Rugby Preview 20-9-2014
The Pink Batts Heartland Championship has reached the half way point of this year’s competition and Thames Valley is at home this week to meet North Otago at the Paeroa Domain.
Currently North Otago sits in eighth place on the table with seven points from a one win- three loss record while Thames Valley is fifth, courtesy of three wins and a draw. However the form book favours North Otago heavily when it comes to playing Thames Valley. Since the inception of the Heartland Championship in 2006, the sides have met three times, twice in Oamaru and once in Paeroa but the outcome has always been the same, with North Otago winning all three games. In 2009 North Otago won 55-3 in Oamaru, then came to Paeroa a year later and won 38-26. In 2012 they triumphed again, 28-7. In all, North Otago has been in the Meads Cup final three times, winning in 2007 and 2010 and has also won the Lochore Cup once, in 2009.
To date, Thames Valley has the unenviable record of being the only Heartland Union never to have made a final in either the Meads or Lochore Cups.
Traditionally, North Otago trade well in the loan player department and expect little different for this encounter as they seem to manage to uncover a new game breaker each year. They also field good sized forwards and bring a quick back or two that trouble most defences.
The Thames Valley lineup will be determined by the injury situation but Coach Hayden Roe will try and keep as close as possible to the fifteen that have brought in three wins and a draw so far this year.
This week’s game will be refereed by Alistair Payne, from Masterton, who was in charge of the last home game against Mid Canterbury, two weeks ago.
The Development Team plays North Harbour Under 85kgs at the Northcote Rugby Club in Auckland at 2.30pm. The Under 18’s team is also in Auckland to play the Auckland Divisional side, the Under 16s’s travel to North Harbour for their game and there are three curtain raisers for the Heartland game at the Paeroa Domain.
At 11.00am the Secondary School Girls play Waikato and the Roller Mills play Bay of Plenty. At 12.30pm the Under 14’s play Western Bay of Plenty on No.1 as the main curtain raiser to the big game.
On Sunday the Thames Valley Under 45kgs team plays two games at Boyd Park, Te Aroha in the final round of the Invitational Tournament. They play King Country at 11.00am and Te Awamutu at 1.00pm
Rugby Report 13-9-2014
The Thames Valley Heartland Rugby team recorded its first win at Ruatoria since 2008 after defeating East Coast 21-8 on a water logged Whakarua Park. The win maintains Thames Valley’s unbeaten run in the 2014 Pink Batts Heartland competition alongside Buller and Horowhenua Kapiti who are also undefeated to date.
Buller came from behind to overcome the previously undefeated South Canterbury side 19-10 in Westport while Horowhenua Kapiti had to withstand a strong second half showing from West Coast at Greymouth before taking the points with a 19-17 victory. Mid Canterbury added to Wanganui’s woes winning 30-14 in Ashburton, Poverty Bay had a good away victory in Masterton, beating Wairarapa Bush 23-10 and King Country threw the form book out the window by upsetting North Otago 17-14 in Oamaru. As a result, the points table sees Buller alone on top with eighteen points, followed by South Canterbury, Poverty Bay and Horowhenua Kapiti all on fifteen points and Thames Valley, undefeated on fourteen.
There were only one or two changes to the Thames Valley team for the East Coast encounter, with loosie Blake Hill sidelined with an ankle injury and unable to strip and Joe Murray getting a start ahead of Matt Hema in the back line.
Played in trying conditions, Thames Valley had to dig deep to overcome an East Coast side that played with a great deal of pride and commitment in front of their home crowd. Rain fell steadily throughout the game and most of the field was covered in water with some large pools evident from the sideline. Thames Valley tried to move the ball early on in the game but the conditions were not conducive to running rugby while East Coast employed a traditional style of play that was more suitable to the weather and kept themselves in the hunt for most of the game. Thames Valley threatened the home side’s try line on a number of occasions but strong defence held them out and it was left to the trusty boot of First Five David Harrison to give the visitors a slender 6-3 lead after a low scoring forty minutes of rugby.
Harrison extended the lead just after the restart but East Coast continued to hold out and a frustrated Thames Valley began to give away a string of penalties as their discipline deteriorated and eventually the home side forced their way over the line for an unconverted try. With the lead cut to a single point with ten minutes to play Thames Valley finally fired and it seemed inevitable that they would score but the hosts defence remained intact until big George Lelenoa proved irresistible as he forced his way across the line with three minutes to go. Harrison’s conversion attempt missed but from the restart East Coast did extremely well to regain possession only to be dispossessed through the sterling efforts of Nic Judd and William Tamanalevu. The resulting turnover saw the ball carried forward by several Thames Valley players before Richard Judd cantered over the line to score in the eightieth minute. Harrison added the extras as referee Angus Mabey blew for full time. It wasn’t a pretty win but considering the playing conditions it was still a good result and keeps the team well in with a chance of making the Meads Cup play offs.
The Development Team played King Country B in the Stan Meads Cup plate final at Te Awamutu and after a good first half they were only one point behind, trailing 18-17 but they were unable to capitalise on their opportunities in the second half as King Country took out the final 30-17.
The Under 16’s lost to Waikato, the Secondary School Girls got beaten by Bay of Plenty in Rotorua, the Under 14’s drew 26 all with Central Bay of Plenty in Rotorua and the Roller Mills boys went down 48-5 against Northland at Kaiwaka.
TE AWAMUTU WIN STAN MEADS CUP FOR THE THIRD TIME IN FOUR SEASONS
Te Awamutu, will have their name engraved on the Stan Meads Cup for the third time in the four seasons it has been contested - after defeating Hamilton in the 2014 Stan Meads Cup Final on Saturday (13 September 2014).
Played before a good sized crowd at Albert Park in Te Awamutu, the home side went into the match with a plenty of self belief and led 34-17 at the half time break.
Hamilton closed up the gap to 34-24 entering the last quarter, before the Te Awamutu Fijian contingent cut loose in the last ten minutes of the encounter. Three quick-fire touchdowns, with all three converted, resulted in Te Awamutu posting an emphatic 55-24 victory.
The two most prestigious pieces of silverware, that are contested in the Stan Meads Cup annual competition, will spend the summer break from rugby in the Te Awamutu headquarters. Last weekend the Te Awamutu Sub-Union side locked the Peace (SMC Challenge Trophy) Cup away before adding the main prize on Saturday.
King Country B won back to back Stan Meads Plate’s, when they got past a spirited challenge from Thames Valley B in the SMC curtain-raiser. King Country led 18-17 at half time, before going on to grab the SMC Plate 30-17.
Stan Meads Cup Finals Day Results 13 September 2014
Stan Meads Cup Final: Te Awamutu 55 Hamilton 24
Stan Meads Cup Plate: King Country B 30 Thames Valley B 17
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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