Horowhenua-Kāpiti rugby coach Chris Wilton has been allowed the luxury of a trial match tomorrow night at Levin Domain as he starts to assemble a squad for Heartland campaign.
Wilton said he was impressed by the passion of players within the province to wear the red, white and blue, and their willingness to jump at the chance to trial showed a real desire for players to represent their province and be involved in a Heartland campaign.
"We've had really good buy-in from the clubs and coaches, and to have that much buy-in for a heartland team is a really encouraging thing," he said.
Holding trials was commonplace in rugby decades ago, with the All Black trials always keenly contested, but in recent times they were a rarity.
Wilston conceded that for many years the Horowhenua-Kāpiti side would warm up with a pre-season match to experiment with combinations.
"There have been a lot of new players come into the region which is a really exciting thing."
Those trialling are:
(Forwards) Jordan Tupai-Ui (cob) Peter Atonio (cob) Dave McErlean (FOXTON) Isaako Ulutoa (cob) Tainui Woodmass (Shannon) Treden Winterburn (SHANNON) Moses Pearce (FOXTON) Logan Broughton (SHANNON)(Backs) Kane Tamou (FOXTON) Sean Pape (SHANNON) WIllie Paia'aua (cob) Shae Grey (FOXTON) Jaxon Tagavaitau(SHANNON) Mikaere Halls (SHANNON) Hamiora Thomas (SHANNON) (reserves) Ben Hoffman (FOXTON) Robin Praat (FOXTON) Tom Zimmerman (FOXTON) Joshua Rauhihi (SHANNON) Taina Keelan (SHANNON) James Woodmass (SHANNON) Mason Pakau Wallace (FOXTON) Arana Murphy (FOXTON) Pita Marshall (FOXTON).
(Forwards) Hayden O'Callaghan (RAHUI) Dean Ropata (TOA) Poleka Itielu (WAIKANAE) Ryan Shelford (PARAPARAUMU) Xavier Pereka (WAIKANAE) Dallas Graham (PARAPARAUMU) Aaron Lahmert (WAIKANAE) Newress Fotuali'I (TOA) (Backs) Trent Reti (WAIKANAE) Ethan Reti (WAIKANAE) Christian Tahiwi Macmillan (SHANNON) Kovarn Togiatama (TOA) Sedale Arthur (TOA) Taine Aupouri (SHANNON) Himiona Henare (COB) (reserves) Bronson Talivai (TOA) Cody Akanoa (TOA) Tainui Brown (WAIKANAE) Antony Fox (WAiKANAE) Louis Tovo (cob) Paula Mahuinga (COB) Solomona Solomona (COB) Paddy Blackman (ATHLETIC).