NZ Heartland XV squad named     26 Oct 2008    

NZRU General Manager of Community and Provincial Union Rugby Brent Anderson said the mini-tour would be a fitting reward for those involved.

“Getting selected for this team is recognition for outstanding performances in this year’s AA Rewards Heartland Championship.
“A lot of these guys have given their clubs and unions sterling service, many for quite a few seasons now, so it’s a wonderful accolade for them.

“The chance to pull on a black jersey and play rugby overseas is a real and rare privilege and I am positive these guys will make the most of it.”

The side will be coached by former Manawatu and Horowhenua-Kapiti coach Peter Kemp, assisted by Wanganui head coach Guy Lennox , and will be managed by Crusaders manager Tony Thorpe.

The tour forms part of a new age of cooperation between the New Zealand Rugby Union and USA Rugby, formally recognised by a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in January 2008, which will see the two Unions collaborate in areas ranging from community rugby to commercial development.

New Zealand Heartland XV squad: Michael Broadhurst (Poverty Bay)*, Coll Campbell (Poverty Bay)*, Brenton Connell (Mid Canterbury), Cameron Crowley (Wanganui)*, Jon Dampney (Mid Canterbury), Daniel Dwyer (Mid Canterbury)*, Michael Fitzgerald (Wanganui)*, Andrew Gadsby (West Coast)*, Matthew Gilbert (Wanganui)*, Jason Gill (Mid Canterbury), Ross Hay (North Otago), Joseph Harwood (Wairarapa Bush, Captain), Scott Leighton (Poverty Bay), Hamish McKenzie (North Otago), Leon Mason (Wanganui), Kevin Moore (Buller)*, Hayden Rasmussen (Thames Valley), Jason Rickard (Mid Canterbury)*, Corey Simpson (West Coast)*, Eric Smith (South Canterbury), Andrew Stephens (Buller)*, Lasa Ulukuta (West Coast)*.

* Denotes first time selected for Heartland XV

A further two players will be added to the squad once travel documentation requirements have been completed.

Schedule of matches:
2 November: Heartland XV v Pacific Coast Grizzlies, Rocca Field, Treasure Island, San Francisco at 3:00pm (12.00pm Sunday NZT)

8 November: Heartland XV v USA Select XV, Real Salt Lake Stadium, Salt Lake City at 1:15pm (9.15pm Sunday NZT)