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

2018 Season

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 04 Aug 3:00 pm A pre-season Placeholder Taranaki Development Thames Valley RU 19 - 43
Sat 11 Aug 3:00 pm H pre-season East Coast Thames Valley RU 59 - 14
Sat 25 Aug 3:00 pm H Heartland West Coast Thames Valley RU 25 - 27
Sat 01 Sep 3:00 pm A Heartland Wairarapa Bush Thames Valley RU 32 - 44
Sat 08 Sep 3:00 pm A Heartland Buller Rugby Thames Valley RU 22 - 43
Sat 15 Sep 3:00 pm H Heartland King Country Thames Valley RU 29 - 37
Sat 22 Sep 3:00 pm H Heartland North Otago Thames Valley RU 43 - 21
Sat 29 Sep 3:00 pm A Heartland Poverty Bay Thames Valley RU 34 - 37
Sat 06 Oct 3:00 pm H Heartland Horowhenua-Kapiti Thames Valley RU 29 - 27
Sat 13 Oct 3:00 pm A Heartland South Canterbury Thames Valley RU 33 - 24
Sat 20 Oct 3:00 pm A Heartland Whanganui Thames Valley RU 07 - 17
Sat 27 Oct 3:00 pm A Heartland South Canterbury Thames Valley RU 12 - 17

2018 Players

    Position PL
1172 Alex J. Bradley No. 8 0
1155 Ben T. Bonnar Halfback 0
1186 Ben Vincent Flanker 0
1092 Brett Dean Ranga Loose Forward/Lock 0
1185 Cameron M. Dromgool Lock 0
1187 Christian T. Kelleher Flanker 0
1148 Connor E. McVerry Loose Forward 0
1191 Ethan L. Seymour Wing/Fullback 0
1144 Glen F. McIntyre Flanker/Hooker 0
1175 Harry K. Lafituanai Outside Back 0
1159 Jesse T. Dodunski Fullback 0
1181 Keegan S. Lewis Lock 0
1189 Kieran E. Lee Wing 0
1027 Lance Christopher Easton Fullback/Wing/Prop 0
1183 Logan T. Matai-Povey Hooker 0
1143 Mathew Fisher Halfback 0
1190 Matiu J.K. Abraham Midfield/Wing 0
1176 Matthew J. Hart Flanker 0
1153 Matthew Rolston Lock 0
1194 Nathan Emery First Five 0
1188 Reece Boughton First Five 0
1174 Sam S. McCahon Midfield 0
1193 Sergio De La Fuente Prop 0
1129 Shaun Murray Goering Hill Wing 0
1192 Shin Ouchi Hooker 0
1182 Sitiveni V. Tupou Prop 0
1184 Te Huia A. Kutia Prop 0