Win bumps Thames Val­ley up to third

Hauraki Herald - - SPORT -

The Thames Val­ley rugby team re­gained pos­ses­sion of the Cen­tu­ri­ons Cup af­ter de­feat­ing King Coun­try by 45-36 at Rugby Park, Te Kuiti, in a Mitre 10 Heart­land cham­pi­onship fix­ture that sees the team move up to third place on the points ta­ble.

A seven-point spread cov­ers the first eight teams, in­di­cat­ing how tight the com­pe­ti­tion is and how im­por­tant it was for the team to pick up a bonus point for scor­ing four tries against a team they hadn’t beaten since 2014.

Once again Thames Val­ley made a brisk start with a penalty to Jar­rod Goodall fol­lowed by a con­verted try to Ge­orge Le­lenoa to lead 10-0 af­ter eight min­utes.

King Coun­try drew level af­ter 30 min­utes but fur­ther tries to Goodall and Hay­den Wis­newski gave Thames Val­ley a 22-10 lead at half time.

King Coun­try scored a con­verted try early in the sec­ond half to nar­row the gap but a penalty to Goodall and tries to Harry Lafi­tu­a­nai and Ty­rone Keith put the vis­i­tors ahead 39-17 with 20 min­utes to go.

The home team lifted its game to bring the score back to 39-36 but two penal­ties from re­place­ment Beau Hamil­ton en­sured Thames Val­ley came away with the win.

It was a high-scor­ing en­counter with both teams scor­ing five tries and it was the first time Thames Val­ley had scored over 40 points in an away game since beat­ing Poverty Bay 43-37 in Gis­borne in 2015.

It was also the first time Thames Val­ley had won two games in a row since Septem­ber 5, 2015 when they beat East Coast a week af­ter beat­ing Poverty Bay in the afore­men­tioned game.

The De­vel­op­ment team suf­fered its first de­feat of the Un­der 85kg com­pe­ti­tion at the hands of the King Coun­try Devel- op­ment team, los­ing 28-12 in the cur­tain­raiser at Te Kuiti.

Hav­ing se­cured the com­pe­ti­tion ti­tle with a week to spare Thames Val­ley did not have the usual lev­els of ac­cu­racy and ex­e­cu­tion of game plan and King Coun­try took full ad­van­tage to spoil the vis­i­tors’ pre­vi­ously un­beaten record.

King Coun­try led 13-0 at the break and were up 23-0 be­fore Thames Val­ley got on the score­board.

Si­tiveni Topou and Jerome Hill scored tries and Stephen Wise kicked a con­ver­sion but another try to the home side en­sured them a sound win.

The Un­der 18s fared bet­ter against their King Coun­try coun­ter­parts win­ning 31-27 on the No.2 field. They scored five tries through Wian Binedell (2) Keanu May-Matafeo(2) and Coel Kerr while Hen­drix Bea­z­ley kicked three con­ver­sions.

The re­sult put the team into sec­ond place on the ta­ble with a week to go in the com­pe­ti­tion. The team has the bye this week.

The Un­der 16s came up against a strong King Coun­try team and lost 55-5 while the Roller Mills team had a closer game but still went down 26-14.

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