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Report: Wairarapa Bush v. Thames Valley 2021

Heartland Rugby Game 1 2021

Ross Cooper delivered the Presidents’ Cup to the Wairarapa Rugby Union last Friday and the Swamp Foxes brought it back to the Valley on Sunday. A 42-10 victory over Bush at Masterton gave Thames Valley the honour of being the first winners of this new trophy.

In spite of many errors by both sides the Thames Valley forwards were in control for much of the game. Conrad McVerry and Cameron Dromgool proved to be a dynamic duo in the second row and they led a pack of committed and enthusiastic team mates.

The Thames Valley back line has few opportunities in the first half but twice backs and forwards combined to set up tries -the first for Telly Hemepo and the second to Josh Kaho. Todd Doolin added  a conversion and a penalty goal to give the Swamp Foxes a lead of 15-10 at half time. Wairarapa Bush had scored a converted try right on half time to go with an earlier penalty goal.

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After the break another penalty goal by Doolin extended the lead to 18-10 and then then in the 51st minute ill -discipline resulted in Wairarapa Bush receiving a red and a yellow card. The home side did not learn from their mistakes and nine minutes later lost another player to a red card when the Valley loosie, Ben Stephens was carried off the field after being tackled head high.

For a short time the Bush only had 12 men on the field but Captain Johan van Vliet led by example in urging his troops to defend, defend, defend! Finally, the defence cracked and Josh Kaho went over for his second try. There was no conversion and Thames Valley led 23-10.

Wairarapa Bush were back to fourteen players for the final ten minutes but the Swamp Foxes showed their class by running up nineteen points during this period. Doolin, Sione Vakapuna Etoni and Luke Masirewa scored tries two of which were converted by Doolin.

All in all a satisfactory start for the Swamp Foxes – the foundation is there for future success and the team will benefit from this hit out as they strive to be more accurate in all phases of their game.

For Thames Valley: Tries by Josh Kaho (2), Telly Hemopo, Todd Doolin, Sione Vakapuna Etoni and Luke Masirewa. Two penalty goals and 3 conversions by Todd Doolin.

For Wairarapa Bush: Try by Moomoo Falaniko, Penalty and conversion by Tipene Haira

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