The Hawke's Bay rugby coaching and management have had to wait almost to the 11th hour before naming a squad of 32 for an annual Queen's Birthday match which has a history dating back more than 130 years.
With 22 players committed to Super Rugby, and several Magpies squad members injured or resting after eight weeks of club rugby, the squad heads south as the "Hawke's Bay Saracens" to play Heartland union Wairarapa Bush in Masterton on Monday.
The neighbourly rivalry dates back to a Hawke's Bay-Wairarapa match in 1890, and once involved two matches a year against Wairarapa and at least one against Bush, most famously the Battle of Solway Ranfurly Shield match in Masterton in 1927.
The southern unions merged in 1971 and match frequency diminished in the National Provincial Championship, launched in 1976, and the professional-amateur split since 2006. Their last first class match was a 2015 Ranfurly Shield defence the Magpies won 58-7 in Napier.
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Monday will be a big chance for young hopefuls ahead of this year's Shield defences and NPC matches, notably new national under-20 squad first five-eighths Harry Godfrey.
The squad: Joe Apikotoa (Taradale), Shamara Brooks (Tamatea), Jacob Devery (Hastings R&S), Dom Devine (Napier OBM), Mason Emerson (Hastings R&S), Harry Godfrey (Central), Trent Hape (Clive), Andrew Heyward (Hastings R&S), Kienan Higgins (Taradale), Joel Hintz (Central), Josh Kaifa (Clive), Paula Latu (MAC), Frank Lochore (Central), Tupou Ma'afu Afungia (MAC), Iakopo Mapu (Taradale), Elijah Martin (Napier Tech OB), Lincoln McClutchie (Tamatea), Xavier McCorkindale (Napier Tech OB), Troy McIvor (Central), Connor McLeod (Hastings R&S), Tianua Poto (Clive), Dennon Robinson-Bartllett (Tamatea), Hamaua Samasoni (Taradale), Jonty Stewart (Napier OBM), Gene Syminton (Taradale), Hugh Taylor (Napier Pirate), Jordan Thompson-Dunn (Hastings R&S), Will Tremain (Napier OBM), Anzelo Tuitavuki (Clive), Jay Tuivaiti (Clive), Nathan Tweedy (Taradale), Jayden Walker (Taradale).