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 2023 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

2017 Season

2017 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 five rounds of the 2017 Mitre 10 Heartland Championship Thames Valley were third equal on the points table and had a top four play-off position firmly in their sights. However, the only return from the final three games was three bonus points and consequently they fell back to eighth equal position with Poverty Bay. On the strength of their 36-35 victory over the Swamp Foxes it was Poverty Bay who progressed to the semi-finals of the Lochore Cup. For the first time in the history of the competition, 20 points were not enough for a team to gain a semi-final position.

For their efforts on the paddock Thames Valley deserved greater rewards. ln a warm-up match the Auckland Colts were defeated 27-20 and then in competition games their biggest loss was by only nine points. In fact, three games were lost by one, two and three points, including the Meads Cup finalists, Wanganui and Horowhenua-Kapiti whose victories were by the ‘skin of their teeth’. A powerful scrum was the strength of the team. It was never mastered and proved to be a huge challenge for all opposition.

Matt Bartleet, who had previously served four years as assistant coach to Roger Wilton, was appointed as head coach and he was ably assisted by two recent players, Joe Murray and David Harrison. This group developed into a very strong coaching combination. They produced effective game plans and the team was strengthened by the astute recruitment of loan players.

Former Chiefs and Waikato player, Alex Bradley was a great source of inspiration and the young Mt Maunganui forward, Aaron Carrol is an excellent example of the modern lock with his strength in the tight and ability on attack. The Melville outside back, Harry Lafituanai, was a strong runner with the ball in hand. However, the player of the year was Brett Ranga, returning in his original role to have an outstanding season on the side of the scrum. New player, Travis Scott, together with George Lelenoa (formerly a No. 8) and co-captain, Hayden Wisnewski at hooker formed a formidable front row. Although not a big man, the former Irish Under 20 Representative Rory Moloney served the side effectively as openside flanker and he was well backed up by the promising Matt Hart. The other key forward was Connor McVerry who handled the transition from flanker to lock with aplomb.

At halfback, Ben Bonnar did not have the impact of the previous season and he shared the position with newcomer Jonty Wood. The veteran Chris Doak was a tradesman-like first five-eighth with the young Jarod Goodhall also gaining valuable experience as his understudy. Thames Valley were well served in the midfield with co-captain Shaun Hill (who had previously represented in 2014) and newcomer Sam McCahon forming a strong partnership. When given room to move the team’s speedsters, Tyrone Keith and Lafituanai were a threat to all opponents and it is disappointing that more attacking opportunities were not created for this pair. Josh Law returned to the side after a year’s absence to cover the fullback position.

After four competition matches Thames Valley had scored 14 tries and conceded only five. It was therefore disappointing that their defence faded in the final four matches as they let in 17 tries and only managed one further victory. However, as evidence of the competitive nature of this team, it was Valley’s best ever season for scoring bonus points (eight). Thirty-two players were used, with half making their Thames Valley debuts and a core group of 24 appearing the most often. If the majority of these players are available in 2018 then the side will be in a strong position to make further progress.

No player was called upon for higher honours.

2017 Match Record: Played 8 ; Won 3 ; Lost 5
Points : For 209 ; Against 174

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

2017 Results

Sat 26 Aug 3:00 pm A Heartland East Coast Thames Valley RU 13 - 42
Sat 02 Sep 3:00 pm H Heartland Whanganui Thames Valley RU 19 - 21
Sat 09 Sep 3:00 pm A Heartland Horowhenua-Kapiti Thames Valley RU 13 - 10
Sat 16 Sep 3:00 pm H Heartland Buller Rugby Thames Valley RU 26 - 07
Sat 23 Sep 3:00 pm A Heartland King Country Thames Valley RU 36 - 45
Sat 30 Sep 3:00 pm H Heartland Mid Canterbury Thames Valley RU 16 - 25
Sat 07 Oct 3:00 pm A Heartland West Coast Thames Valley RU 24 - 17
Sat 14 Oct 3:00 pm H Heartland Poverty Bay Thames Valley RU 34 - 35

2017 Players

    Position PL
1170 Placeholder Aaron Carroll Lock 0
1172 Alex J. Bradley No. 8 0
1120 Placeholder Beau R. Hamilton Halfback 0
1155 Ben T. Bonnar Halfback 0
1092 Brett Dean Ranga Loose Forward/Lock 0
1013 Placeholder Chris Hugh Doak First Five/Fullback 0
1148 Connor E. McVerry Loose Forward 0
1122 Placeholder Eden McLean Wing 0
1180 Placeholder Eli Lavery Prop 0
1105 Placeholder Ethan Roycroft Hooker 0
1175 Harry K. Lafituanai Outside Back 0
1147 Placeholder Hayden T. Anderson No. 8 0
1114 Placeholder Hayden Wisnewski Hooker 0
1177 Jarred B. Bayliss Halfback 0
1178 Placeholder Jarrod M. Goodall First Five 0
1179 Jonty S. Wood Halfback 0
1069 Placeholder Joshua David Law Utility Back 0
1181 Keegan S. Lewis Lock 0
1027 Lance Christopher Easton Fullback/Wing/Prop 0
1183 Logan T. Matai-Povey Hooker 0
1176 Matthew J. Hart Flanker 0
1153 Matthew Rolston Lock 0
1169 Placeholder Roger Cairns Prop 0
1171 Placeholder Rory C. Moloney Flanker 0
1173 Placeholder Rupeni Voyocaki Wing 0
1174 Sam S. McCahon Midfield 0
1129 Shaun Murray Goering Hill Wing 0
1131 Placeholder Siaosi K. 'George' Lelenoa No. 8 0
1182 Sitiveni V. Tupou Prop 0
1164 Tim Erceg Flanker 0
1168 Placeholder Travis Scott Prop 0
1137 Placeholder Tyrone G.B. Keith Wing 0