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New Zealand Heartland XV team selected for 2021

New Zealand Heartland XV team selected for 2021

New Zealand Heartland XV Head Coach Nigel Walsh has named 23 players and seven non-travelling reserves for the upcoming match against the New Zealand Barbarians next month.

The team features 19 players who will be taking the field in the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship Finals this weekend.

The New Zealand Heartland XV is:
*Denotes non-travelling reserve player


    • Callum Burrell* Mid Canterbury
    • Stefan Destounis Poverty Bay
    • Tokomaata Fakatava South Canterbury
    • Hone Haerewa Ngati Porou East Coast
    • Campbell Hart Whanganui
    • Hadlee Hay-Horton Whanganui
    • Seta Koroitamana Mid Canterbury
    • Te Huia Kutia* Thames Valley
    • Josh Lane* Whanganui
    • Connor McVerry Thames Valley
    • Manasa Bari Samo Mid Canterbury
    • Nick Strachan South Canterbury
    • Sam Sturgess North Otago
    • Vaka Taelega South Canterbury
    • Loni Toumohuni* South Canterbury
    • Sam Van Der Valk Thames Valley
    • Adam Williamson Mid Canterbury


    • Sireli Buliruarua South Canterbury
    • Craig Clare Whanganui
    • Paula Fifita South Canterbury
    • Te Rangi Fraser Ngati Porou East Coast
    • Lindsay Horrocks Whanganui
    • Sam Parkes* Ngati Porou East Coast
    • Zac Saunders* South Canterbury
    • Timoci Seruwalu Whanganui
    • Hayden Todd* North Otago
    • Lennix Tovo Horowhenua Kapiti
    • Raitube Vasurakuta Mid Canterbury
    • William Wright South Canterbury
    • Dane Whale* Whanganui


    • Nigel Walsh Head Coach South Canterbury
    • Jason Hamlin Assistant Coach Whanganui
    • Tony Harrison Manager Mid Canterbury
    • Slade King Trainer King Country
    • Geoff Thompson Physio South Canterbury
    • Coll Campbell Doctor Poverty Bay

Walsh said the number of players involved in finals matches highlighted the strength of the side.

“There are 19 players in the finals this weekend which just shows the calibre of players in this squad. It’s been an eight-week selection process watching games all over the country and we’re happy that this team is well-balanced, exciting and has really strong skill sets. They’re all deserving of wearing the silver fern.”

This will be Walsh’s first campaign as Head Coach and, alongside Assistant Coach Jason Hamlin, said the management team were looking forward to the upcoming game against the New Zealand

“It’s a special moment and an honour and privilege to be involved in the team and represent that silver fern. The Heartland team means a lot to the Heartland unions and for many players this is their aim and the pinnacle of their rugby careers.”

“We’re expecting a tough, close competition from the Barbarians and I’m looking forward to seeing players standing up, proving a point and taking that next step.”

Pending COVID-19 Alert Levels, the 2021 side will assemble in Tāupo on 2 December to take part in a five-day camp.

Walsh said the camp will have an off field focus to allow the players to come together.

“We obviously don’t have a lot of time to prepare so it’ll be about building culture, morale and team atmosphere. Apart from that we’ll focus on our connection work and getting our phase plays and structures right.”

The New Zealand Heartland XV will play the New Zealand Barbarians at Owen Delany Park, Tāupo on Sunday 5 December at 2pm live on Sky Sport.

Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship finals
Meads Cup

    • Sunday 14 November, 3.35pm
      South Canterbury v Thames Valley
      Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru

Lochore Cup

    • Sunday 14 November, 1.05pm
      Whanganui v North Otago
      Cooks Gardens, Whanganui

Fifth v Sixth Playoff

    • Sunday 14 November, 2.05pm
      Poverty Bay v Mid Canterbury
      Rugby Park, Gisborne

New Zealand Heartland XV match schedule
Sunday 5 December, 2pm

Heartland XV v New Zealand Barbarians
Owen Delany Park, Tāupo