New Zealand Heartland XV for game against Tucuman     05 Nov 2006    

Wanganui’s Mike Thompson is at loosehead prop, Wairarapa Bush’s Dylan Higgison plays his first game and will start at tighthead prop, Poverty Bay’s William Hallgarth comes in at lock in his first match on tour and Peter Rowe of Wanganui is the new openside flanker.

In the backline, Poverty Bay’s Scott Leighton comes in at first five-eighth in his first tour game, Nathan Riwai-Couch of Wairarapa Bush is at second five-eighth and Shane Leach of Poverty Bay is on the right wing in his first match.

The only positional switch is in midfield where North Otago’s Karne Kaufana moves from second five-eighth to centre.

Cooper said the coaches were keen to give everyone in the squad significant game time.

“We had always planned on giving every player a chance to be in the match 22. At the same time, we have also selected our biggest forward pack available because we expect Tucuman to take us on up front,” Cooper said.

Tucuman were Argentinean Division One champions in 2005 and were beaten finalists in 2006.

“They are a quality unit and we are under no illusions about the battle ahead so we have to play smart rugby and ensure that we get quality first phase ball,” Cooper said.

New Zealand Heartland XV for match against Tucuman: 1. Mike Thompson, 2. Joe Harwood (captain), 3. Dylan Higgison, 4. William Hallgarth, 5. Daniel Aldworth, 6. Aarin Dunster, 7. Peter Rowe, 8. Tom Solomon, 9. Daniel Morath, 10. Scott Leighton, 11. Faaitu Tuamoheloa, 12. Nathan Riwai-Couch, 13. Karne Kaufana, 14. Shane Leach, 15. Patrick Rimene.

Reserves: 16. Ryan Tohaia, 17. Hayden Rasmussen, 18. Sam Henderson, 19. Sylvanus Iro, 20. Hamish McKenzie, 21. Logan Vaughan, 22. Scott Mayhew.

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