New Zealand Heartland XV Head Coach Nigel Walsh and his management team have selected a well-rounded match-day 23 that will be captained by experienced South Canterbury flanker Nick Strachan, and Whanganui first-five eighth Dane Whale as vice-captain.
The New Zealand Heartland XV team is:
1. Vaka Taelega (South Canterbury)
2. Roman Tutauha (Whanganui)
3. Tokomaata Fakatava (South Canterbury)
4. Cruise Dunster (King Country)
5. Connor McVerry (Thames Valley)
6. Kaleb Foote (King Country)
7. Nick Strachan (South Canterbury) (Captain)
8. Junior Fakatoufifita (North Otago)
9. Lindsay Horrocks (Whanganui)
10. Dane Whale (Whanganui) (Vice Captain)
11. Saimone Samate (North Otago)
12. Timoci Seruwalu (Whanganui)
13. Paula Fifita (South Canterbury)
14. Harry Lafituanai (Thames Valley)
15. Todd Doolan (Thames Valley)
16. Liam Rowlands (King Country)
17. Adam Williamson (Mid Canterbury)
18. Hakarangi Tichborne (Ngāti Porou East Coast)
19. Henry Bryce (South Canterbury)
20. Cam Russell (South Canterbury)
21. Willie Wright (South Canterbury)
22. Hayden Todd (North Otago)
23. Zac Saunders (South Canterbury)
Head Coach: Nigel Walsh (South Canterbury)
Assistant Coach: Jason Hamlin (Whanganui)
Manager: Thomas Zimmerman (Horowhenua-Kapiti)
Assistant Manager: Shay O’Gorman (Wairarapa-Bush)
Team Doctor: Coll Campbell (Poverty Bay)
Team Physio: Geoff Thompson (South Canterbury)
Team Trainer: Slade King
With a short preparation leading into the weekend’s game, Walsh said the team were building well.
“While we have only been together for a couple of days, we have a special group who are passionate about Heartland rugby. It will be a proud moment when the group pull on the New Zealand Heartland XV jersey and run onto Owen Delany Park in front of their whānau, friends, and Heartland supporters.”
“Since the team assembled, we were straight into it both on and off the field. As the week has progressed, the team have lifted their intensity and physicality at training and the comradery between the group has continued to flourish.”
“We have eleven debutants, who complement a number of experienced campaigners. Meads Cup winners, South Canterbury make up eight of the 23, alongside Whanganui’s halves combination of Lindsay (Horrocks) and Dane (Whale), we have plenty of familiarity within the group.
“We are excited to see what the side will achieve against the New Zealand Police. It is the first time the New Zealand Heartland XV have played the New Zealand Police and we expect it will be an entertaining watch, with competitive matchups across the park and plenty of physicality,” said Walsh.
Walsh finished commending Strachan and Whale on their appointment as captain and vice-captain of the New Zealand Heartland XV.
“Nick and Dane are great men, whose actions demonstrate why they are deserving of their respective appointments of captain and vice-captain. Nick’s leadership and experience is invaluable to this team. He has achieved over 100 caps for South Canterbury, and previously captained the New Zealand Heartland XV. While Dean has over 50 caps for Whanganui, and captained Whanganui to the Meads Cup final. Both Nick and Dane are greatly respected among the group, which is testament to how they drive the team on field through their actions.”
The New Zealand Heartland XV will play the New Zealand Police at Owen Delany Park, Taupō on Sunday 6 November at 2.05pm live on Sky Sport.
New Zealand Heartland XV v New Zealand Police
Sunday 6 November, 2.05pm
Owen Delany Park, Taupō.
Live on Sky Sport