Heartland XV fall short against Apia Rugby     07 Nov 2012    

In muggy but overcast conditions, the New Zealanders struggled to get over the advantage line and went to the drinks break behind on the scoreboard 6 - 11.

"Apia were very good at the breakdown and their midfield defence made it hard work for our boys to get through," Coach Grainger Heikell said.

The three Samoan tries came from two intercepts deep in their own half and a misplaced grubber kick from the New Zealanders helped the locals to edge out to a reasonable 23-9 lead with 10 minutes to play.

But spectacular late tries to Heartland XV wingers Cameron Hayton and Lemisio Masoe gave the New Zealanders a whiff of an improbable comeback victory.

"The guys did a brilliant job to keep themselves in the game right to the end. Although we couldn't quite get there today, but this has been the perfect preparation for match against Samoa A this weekend," Heikell said.