Rugby: Heartland touring squad named

Heartland XV head coach Grainger Heikel. Photo / Getty Images.
Heartland XV head coach Grainger Heikel. Photo / Getty Images.

The Heartland XV squad of 24 for a three-match tour, including two matches in Samoa next month, has been announced.

Head coach Grainger Heikell, of Poverty Bay, and his assistant coach Kurt McQuilkin, of King Country, supported by selector Earle Kirton have named a side which will play matches against New Zealand Marist in Auckland on November 3, before departing for Samoa for a match against the Samoan NPC Champions on November 6 and Samoa A on November 10.

The squad features seven players from Meads Cup finalists Wanganui, and three from fellow finalists East Coast, while Lochore Cup finalists South Canterbury and Buller are well represented with four and two members respectively.

This is the third visit to Samoa for the representative side from the Heartland with tours in 1993 and 2000 by the Divisional XV, which in 2006 became the Heartland XV.

New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Mike Eagle said wearing the Heartland XV black jersey and competing in a three-match series was something Heartland rugby players aspired to.

"The Heartland XV games over the years have been exciting encounters and a great showcase for the stand-out players of the Heartland Championship. The three-match series will be a captivating finale to what has already been a stand-out Heartland Championship.

"It is also quite fitting that we take the Heartland XV to Samoa in the 50th year of Samoa's independence and the Friendship Treaty between New Zealand and Samoa.

"Samoa is a close Pacific neighbour and we share a great love for rugby, and a common pride in the Samoan players who have played their rugby in New Zealand."

The 2012 Heartland XV squad:

Ben Coman (Buller), Nic Cranston (Wanganui), Ralph Darling (North Otago), Mark Davis (Wanganui), Aarin Dunster (King Country), Matt Fetu (South Canterbury), Billy Guyton (North Otago), Fraser Hammond (Wanganui), Cameron Hayton (Wairarapa Bush), Nathan Hunt (Wairarapa Bush), Mat Koubaridis (Wanganui), Kali Latu (South Canterbury), Lemisio Masoe (North Otago), Shaun McDonough (Wanganui), Tau Moeke (East Coast), Darren Munro (Wanganui), Sione Ngatu (Poverty Bay), Peter Rowe (Wanganui), Pomare Samupo (East Coast), Ngarimu

Simpkins (East Coast), Andrew Stephens (Buller), Brook Tremayne (Thames Valley), Fa'aitu Tuamoheloa (South Canterbury), Nathan Tubb (South Canterbury).

- APNZ

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