New Zealand Heartland XV Coach Mark Rutene has named 26 players for a three-match programme taking place next month.
The team features 14 players that will be taking the field in Mitre 10 Heartland Championship Finals this weekend.
The New Zealand Heartland XV is;
- Carl Carmichael
- Josh Clark
- Ralph Darling
- Anthony Ellis
- Tristan Flutey
- Hone Haerewa
- Campbell Hart
- Himiona Henare
- Sione Holani
- Tyler Kearns
- Meli Kolinisau
- Seta Koroitamana
- Miles Medlicott
- Peni Nabainivalu
- Regan O’Gorman
- Willie Paiaua
- Patrick Pati
- Tim Priest
- Brett Ranga
- Robbie Smith
- Churlainn Sowerby
- Nick Strachan
- Jaxon Tagavaitau
- Troy Tauwhare
- Alex Thrupp
- Willie Wright
Head Coach Mark Rutene has selected 13 players that were involved in the Pasifika Challenge II match against Samoa in July, with 12 players in line for their Heartland XV debut.
Rutene said the standard of Mitre 10 Heartland Championship had been impressive in 2019 and he was looking forward to assembling this team.
“We have a really good balance of players who will be new to the team and those who have been involved in past campaigns. It is great to be able to reward players who have performed well in their provincial colours over the past few months, I’m sure they are excited about the opportunity to wear the black jersey and represent their families and Unions,” said Rutene.
The New Zealand Heartland XV will play three matches; their annual fixture against New Zealand Marist team for the McRae Cup along with two matches against Vanua XV in Fiji.
Rutene said the goal will be to get the players to connect in a short space of time so that they can come together on the field.
“We know we have the best players from across the Heartland Unions coming together, so there is no lack of skill or talent, the key is getting them all on the same page with how we want to play so we can put out three good performances,” said Rutene.
NEW ZEALAND HEARTLAND XV MATCH SCHEDULE
Saturday 2 November, kick off 2pm
New Zealand Heartland XV v New Zealand Marist
Boyd Park, Te Aroha
Wednesday 6 November, kick off 7pm
New Zealand Heartland XV v Vanua Fiji
Churchill Park, Lautoka, Fiji
Saturday 9 November, kick off 3pm
NZ Heartland XV v Vanua Fiji
Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka, Fiji