Civil Project Solutions Poverty Bay’s Stefan Destounis has been selected for this year’s NZ Heartland XV, which will play NZ Barbarians 5th December in Taupo.
New Zealand Heartland XV Head Coach Nigel Walsh has named 23 players and seven non-travelling reserves for the upcoming match against the New Zealand Barbarians next month.
The team features 19 players who will be taking the field in the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship Finals this weekend.
The New Zealand Heartland XV is:
*Denotes non-travelling reserve player
|Callum Burrell*||Mid Canterbury|
|Stefan Destounis||Poverty Bay|
|Tokomaata Fakatava||South Canterbury|
|Hone Haerewa||East Coast|
|Seta Koroitamana||Mid Canterbury|
|Te Huia Kutia*||Thames Valley|
|Connor McVerry||Thames Valley|
|Manasa Bari Samo||Mid Canterbury|
|Nick Strachan||South Canterbury|
|Sam Sturgess||North Otago|
|Vaka Taelega||South Canterbury|
|Loni Toumohuni*||South Canterbury|
|Sam Van Der Valk||Thames Valley|
|Adam Williamson||Mid Canterbury|
|Sireli Buliruarua||South Canterbury|
|Paula Fifita||South Canterbury|
|Te Rangi Fraser||East Coast|
|Sam Parkes*||East Coast|
|Zac Saunders*||South Canterbury|
|Hayden Todd||North Otago|
|Lennix Tovo||Horowhenua Kapiti|
|Raitube Vasurakuta||Mid Canterbury|
|William Wright||South Canterbury|
|Nigel Walsh||Head Coach||South Canterbury|
|Jason Hamlin||Assistant Coach||Whanganui|
|Tony Harrison||Manager||Mid Canterbury|
|Slade King||Trainer||King Country|
|Geoff Thompson||Physio||South Canterbury|
|Coll Campbell||Doctor||Poverty Bay|
Walsh said the number of players involved in finals matches highlighted the strength of the side.
“There are 19 players in the finals this weekend which just shows the calibre of players in this squad. It’s been an eight-week selection process watching games all over the country and we’re happy that this team is well-balanced, exciting and has really strong skill sets. They’re all deserving of wearing the silver fern.”
This will be Walsh’s first campaign as Head Coach and, alongside Assistant Coach Jason Hamlin, said the management team were looking forward to the upcoming game against the New Zealand Barbarians.
“It’s a special moment and an honour and privilege to be involved in the team and represent that silver fern. The Heartland team means a lot to the Heartland unions and for many players this is their aim and the pinnacle of their rugby careers.”
“We’re expecting a tough, close competition from the Barbarians and I’m looking forward to seeing players standing up, proving a point and taking that next step.”
Pending COVID-19 Alert Levels, the 2021 side will assemble in Taupō on 2 December to take part in a five-day camp.
Walsh said the camp will have an off field focus to allow the players to come together.
“We obviously don’t have a lot of time to prepare so it’ll be about building culture, morale and team atmosphere. Apart from that we’ll focus on our connection work and getting our phase plays and structures right.”
The New Zealand Heartland XV will play the New Zealand Barbarians at Owen Delany Park, Taupō on Sunday 5 December at 2pm live on Sky Sport.
Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship Finals:
Sunday 14 November, 3.35pm
South Canterbury v Thames Valley
Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru
Sunday 14 November, 1.05pm
Whanganui v North Otago
Cooks Gardens, Whanganui
Fifth v Sixth Playoff
Sunday 14 November, 2.05pm
Poverty Bay v Mid Canterbury
Rugby Park, Gisborne
New Zealand Heartland XV match schedule:
Sunday 5 December, 2pm
Heartland XV v New Zealand Barbarians
Owen Delany Park, Taupō