Match Report: Thames Valley v. East Coast
There is no doubt that Thames Valley underplayed their hand in defeating Ngati Porou East Coast 35-19 at Ruatoria last Saturday. They were met by a stubborn East Coast defence, received three yellow cards and too often were penalised at the breakdown following promising attacking moves. The first yellow card resulted in an automatic seven- point penalty try which enabled East Coast to be only four points behind at half time.
Todd Doolin had opened Valley’s scoring with a penalty goal and then a fine break by Leroy Neels led to a try by Josh Kaho. The conversion was unsuccessful but shortly afterwards Connor Mc Verry, playing his fortieth match, scored his first ever try for the Swamp Foxes. Doolin converted and Thames Valley looked comfortable with 15-0 lead.
However East Coast worked their way back into the match and following a strong lineout drive their half back, Sam Parkes scored between the posts. The try was converted by Te Rangi Fraser. A further penalty goal by Doolin extended Thames Valley’s lead and to 18-7and then came the penalty try for East Coast when the referee ruled that they would have scored but for a knock-on intercept by Sione Vakapuna Etoni thus making the half time score: Thames Valley 18 East Coast 14.
Early in the second half Doolin kicked his third penalty goal and then Tevita Halafihi scored a try from a Thames Valley counter attack. Doolin’s conversion made the score 28-14 to the Swamp Foxes. Mid way through the half Valley were again reduced to 14 men when Muir was yellow carded – as was Masirewa for the final ten minutes. During this period Halafihi again demonstrated his speed and strength to score his second try which Doolin converted. East Coast had the last say and after a sustained attack on the Valley line Te Rangi Fraser scored an unconverted try to make the final score 35-19. Thames Valley’s four tries gave then a bonus point and they now sit equal with South Canterbury at the top of the points table.
It was good to come away with a win against a much, improved East Coast side especially as three yellow cards meant Thames Valley played a total of thirty minutes with only fourteen men on the paddock. However, the coaches will be looking for greater continuity and better discipline from now on.
In scoring two tries Tevita Halafihi proved to be a “super sub” and full credit must go to Tiaontin Raoren for a fine display, in the unaccustomed position of half back, after he replaced the injured, Leroy Neels.
For Thames Valley: Josh Kaho, Connor McVerry and Tevita Halafihi (2) tries. Todd Doolin 3 penalty goals and 3 conversions.
For East Coast: Sam Parkes and Te Rangi Fraser tries, plus one penalty try. Te Rangi Fraser 1 conversion.