2012 Heartland XV squad to tour Samoa announced     25 Oct 2012    

The Heartland XV side will play matches against New Zealand Marist in Auckland on Saturday 3 November, before departing for Samoa for a match against the Samoan NPC Champions on Tuesday 6 November and against Samoa A on Saturday 10 November.

The squad features seven players from Meads Cup Finalists Wanganui, and three from fellow Finalists East Coast, while Lochore Cup Finalists South Canterbury and Buller are well represented with four and two members respectively named in the squad.

This is the third visit to Samoa for the representative side from the Heartland with tours in 1993 and 2000 by the Divisional XV, which in 2006 became the Heartland XV.

New Zealand Rugby Union Chairman Mike Eagle said wearing the Heartland XV black jersey and competing in a three-match series was something Heartland rugby players aspired to.

"The Heartland XV games over the years have been exciting encounters and a great showcase for the stand-out players of the Heartland Championship. The three-match series will be a captivating finale to what has already been a stand-out Heartland Championship.

"It is also quite fitting that we take the Heartland XV to Samoa in the 50th year of Samoa's independence and the Friendship Treaty between New Zealand and Samoa.

"Samoa is a close Pacific neighbour and we share a great love for rugby, and a common pride in the Samoan players who have played their rugby in New Zealand."

Head Coach Grainger Heikell said those selected would be looking forward to representing their unions and showcasing the competitive Heartland Championship.

"The series is great recognition of Heartland rugby and the importance it has in our communities.

"We've seen some very talented boys out there this season which made a final 24 hard to pick. I'm confident we'll now go into the games with a strong team, determined to demonstrate the strength of community rugby in New Zealand against our Pacific neighbours."

The 2012 Heartland XV Squad is:

Ben Coman - Buller
Nic Cranston - Wanganui
Ralph Darling - North Otago
Mark Davis - Wanganui
Aarin Dunster - King Country
Matt Fetu - South Canterbury
Billy Guyton - North Otago
Fraser Hammond - Wanganui
Cameron Hayton - Wairarapa Bush
Nathan Hunt - Wairarapa Bush
Mat Koubaridis - Wanganui
Kali Latu - South Canterbury
Lemisio Masoe - North Otago
Shaun McDonough - Wanganui
Tau Moeke - East Coast
Darren Munro - Wanganui
Sione Ngatu - Poverty Bay
Peter Rowe - Wanganui
Pomare Samupo - East Coast
Ngarimu Simpkins - East Coast
Andrew Stephens - Buller
Brook Tremayne - Thames Valley
Fa'aitu Tuamoheloa - South Canterbury
Nathan Tubb - South Canterbury