s four in an open game that the visitors won by 47-27. The win consolidates Wanganui in third place on the table trailing the still unbeaten Mid Canterbury and second placed South Canterbury. Mid Canterbury ran in five tries to Poverty Bay’s four in the 38-27 away win at Gisborne while South Canterbury was even more convincing on the road by beating King Country 42-14 in Te Kuiti.

North Otago moved up to fourth spot after they beat Buller in controversial fashion in Oamaru. A last minute try to Buller saw them one point behind and needing a conversion to win the game. The Buller players say the kick went over but the flags stayed down and they lost 35-34. The bonus point for the loss keeps them on par with Thames Valley on the table. Wairarapa Bush won the mid table clash with Horowhenua Kapiti, 33-19 on the artificial surface in Masterton and West beat East in the battle of the Coasts in Ruatoria. East Coast remains winless while West Coast is on track for at least a Lochore Cup semi final spot.

Thames Valley opened the scoring against Wanganui with a penalty to the union’s newest Centurion, David Harrison but the lead didn’t last long as Wanganui replied with a sharp try to lead 7-3. Ex Thames Valley loose forward, Bryn Hudson, now plying his trade in Wanganui colours had a memorable day as he bagged a brace of tries as did first five Stephen Perofeta.

Prop, Haere Renata, got the home team’s first try but it was the visitors who were in front at the break, 21-8. Wanganui added to their tally after halftime before Thames Valley made a remarkable recovery to close the gap to 26-22 and looked as though they could possibly cause an upset but threw away any chance of that happening with some poor defending that allowed Wanganui to run away with the game.
Other try scorers for Thames Valley were Lance Easton (2) and Hayden Wisnewski. Harrison did not add to his opening penalty and Jonnie Te Ruki kicked two conversions.

The Thames Valley Development Team played the unbeaten Auckland Under 85’s team in the main curtain raiser at Paeroa. The visitors were too classy for the home team, winning 61-3. Interestingly, there were three ex Thames Valley boys in the Auckland team.

The Under 16’s came up against some burly Counties Manukau boys in the early game at Paeroa but they showed plenty of courage even though the visitors eventually won 30-9.

The Under 15’s lost to John Paul College Under 15’s on Friday night at Rugby Park in Waihi and the Under 14’s fared little better against Eastern Bay of Plenty at Waihi College on Saturday.

The Secondary Schools Girls played a tournament XV in the final round of their competition at the Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club ground in Hamilton on Saturday. They put in an improved performance in the 41-12 loss to bring down the curtain on their season.

The Under 18’s were on the under card for the Waikato v Wellington ITM Cup game in Hamilton on Sunday and met the New Zealand Harlequins U17’s at the Waikato Stadium. The Harlequins were too strong and won 81-12.

The Roller Mills team is in Whangarei to take part in this year’s tournament. The boys met North Harbour on Sunday, going down 62-7 and host union, Northland, on Monday losing 71-0. They play King Country on Tuesday, have a rest day on Wednesday, Auckland East on Thursday, then play off and cross over games on Friday and Saturday.

Rugby Preview 19-9-2015

This week Thames valley plays South Canterbury at Alpine Energy Stadium in Timaru. The hosts have won three out four games so far, to sit third on the points table and their home record against Thames Valley is good. A win would keep them well in the hunt for a Meads Cup semi final place. Thames Valley is more than capable of upsetting South Canterbury but it will require a much improved performance from the whole team if they are to succeed. A win would keep them well in the top eight and close to a Meads Cup spot but a loss will see them start to lose touch with the playoff contenders.

The Thames Valley Development Team plays Counties Manukau Under 85’s at Patumahoe at 1.00pm on Saturday. The Development Team had a good run in the Stan Meads Cup competition which finished last week and has this game and one against Auckland Under 85’s the following week, to complete their season.

The Secondary School Girls and the Under 18’s both play their Bay of Plenty counterparts at Rugby Park, Waihi tomorrow. The games start at 11.00am and 12.30pm respectively

The Roller Mills and Under 16’s are at the Paeroa Domain on Saturday when they both meet Waikato opposition. Kickoff is at 11.00am and 12.30pm.

The Under 14’s are off to Greerton on Saturday to play Western Bay of Plenty and the Under 15’s play Botany College at the Paeroa Domain on Friday night, under lights with a 6.00pm kickoff.

On Sunday, the Under 45’s play in the last round of their competition at Boyd Park, Te Aroha where they will play Western Bay of Plenty at 11.00am and Hamilton Black at 1.00pm. They are currently lying in third place in this competition.


Rugby Report 12-9-2015 

Round Four of the Pink Batts Heartland Championship saw Thames Valley travel to Owen Delaney Park in Taupo where the home side King Country enjoyed the better of the day, winning 47-12 to collect five points for the win and reclaim the Centurions Cup for 2015. The win pushes King Country up to eighth on the points table while Thames Valley is sixth equal on ten points.

Mid Canterbury remains unbeaten at the top of the table after working hard to record a ten point win over West Coast in Greymouth while Wanganui is tucked in, one point behind, after a convincing 35-9 home victory against Buller. South Canterbury, who plays Thames Valley this week, had a strong win on the road, defeating Wairarapa Bush 35-26 in Masterton. East Coast put on a much improved performance against Horowhenua Kapiti in Ruatoria but a late try to the visitors stole the game with the final score24-20.Poverty Bay suffered another loss at home, this time at the hands of North Otago, losing 30-23 but remarkably, even though they have only had one win so far they have accumulated five bonus points in four games to be equal on the table with King Country.

Thames Valley had a day to forget as a high error rate handed King Country ample scoring opportunities which the hosts took advantage of to lead by 25-0 at half time. The pattern remained the same for the second half and it was only when the King Country players began to tire that Thames Valley managed to score two tries in the last quarter to at least get in to double figures on the score board.

Five other grades from both unions also played at the Taupo venue, with mixed results. The Under 18’s met some very good opposition and was beaten 54-0 while the Under 16’s had a better time of it, winning 24-12. The Under 14’s were defeated comprehensively while the Roller Mills team put in a good display but still lost 26-22.  The Under 45kgs team also did Thames Valley proud with an 18-10 victory.

The Secondary School Girls played Waikato at Tairua but found the visitors too difficult to handle, losing 50-0.


Heartland Rugby Report 5-9-2015 

A 50-13 win over East Coast in the latest round of the Heartland Pink Batts Championship has pushed Thames Valley up the points table into a share of third place alongside Wairarapa Bush and South Canterbury.

The eight tries to one victory helped the team to atone somewhat for a disappointing performance in the last appearance at the Paeroa Domain and the bonus point gained could prove invaluable at season’s end. Several milestones were recorded on the day and while the quality of the performance will always be a great discussion point, the win was a good confidence boost for some tough weeks of rugby to come.

Next week’s opponents, King Country lost 25-17 to Mid Canterbury in Ashburton after putting up a bold showing in the second half to send an ominous warning to Thames Valley ahead of this week’s encounter. Poverty Bay conceded fifty points against Horowhenua Kapiti in Levin, losing by 54-26 while Buller lost in injury time at home when Tim Priest kicked a conversion to give Wairarapa Bush the game 13-12. At Oamaru, North Otago was thumped 40-10 by Wanganui. The score could have been much worse for the Old Golds as Wanganui failed to convert any of the eight tries scored and in the all South Island encounter, South Canterbury beat West Coast 40-24 at Alpine Energy Stadium.

Mid Canterbury remains the only unbeaten side and leads the table by two points from Wanganui.

East Coast opened the scoring in Paeroa  with a penalty in the third minute after making a brisk start to the game but Thames Valley replied with a try to centre Nemani Talemaitoga in the fifth minute. Jonnie Te Ruki converted to make the score 7-3 but it took till the twentieth minute for the Valley to score again when Tyrone Keith crossed for his first try in the Heartland Competition. Chance Bunce was next to score and Keith had his second before the break to give the home side a 26-6 halftime lead.

The visitors regrouped well after the interval and withstood the Thames Valley attack until Talemaitoga scored his second try with quarter of the game to go. Keith got his hat trick soon after followed by tries to Tairua pair, Lance Easton and Shayne Johnson. Te Ruki converted two of the tries to get the fifty up on the board before East Coast was rewarded with the last try of the game.

Tyrone Keith became only the third Thames Valley player to score a hat trick of tries in one game since the Heartland Championship began in 2006 but he is the first local player to do so as the other two were both loan players, Jimmy Horsford (Waikato) in 2011 v Wairarapa Bush in Masterton and Pene Halai (Counties) v Horowhenua Kapiti in Te Aroha in 2007. He is also the first to do so at the Paeroa Domain. It is only the third time Thames Valley has scored fifty points in a Heartland game, last achieving the feat in Masterton in 2011 when they won 53-26 and then on home soil at Thames in 2006 when they beat West Coast 51-16. 


Representative Rugby Summary 5-9-2015 

The Development Team was beaten 24-12 by King Country B in the Stan Meads Cup Competition Bowl Semi Final at Paeroa. King Country now plays Central Bay of Plenty in this week’s final while Te Awamutu plays Piako in the Stan Meads Cup final at Albert Park, Te Awamutu.

The Under 18’s played in a preseason tournament at Wesley College against Counties City and Counties country going down 15-5 and 12-7 respectively.

The Under 16’s lost to Bay of Plenty A 18-3 in Tauranga, the Girls team was beaten 52-0 by Counties and the Under 14’s went down 62-13 to Central Bay of Plenty.

The Under 45 Kg team played Hamilton Gold and Te Awamutu on Sunday losing 45-12 and 38-31.


 Representative Preview 12-9-2015

This week is the annual clash with King Country and it’s their turn to host as six different grades compete for local bragging rights. Age grade teams from Under 18’s down to Under 45 Kg teams meet at Owen Delaney Park in Taupo as five curtain raisers precede the Heartland Championship game between the union’s senior sides. Along with the championship points on offer, the Centurions Cup which is currently held by Thames Valley will be up for grabs. A relatively recent innovation, the trophy is at stake whenever the two teams meet in the Championship competition. Kick off for the main game is 2.30pm.


Rugby Preview 5-9-2015 

Thames Valley is back in Paeroa this week for the Round Three match against East Coast in the Pink Batts Heartland Championship with the game starting at the unusual time of 1.00pm.This is because of the earlier flight time out of Auckland for the return trip home for the East Coast side and in order to accommodate them the Thames Valley Rugby Union agreed to an earlier kick off.

Both sides have had a rough start to the new season with the East Coast side slightly worse off having conceded over fifty points in both games played so far while Thames Valley has let in over seventy points in two outings although they did win a high scoring game last week.

Thames Valley has five points and lies in eighth place on the table while East Coast is yet to register any competition points.

That aside, East Coast has an impressive away record against Thames Valley. In fact, since the inception of the Heartland Championship in 2006, Thames Valley has never beaten East Coast at any venue in the Thames Valley. East Coast last visited here in 2012 and recorded an emphatic 53-38 win. The visitors also notched up wins on the road in 2007 and 2009.

Last year the sides met at Ruatoria on a waterlogged pitch and Thames Valley won 21-8.

This year the East Coast side is coached by Willie Waitoa and his assistant is Lance Maaka. One player to note is half back Charlie Harrison, who played his 100th game for the union against Poverty Bay in this year’s opening round and is sure to be appearing again this week. A skilful player, Harrison is well respected in the Heartland ranks and will be a handful for Thames Valley this week.

Thames Valley has to plenty to work on this week as they prepare for the East Coast. While it was good to win on the road, the manner of victory was not convincing and there is much work to be done if the side is to succeed this year.

The Thames Valley Development Team is playing King Country B in the Stan Meads Cup Bowl section. This game will be the main curtain raiser at the Paeroa Domain and starts at 11.15am.

 The winner of this game will advance to the finals the following week, which will be held at either Te Awamutu or Hamilton, depending on the outcome of their game this week.

The Thames Valley Under 18’s have another warm up tournament, this time at Wesley College, where they will face Counties Manukau City and Country teams.

The Secondary Schools Girls Team is in Papakura to play Counties Manukau and the Under 16’s play Bay of Plenty at Greerton Park in Tauranga.

The Under 14’s host Central Bay of Plenty at Centennial Park in Paeroa while the Roller Mills Team plays a Rex Holden Memorial Invitation XV in the early curtain raiser at the Paeroa Domain, starting at 10.00am.

On Sunday, the Under 45kg team heads to Albert Park in Te Awamutu  for games against Hamilton Gold at 11.30am and Te Awamutu at 1.30pm.


 Rugby Report 29-8-2015

The Thames Valley Rugby side bounced back from a heavy loss in the opening round of the Pink Batts Heartland Championship to record a 43-37 victory over Poverty Bay in Gisborne last weekend. The bonus point win moves the team off the bottom of the points table and into eighth place for this week while Poverty Bay picked up two bonus points to sit third on the table behind the two remaining unbeaten teams, Mid Canterbury and North Otago.

Mid Canterbury needed an injury time converted try to deny Wanganui a win at Cooks Gardens as they squeezed in 30-28 while North Otago also had a narrow victory over Wairarapa Bush at Masterton by 18-16.

South Canterbury was too strong for East Coast in Timaru, winning by 57-5 while King Country downed Horowhenua Kapiti 34-28 in Te Kuiti.

Thames Valley went to Gisborne fully aware that a vast improvement was needed after such a poor showing in the first game against Wairarapa Bush and mindful that Poverty Bay had run in fifty points in their first up win at East Coast the previous week.

Rugby Park in Gisborne was in top order and Poverty Bay took control from the outset and had a handy ten point lead in even time. Thames Valley struggled to maintain possession against a dominant Bay pack and the team found itself under immense pressure until first five Jonnie Te Ruki landed a penalty in the twentieth minute to get the visitors on the board. Shortly after, Te Ruki had to leave the field with an injury and his replacement, David Harrison took little time to settle in before putting centre Nemani Talemaitoga into a gap that saw him crash over under the bar and give Harrison the easiest of conversions to tie up the game at 10 all. Poverty Bay responded immediately and some poor defence allowed them to regain the lead with an unconverted try. With only three minutes left in the half, Talemaitoga broke the line again as he scored his second try which Harrison duly converted. On the stroke of half time, Thames Valley moved the ball through the backs to  fullback Chance Bunce who ran strongly before producing a chip and chase kick to beat the last defender and score a remarkable try which Harrison once again obliged by adding the conversion to send Thames Valley into the sheds with a 24 -15 lead.

Two minutes after the interval, hooker Hayden Wisnewski chimed in with the bonus point try before the hosts pulled one back to close the gap to 29-20. Moss Doran was next to score, intercepting a loose pass and scampering 40 meters to dot down. Five minutes later, replacement mid fielder Joe Murray went over in the scoreboard corner as he celebrated his fiftieth game for the union in fine style. Harrison converted both tries, pushing the Thames Valley out to a 43-20 lead before Poverty Bay threw everything at them to try and save the game. To their credit, they almost did and when Referee Mike Winter blew the final whistle the Valley was only just hanging on.

Both sides scored six tries in a very entertaining game. Talemaitoga showed some real promise and David Harrison had a memorable game. 

The Thames Valley Development Team played Piako in a Stan Meads Cup fixture in Paeroa leading by 13-0 before being reduced to 14 men and seeing their lead being overtaken to eventually go down by 24-13. This was the last round of pool play and this week the Development Team plays King Country in Paeroa in a Bowl Semi Final in Paeroa at 11.15am.

The Thames Valley Under 18 team took part in a preseason quadrangular tournament at Boyd Park, along with teams from King Country, Hamilton and Waikato Country while the Under 16 side took on Taranaki in New Plymouth, losing 31-0.

The Secondary School Girls team travelled to Northcote to play North Harbour but found the home side too strong, coming out on the wrong side of a 41-0 scoreline.


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