Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Home is where the Heartland is

It appears that the NZRU have come up with a unique way of ensuring that at least one of its representative teams remains unbeaten - by selecting a team and then not organising anyone to play against.

Yesterday the NZRU unveiled 22 players selected for the national Heartland squad (consisting of players competing in the amateur Heartland Championship) but then admitted that there was no opposition for the grassroots elite to pit their wits against.

Last year the Heartland side was flown to Argentina for three games and also played a warm-up against the All Blacks. This year those who have made the squad will be flown to Wellington to shake each other's hands, receive their jerseys and then have lunch.

According to NZRU deputy chief executive Steve Tew, selecting the team "provides an extra motivation for the Heartland players to perform in the Heartland Championship."

Of course it does. It's not often they'll be given a free lunch after all.

For the record, the 22 who will be chomping down on the free tucker are:

1 Mike Thompson (Wanganui), 2 Joe Harwood (Wairarapa Bush), 3 Colin Hovell (Poverty Bay), 4 Taua Tahaafe (North Otago), 5 James Cullimore (South Canterbury), 6 Aarin Dunster (King Country), 7 Peter Rowe (Wanganui), 8 Jon Dampney (Mid Canterbury); 9 Kilifi Fangupo (North Otago), 10 Scott Leighton (Poverty Bay), 11 Scott Mayhew (North Otago), 12 Steelie Koro (Wanganui), 13 Fa'aitu Tuamoheloa (North Otago), 14 Brenton Connell (Mid Canterbury), 15 Kahu Tamatea (Poverty Bay). Reserves: 16 Tobias Sekona (North Otago), 17 Malasia Lokeni (Horowhenua Kapiti), 18 Jason Gill (Mid Canterbury), 19 Ross Hay (North Otago), 20 Hamish McKenzie (Wairarapa Bush), 21 Mark Tutton (South Canterbury), 22 Jared McClutchie (Poverty Bay).

Congratulations to all, and remember not to overdo it on the bread rolls.

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