The Thames Valley Heartland team has its first home game on Saturday in a preseason hit out against Ngati Porou East Coast at Rugby Park, Waihi at 3pm.
After a big trip away last week the Heartland squad will look forward to having some home town support as coach Matthew Bartleet and his assistants Joe Murray and David Harrison continue preparations for the Mitre 10 competition in two weeks’ time.
Injuries continue to dog some players in the squad but with the Development Team playing in the curtain-raiser there will be no shortage of back players in all positions.
The East Coast team is travelling up on the day so the travel factor may take its toll on the visitors.
The Development Team plays Te Marawhero in the 1.30pm curtain-raiser at Waihi.
The Te Marawhero side is a combination on the Te Kauwhata, Maramarua and Onewhero clubs and has played against various Thames Valley sides in the past few years.
Thames Valley won this fixture last year with a last-minute try in a 31-29 victory.
With a number of players available this week that did not make the trip to Auckland, coaches Walker and Bellamy will have a full squad to select from.
The secondary school rugby finals are being held at the Paeroa Domain on Saturday. The programme which starts at 10am is as follows:
1st XV Coulter Cup, 1pm, Paeroa College vs Thames High School; 1st XV Allen Fisher Cup, 11.30am, Te Aroha College vs Waihi College; Development Grade, L Berry Cup, 11.30am, Hauraki Plains vs Thames High School; 4th Grade, Bob Passey Cup ,10am, Paeroa College v Waihi College.
The Shaw Cup and Fleming Shield Finals Day is being held at Boyd Park, Te Aroha on Sunday, August 12.
The first round of Shaw Cup games start at 10am while the Fleming Shield action starts at 11am. The second round of games start at noon and 1pm respectively with finals to follow.
The naming of the Thames Valley Roller Mills and Under 45kg teams will be carried out on Monday afternoon via Facebook and the Thames Valley Rugby Union website at 5pm.
The Thames Valley Under 16 and Under 18 teams will be named on Sunday evening at 5pm on the same platforms.
Friday night rugby continues for the Under 13 girl’s competition with the second round being held by the Hauraki North Rugby Club at the Waitakaruru Domain.
The first round of games start at 6pm.
The annual Bayleys preseason launch for the Thames Valley Heartland team is being held at the Thames Rugby & Sports Clubrooms on August 15 at 6.30pm.
This event is open to the public and entry is free to all comers and is a great opportunity for sponsors and supporters to mix and mingle with the players and management of the Heartland Team.
The Thames Valley Rugby Supporters Club held an apparel launch last week and revealed a new line of supporters gear for the 2018 season.
For all enquiries about the apparel or if you are interested in joining the Supporters Club give Murphy Buses a call 07 868 6265 or just call into their Kopu office behind the Kopu Hotel.