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2014 Heartland Preview – Thames Valley & Wairarapa Bush

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We continue our reviews on all 12 Heartland Teams

we now look at Thames Valley and Wairarapa Bush

thamesvalley waibush


THAMES VALLEY

THAMESVALLEY2013 finish: 8th

The decision of 69-match All Black Frank Bunce to climb on board as assistant to new coach Hayden Roe, a former Valley rep, has given the Swamp Foxes an extra dimension this season.

Bunce, who has purchased a tyre shop in Thames, has attracted a young 136kg prop, Eva Taumalolo (Manukau Rovers), who has played in France, to boost Valley’s front row.

Michael Tuiloma, 120kg, who played a game for 2013 Lochore Cup champions South Canterbury, is another front rower along with former Waikato loosehead Kieran Ramage.

Former Fijian international lock Savenaca Tabakanalagi, another at 120 kg, is also in the squad as is ex Auckland and Southland centre Watisoni Lotawa.

The backline includes 30-year-old first five or utility back David Harrison, the most capped squad member with more than 85 caps and 582 points to his credit.

The Foxes have swamped Matamata Corinthians 64-10 and beat the Cook Islands 19-12 before losing 68-0 to Counties Manukau in a Ranfurly Shield challenge in Pukekohe.

Valley would love a start like last season, claiming the scalps of both Lochore Cup finalists, South Canterbury and Buller, plus Poverty Bay before four losses on the trot and then beating Meads Cup semi-finalists Wairarapa-Bush but eventually  losing 14-8 away to champions South Canterbury in the Lochore semis.

Thames Valley 2014 Heartland Championship
Week One
23-Aug Horo-Kapiti v Thames Valley Levin 2:30 p.m.
Week Two
30-Aug Thames Valley v King Country Te Aroha 2:00 p.m.
Week Three
6-Sep Thames Valley v Mid Canterbury Paeroa 2:00 p.m.
Week Four
13-Sep East Coast v Thames Valley Ruatoria 2:30 p.m.
Week Five
20-Sep Thames Valley v North Otago Paeroa 2:00 p.m.
Week Six
27-Sep Wai-Bush v Thames Valley Masterton 2:00 p.m.
Week Seven
4-Oct Thames Valley v Poverty Bay Paeroa 2:30 p.m.
Week Eight
11-Oct West Coast v Thames Valley Greymouth 2:30 p.m.

WAIRARAPA-BUSH – http://waibush.co.nz

WAIRARAPABUSH2013 finish: 3rd

The loss of four key loose forwards and accurate goal-kicker Glen Walters are gaps for coach Mark Rutene and assistant Paddy Gough to overcome this season.

The union, original holders of the Meads Cup in 2006, have finished third for the past two season after a four-year slump in form although winning the Lochore Cup in 2010 was a consolation.

Walters, a Hutt OB Marist first five who was a Player of Origin in 2012 and set a Wairarapa record of 166 pts, scored 278 pts in his 21 games in two seasons.

The Stags, however, may have a very suitable replacement in Sam Monaghan, the former Canterbury ITM Cup rep.

Loosies missing from last year are skipper Johan Van Vliet (No 8), back in Holland, injured blindside flanker James Goodger, fellow side rower John McFadzean (overseas) and back rower Nathan Iro (in Wellington).

The tight forward department has been strengthened by the return of 52-match prop Kurt Simmonds and lock Andrew McLean (45 caps) who helped Wairarapa frighten Wanganui 20-23 in a tense 2012 semi-final.

The team’s top try scorer last season, winger Paul Tikomainavalu, has been in sharp club form.

The Stags have started 2014 by beating Horowhenua-Kapiti 55-14 in a warm-up game in Featherston and a very convincing 71-0 win over Poverty Bay

Wairarapa Bush 2014 Heartland Championship
Week One
23-Aug King Country v Wairarapa Bush Taupo 2:00 p.m.
Week Two
30-Aug Wairarapa Bush v Mid Canterbury Masterton 1:30 p.m.
Week Three
6-Sep Sth Canterbury v Wairarapa Bush Timaru 1:30 p.m.
Week Four
13-Sep Wairarapa Bush v Poverty Bay Masterton 2:30 p.m.
Week Five
20-Sep Horo-Kapiti v Wairarapa Bush Levin 2:30 p.m.
Week Six
27-Sep Wairarapa Bush v Thames Valley Masterton 2:00 p.m.
Week Seven
4-Oct Wanganui v Wairarapa Bush Wanganui 2:30 p.m.
Week Eight
11-Oct Wairarapa Bush v Buller Masterton 2:30 p.m.

Next Up and our last 2 previews :

    WANGANUI@2x-swynyzw2. WESTCOAST

WANGANUI – 2013 finish: Lochore Cup semi-finalists

&

WEST COAST – 2013 finish: Meads Cup semi-finalists

Previews compiled by JB Phillips


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