Marist led 17-15 at halftime, and when the match entered the final quarter, the Heartland XV were still three converted tries behind before the fight back began.
It is the third year in a row the Heartland XV have defeated Marist.
A fine turnaround after the side – selected from the Pink Batts Heartland Championship – lost to Marist 15-14 in 2011, which was at the time was the third loss to the Heartland XV in three campaigns.
Head coach Kurt McQuilkin (King Country) and assistant ‘Chester’ Scott (South Canterbury) named a strong team for the Marists, selected from players in the ITM Cup or just within touching distance of the provincial competition.
Hooker Jon Sharpe from Mid Canterbury was ruled out of selection due to injury and Thames Valley’s Blake Hill was been brought in as replacement.
McQuilkin may amend his squad before the team departs for two matches against the Cook Islands on 11 and 14 of November in Rarotonga.
The hosts, ranked 46th in the IRB rankings, narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and will present formidable opposition for the Heartland players.
More to follow (once we talk to the team from Rarotonga!)
The New Zealand Heartland XV team that played Marist:
|1.||Carl Carmichael||King Country|
|3.||Timaru Tafa||South Canterbury|
|5.||Andrew McLean||Wairarapa Bush|
|6.||Josh Clark||North Otago|
|7.||Peter Rowe (c)||Wanganui|
|8.||Jon Dampney||Mid Canterbury|
|9.||Jake Ashby||Mid Canterbury|
|10.||Whakataki Cunningham||King Country|
|11.||Nathan Hunt||Wairarapa Bush|
|13.||TK Moeke||Poverty Bay|
|14.||Brenton Connell||Mid Canterbury|
|15.||Sam Monaghan||Wairarapa Bush|
|16.||Blake Hill||Thames Valley|
|18.||Andrew Smith||Mid Canterbury|
|22.||Ethine Reeves||Poverty Bay|