It was a much better finish to the Central Region Shield campaign for the Heartland Hurricanes Under 20's and their Wanganui contingent after a second-half comeback in their 19-14 loss to Manawatu Under 19 in Palmerston North on Saturday.

After heavy losses to the Hawke's Bay and Wellington U19's, the Hurricanes made a few more changes for their final match at Bill Brown Park, with Wanganui's Tawera Puohotaua being called in to make his debut at second-five, replacing provincial team mate Tiari Tokotaua-Mumby.

Kohlt Coveny and Jason Myers retained their starting positions at hooker and flanker respectively, while lock Josefa Rokotakala was moved to the bench for this third match, coming on in the 63rd minute.

Jack O'Leary started at fullback for the second game in a row, while Lamaire Meunier maintained his bench spot, coming on in the 66th minute.

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After being injured coming off the bench in the Hawke's Bay game, Jamie-Lee Robertson returned to the side as another backs reserve, jogging on at the same time as Meunier.

Manawatu scored twelve points in the first half to take a comfortable lead into the break, and they would get another converted try in the second stanza.

However, the Heartland Hurricanes closed the gap with tries to lock Ofa Tauatuvalu (Poverty Bay) and first-five Sean Pape (Horowhenua Kapiti), who was named vice captain.

Pape converted one try, while reserve back Arana Murphy (Horowhenua Kapiti) got the other.

The team's chances were not helped by the sinbinning of prop Lewis Bush (Wairarapa-Bush) in the 55th minute.

Wanganui's players will now wait to see if any of them are named in the New Zealand Heartland Under 19's squad for the sixth annual Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 Tournament, upcoming in Taupo.

Meanwhile, the Air Chathams Wanganui Under 18's got their representative campaign off to a good start with a win over Poverty Bay U18 in Napier on Saturday.

Of the 25-player squad, 13 of them are from the successful Whanganui Collegiate 1st XV, who made the final of the Central North Island competition, with the school's rugby director Te Ahu Teki now the rep coach.

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One member of the team, No 8 Semi Vodosese, has recently been named in the NZ Fiji Schools Sevens wider training group who are preparing for the World Schools Sevens, to be held in Auckland in December.

That wider group of 30 will be whittled down to a final squad of 14.

Semi Vodosese.
Semi Vodosese.