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Marist XV edge out Heartland XV

James Mortimer     15 Oct 2011    

Coach Grainger Heikell was disappointed with the loss, believing it was a match his troops could have won, if not for some costly mistakes.

"It was a little bit disappointing obviously,” Heikell said exclusively to allblacks.com

“It was tough with only four days together, and the key thing was that we wanted to gel, but I think we had selected the team we thought could do the job.”

“We had a plan in place to try and beat and Marist, but it was always going to be a tough prospect.”

Marist have managed to defeat their Heartland foes for three straight matches, and with Darryl Suasua coaching them – a two-time Women’s World Cup winner with the Black Ferns – they managed to pounce on the mistakes that the Heartland selection made throughout.

Heikell said this was essentially the difference between the sides.

“At the end of the day, they were too good, they scored tries (two in the first half) and we missed first up tackles,” he said.

“If you do that against a quality team like Marist, you’ll pay the price.”

What was galling for Heikell, who coaches Poverty Bay in the Heartland Championship, was that it was a game there for the taking.

“Again, we are pretty disappointed,” he said.

“We put in a good performance, and we thought it was good enough to beat Marist.”

“We did create opportunities, and we played enough of rugby to beat them.”

The Heartland selection based their game loosely around the running game Heikell employs with Poverty Bay – who have won the Lochore Cup on three occasions.

Heartland XV Manager Chris Back said a short gap assembling the players from provinces all around the country, which meant that the focus was on getting the basics right.

Back said it was a “tough old game”, and like Heikell said it was disappointing as the game was there to be claimed.

The game was also the representative swansong for captain Jason Rickard, with the Mid-Canterbury stalwart stepping down after a long and illustrious career.

Heikell believed that the future of the game was in good hands despite the obvious pain of the loss, saying that the Heartland Championship and the ensuing XV selection was an important platform for the game.

“It’s the traditional backbone of NZ rugby,” he said.

“There are a lot of good footballers, and there is lot of good talent, and these games are a good chance to instill traditional values in the players who are the future.”

Mead’s Cup champions Wanganui, who defeated Rickard’s Mid Canterbury 32-22 in the semi-finals before downing East Coast 30-10 in the decider, supplied the bulk of the Heartland squad.

Five of the Mead’s Cup winners featured in the starting XV, with a further three on the bench.

Heikell, who said he was lucky enough to be going to the All Blacks v Wallabies semi-final at Eden Park, was looking forward to another big match.

“All the signs are there,” he said.

“The Wallabies are up for it with a passion, it’s going to be ding dong game.”

So could you pick a winner?

“Even with Carter gone I think we will be too strong, going to be a tough match but think we might just have a bit too much.”

Heartland XV 14
Jared Trevathan: try, pen
Andrew Stevens: 2 pen

Marist XV 15

Halftime 12-11 (Marist)

2011 Heartland XV:

1. Matt Fetu, South Canterbury
2. Cole Baldwin, Wanganui
3. Jason Rickard (C), Mid Canterbury
4. Eric Duff, North Otago
5. Jon Smyth, Wanganui
6. Sione Ngatu, Poverty Bay
7. Lee Nelmes, Buller
8. John Dampney, Mid Canterbury
9. Andrew Stephens, Buller
10. Zeb Aporo, Wairarapa Bush
11. Rusiate Vukula, Wanganui
12. Steelie Koro, Wanganui
13. Fa’aitu Tuamoheloa, North Otago
14. Sam Scown, Wanganui
15. Jared Trevathan, South Canterbury

RESERVES

16. Ngarimu Simpkins, East Coast
17. Shaun McDonough, Wanganui
18. Aarin Dunster, King Country
19. Darren Munro, Wanganui
20. Scott Norton, South Canterbury
21. Simon Dibben, Wanganui
22. Billy Guyton, North Otago

NZ Marist XV Team List:

Forwards:

Patrick Leafa (Auckland Marist)
Francis Smith (Nelson Marist)
Arden David (Marist St Pat's, Wellington)
Tony Penn (Tukapa, New Plymouth)
Philip Beveridge (White Star, Westport)
Cody Schou (Greerton Marist)
Dan Dwyer (Ashburton Celtic)
Nick Passi (Marist St Pat's)
Liam Squire (Nelson Marist)
Scott Uren (Marist North Harbour)
Antonio Kirikiri (Palmerston North OBM)
Stephen Wolfgramm (Auckland Marist)

Backs:

Fraser Lau (Dunedin)
Danny Tusitala (Ardmore Marist)
Piers Francis (Auckland Marist)
Scott Eade (Invercargill Marist)
Tumua Ioane (Dunedin)
Joe Reynolds (Hamilton Marist)
James Ross (Hutt OB Marist)
Tino Nemani (Hastings R&S)
Sekope Maea (Timaru Celtic)
Chris Crichton (Marist Albion, Christchurch)