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Year by Year , Our History ~ 2018 ~

We hope you enjoy this look back as we look forward to many more years of recording the history of Thames Valley Rugby Union.We acknowledge all the information from the NZ “Rugby Almanack” Series from the season’s 1934 through to 2018 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. Web Admin

Acknowledgments to the NZ Rugby Almanack Franchise:

Back to Year by Year Index click here



2018 Status:
Heartland Championship
Founded 1922
K.J.(Kelly) Plummer
G.W.(Graham) Hallett
Edmond Leahy
M.W.H.P.(Hayden) Roe
Assistant Coach:
D.P.(David) Harrison
& J.P.(Joe) Murray
Main ground:
Paeroa Domain
Black, Gold and Red

After finishing the 2017 season in ninth place, Thames Valley made a dramatic improvement in 2018 which resulted in their winning the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship and becoming holders of the Meads Cup. Sixteen players with previous representative experience formed a valuable foundation for the coaches to build on, and the Swamp Foxes were further strengthened by the addition of several worthy newcomers in key positions. Head coach Matthew Bartleet, together with his two assistants, David Harrison and Joe Murray, quickly settled on a preferred starting line-up and the team played open and attractive rugby to score a Thames Valley record of 44 tries in the Heartland competition.

Throughout the season the forward pack steadily improved and developed into a very effective combination which was more than a match for its opponents in the finals. Team spirit intensified as the season progressed as did the players’ self-belief in their ability to be successful. The manner in which they stepped up their defence in the final matches against Wanganui and South Canterbury is a tribute to their attitude and commitment. To win five games away from home, including a semi-final and a final, is an amazing achievement for a team which had never previously progressed beyond a semi-final in the Lochore Cup and one which had never featured in the Meads Cup playoff series.

Out wide Harry Lafituanai, Sam McCahon and Kieran Lee formed a potent attacking trio and they were well supported by two promising newcomers in Ethan Seymour and Matthew Abraham. Jesse Dodunski, returning after a year’s absence, was a capable fullback, but his season was curtailed by injury. Shaun Hill again demonstrated his strength in the midfield and it was unfortunate that an injury prevented him from playing in the final and taking his place in the New Zealand Heartland XV. Halfback Ben Bonnar was back to his best form with Matt Fisher, returning to the side after a year’s break, being a worthy substitute. At first five-eighth Reece Boughton played a key role in the team’s success. He scored 86 points with his boot and proved to be an astute tactical kicker.

Alex Bradley, Brett Ranga and former New Zealand Secondary Schools’ representative Christian Kelleher were a dynamic loose forward trio and they scored a total of ten tries. For the second year in a row Brett Ranga was named Player of the Year. Newcomer Cameron Dromgool joined Connor McVerry as a lock and although they were the shortest pairing in the competition they demonstrated much courage and skillful play. Glen Mclntyre, who had last appeared in 2016, was a dedicated and powerful hooker. The regular prop forwards, Te Huia Kutia and Sitiveni Tupou, made huge strides this season with the latter becoming something of a cult figure. When he was available the Chilean prop Sergio de la Fuente provided good cover, with the highlight of his season being the try he scored in the final against South Canterbury. The surprise of the year was former outside back, and veteran of 65 games for Thames Valley, Lance Easton’s transformation into a prop forward. Easton appeared in every game and after a shaky start he proved his worth with some strong scrummaging in the final matches.

After an outstanding season with Thames Valley, Alex Bradley was named as captain of the New Zealand Heartland team, an honour richly deserved and well merited as were the selections of Ranga, Mclntyre, McCahon and Hill (unavailable)

Higher honours went to:
New Zealand Heartland: A.J.Bradley, S.M.McCahon, G.F.Mclntyre, B.D.Ranga

2018 Match Record: Played 12 ; Won 9 ; Lost 3
Points : For 410 ; Against 285

Click “result (0-0) ” for match details

2018 Results

Sat 27 Oct 2018 1:05 pm A Heartland Championship South Canterbury 12 - 17
Sat 20 Oct 2018 2:30 pm A Heartland Championship Wanganui 7 - 17
Sat 13 Oct 2018 2:30 pm A Heartland Championship South Canterbury 33 - 24
Sat 06 Oct 2018 2:00 pm H Heartland Championship Horowhenua-Kapiti 29 - 27
Sat 29 Sep 2018 2:30 pm A Heartland Championship Poverty Bay 34 - 37
Sat 22 Sep 2018 2:00 pm H Heartland Championship North Otago 43 - 21
Sat 15 Sep 2018 2:00 pm H Heartland Championship King Country 29 - 37
Sat 08 Sep 2018 1:30 pm A Heartland Championship Buller Rugby 22 - 43
Sat 01 Sep 2018 2:00 pm A Heartland Championship Wairarapa Bush 32 - 44
Sat 25 Aug 2018 2:00 pm H Heartland Championship West Coast 25 - 27
Sat 11 Aug 2018 2:00 pm H Pre-Season East Coast 59 - 14
Sat 04 Aug 2018 2:30 pm A Pre-Season Taranaki Development 19 - 43

Thames Valley REPRESENTATIVES {2018} – 1st Class Matches (does not include the 2 pre-season games)