Alex Bradley has again been selected to represent Thames Valley in this year’s Heartland Rugby competition, (file photo).
With the club rugby finals out of the way, the senior rep teams get down to business.
The pre-season campaign begins with the Heartland team travelling to the TSB Hub, Hawera in Taranaki, to play a warm-up game against the Taranaki Development Team.
This game will be part of the curtain-raiser programme for the Ranfurly Shield game between holders, Taranaki and challengers, Wanganui.
Coach Matthew Bartleet will be taking his squad of players away on this exercise in order to give game time to as many players as possible.
The team will be away for two nights and the game which starts at 1pm will be played in three 30 minute spells.
The Thames Valley Development Team is into its pre-season programme straight away as well, with a game against the Auckland Under 19 B team at Bell Park, Pakuranga at 2.45pm.
Coach Colin Walker will be taking a full squad as he looks to prime the team for the Northern Region’s competition which begins on August 25 with an away game against the Auckland Under 85kg side.
There is one club game taking place this weekend in Te Aroha, where local rivals Waihou and Cobras battle it out for the Dr. Dunn Memorial trophy.
This local derby is one of the most fiercely contested rivalries in club rugby and regardless of form or otherwise a crowd of around 1000 people is expected for the game.
This fixture is normally played during the championship round but the Cobras team missed the cut this year and this is the first available date for the teams to meet.
Kick-off is at 1.30pm at Boyd Park, Te Aroha and will be controlled by leading referee, Sean Moore.
The secondary schools competition is at the semi final stage with the 1st XV teams clashing tomorrow.
Round robin winner, Paeroa College is at home versus Mercury Bay Area School while Thames High School has home advantage when hosting Hauraki Plains College at Thames.
Both games start at 11.30am.
In the second grade, Hauraki Plains College plays Mercury Bay at Ngatea at 10am.
The fourth grade semis see Paeroa College play Hauraki Plains West at Paeroa and Whangamata plays Waihi College at Whangamata.
Saturday is the second day of the annual Shaw Cup and Fleming Shield competitions and this will be held at Whitianga Sports Park.
This competition has a great deal of history in Thames Valley Rugby with the Fleming Shield first played for back in 1927.
The Shaw Cup was introduced in 1952 and is played for, in conjunction with the Fleming Shield each year.