New Zealand Heartland XV named for 2018
New Zealand Heartland XV Coach Craig Scanlon has named the 2018 squad for two matches in November.
The New Zealand Heartland XV is;
|Alex Bradley||Thames Valley|
|Scott Cameron||Horowhenua Kapiti|
|Carl Carmichael||King Country|
|Dean Church||King Country|
|Ralph Darling||North Otago|
|James Goodger||Wairarapa Bush|
|Shaun Hill||Thames Valley|
|Sione Holani||West Coast|
|Meli Kolinisau||North Otago|
|Seta Koroitamana||Mid Canterbury|
|Aaron Lahmert||Horowhenua Kapiti|
|Simon Lilicama||North Otago|
|Glen McIntyre||Thames Valley|
|Veikoso Poloniati||South Canterbury|
|Brett Ranga||Thames Valley|
|Nick Strachan||South Canterbury|
|Troy Tauwhare||West Coast|
|Alex Thrupp||King Country|
|William Wright||South Canterbury|
The team features 10 players that will be taking the field in Mitre 10 Heartland Championship Finals this weekend.
Craig Scanlon steps up into the Head Coaching role after acting as Assistant Coach in 2017 and said it has been an extensive process in selecting the squad.
“We have people right across the country watching matches and players to get to this point and its exciting to see the group of players we have been able to select.
The squad is a balance of 16 new faces along with nine who played in the Heartland jersey in 2017.
“Heartland teams can vary in strength from year to year and it is great to see new players rewarded for strong seasons in their provincial colours.”
The Heartland XV will play two matches early next month against Vanua XV from Fiji and the New Zealand Marist team.
Scanlon said the key will be balancing the workload in a short build up.
“We have the best players from across the Heartland Unions coming together so we know they have a high skillset and are talented players. We need to have the right balance of getting players to understand how we want to play but not over-training them on the field.
Being involved in a come from behind victory in 2017 against New Zealand Marist XV provided Scanlon with learnings to take into this year’s campaign.
“The match we had last year was incredibly fast and physical and a significant step up from what we see week to week in the Heartland Competition so we need to make sure our players are ready for that this year.”
New Zealand Heartland XV v Vanua XV
Thursday 1 November, kick off 5pm
Owen Delany Park, Taupo
New Zealand Heartland XV v NZ Marist XV
Sunday 4 November, kick off 2.30pm
Owen Delany Park, Taupo