2017 Thames Valley Heartland Squad Announced
The following players have been selected by Head Coach, Matthew Bartleet and his assistant coaches, David Harrison and Joe Murray to represent Thames Valley in this year’s Mitre 10 Heartland Championship which begins on August 26 with an away game against East Coast at Whakarua Park in Ruatoria.
The squad contains a number of new faces along with some more familiar names that have been in the team over the last few years. Fullback/winger Lance Easton is the most experienced player in the squad, having played over sixty games for Thames Valley, three games for Counties Manukau and was in the New Zealand Heartland XV in 2015.
The squad includes three loan players and one Player of Origin as per the competition rules. The Loan Players are Aaron Carroll, a lock from Mt Maunganui Sports, Harrison Lafituanai, winger, from Melville R&S and Alex Bradley, number eight, from United Matamata Sports. The Player of Origin is former Thames Valley captain, Brett Ranga from Mt. Maunganui Sports.
The team has preseason games against Taranaki Development team at Clifton on August 5 and Auckland Colts at Thames on August 12 followed by a camp to be held locally on August 19.
The full squad is:
The Thames Valley Development Team Squad has also been named by Head Coach Peter O’Connor from Waihi. He will be assisted by Colin Walker along with Technical Advisor, Michael Bellamy. The team will be managed by Geoff Spargo and Stephen Wise Snr., both from Whangamata.
The Development Team has preseason games against Auckland U19B at Papatoetoe on August 5, Onewhero/Te Kauwhata XV on August 12 at Thames and King Country Development on August 19 at Taupo.
The Development Team will compete by special permission in the Northern Regions Under 85 kg competition as will the King Country Development. Their first competition game is against Auckland U85’s in Paeroa on August 26.This competition runs for five weeks and their season finishes with a game against Waikato at Paeroa on September 30 as curtain raiser to the Heartland Team’s game against Mid Canterbury.