New Zealand Heartland XV for opening tour match     01 Nov 2006    

26-year-old Harwood captained Wairarapa Bush to victory in the Meads Cup final of the AA Rewards Heartland Championship two weeks ago.

Thursday’s game is the first of three matches in Argentina, with a game against provincial side Tucuman and a final match against Argentina A. It is the first time that a New Zealand Heartland XV has toured Argentina.

Today, New Zealand Heartland XV coach Ross Cooper named the match 22 for the tour opener.

The starting line-up includes four players from Wairarapa Bush, three from Meads Cup finalists Wanganui, three from North Otago, two from Lochore Cup winners Poverty Bay, two from Thames Valley and one from King Country.

Last Friday the New Zealand Heartland XV completed their preparations with a training match against the All Blacks in Auckland.

“The game was excellent because it showed us the level we can aspire to,” Cooper said.

“As for our opponents on Thursday, Salta pride themselves on their scrums but they also like to run with the ball, so I’m sure we are in for an exciting contest,” he added.

New Zealand Heartland XV for match against Salta: 1. Hayden Rasmussen, 2. Joe Harwood (captain), 3. Dylan Higgison, 4. Daniel Aldworth, 4. Gene Waller, 6. Aarin Dunster, 7. Sylvanus Iro, 8. Tom Solomon, 9. Daniel Morath, 10. Leon Mason, 11. Faaitu Tuamoheloa, 12. Karne Kaufana, 13. Logan Vaughan, 14. Scott Mayhew, 15. Patrick Rimene.

Reserves: 16. Ryan Tohaia, 17. Mike Thompson, 18. Sam Henderson, 19. Peter Rowe, 20. Hamish McKenzie, 21. Nathan Riwai-Couch, 22. Kahu Tamatea.

New Zealand Heartland XV schedule (kick-off times are local)
Wednesday 1 November: v Salta at Salta at 9.00pm
Sunday 5 November: v Tucuman at Tucuman at 6.00pm
Saturday 11 November: v Argentina A at Rosario at 5.30pm