Final Preseason Match: NZ Harlequins 29 v 29 Thames Valley
Final Preseason Match
NZ Harlequins v Thames Valley at Waikato Stadium 7th August 2022
Like the curate’s egg the Swamp Foxes’ 29 all draw with the NZ Harlequins was good in parts. Both teams scored five tries and converted two each. After having the better of territory and possession in the first half Thames Valley found themselves down 7 – 19 at the break. Too many scoring opportunities had been squandered as a result of poor handling or infringements at the break down. They finally clicked after 38 minutes when effective team work resulted in Tupaea scoring by the posts and Doolan adding the extra two points.
Displaying more consistency after half time the Foxes scored tries by Cameron Dromgool and Neels to close the gap to, NZ Harlequins 19 Thames Valley 17 after fifteen minutes. The Harlequins responded with two tries and increased their lead by 29 points to 17 with fifteen minutes left on the clock.
A determined effort by the Valley saw the gap close to 29- 22 with a try by Luke Gilbert. Then, on the eighty-minute mark, a great counter attack by Thames Valley resulted in Lea Mau dotting down and Zac Stephens adding the extra two points to draw the game.
For the amount of possession they had the Swamp Foxes had the winning of this game but the Harlequins were always dangerous with the ball in hand and they mounted several long range attacks which resulted in points. Thames Valley displayed determination throughout and were able to try out several different combinations in the match. Therefore, much will be gained from this encounter as the team prepares for their first competition match against South Canterbury in Temuka on Saturday 20th August.
At the conclusion of the match, President Kelly Plummer was presented with a commemorative jersey, split into Waikato and Thames Valley colours, to honour 100 years of rugby in both unions.
On behalf of the Thames Valley Rugby Union Kelly thanked Waikato for this fine gesture.