Counties will again have the services of experienced Black Ferns halfback Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu. The most capped Heat playmaker made her long-anticipated Black Ferns debut earlier this year and she’s gone onto play in all six Tests.
Whilst Counties Manukau have lost hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, first five-eighth Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali and lock Harono Te Iringa to Northland for the season, they retain a heap of experience through the likes of Marino-Tauhinu, Tubic, former Black Ferns flanker Justine Lavea and prop Aotearoa Matau. Both Lavea and Matau played in all eight of Counties’ fixtures last year.
Shepherd has named five exciting rookies in his side, with schoolgirls Lisapeti Molia, Leititia Vaka, Glory Aiono, Anastasia Mamea and Makayla Eli all looking to make the most of their opportunities in 2019.
The Counties Manukau Heat will have a Ladies Day at Navigation Homes Stadium in Pukekohe on October 12 when they host Waikato. The union will take the opportunity to raise awareness and support Breast Cancer New Zealand.
2nd in Premiership
2019 Farah Palmer Cup fixtures:
Week 1: Bay of Plenty v Counties Manukau, Sat 31 August 2.30pm – Tauranga Domain
Week 2: Counties Manukau v Manawatu, Fri 6 September 5.15pm – Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe (DH)
Week 3: Wellington v Counties Manukau, Sun 15 September 11.35am – Westpac Stadium, Wellington (DH)
Week 4: Counties Manukau BYE
Week 5: Counties Manukau v Canterbury, Sat 28 September 2.30pm – Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe
Week 6: Auckland v Counties Manukau, Sat 5 October 2.35pm – Eden Park, Auckland (DH)
Week 7: Counties Manukau v Waikato, Sat 12 October 2.30pm – Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe
2019 Counties Manukau Heat squad:
Jacqui Aiono, Aotearoa Matau, Leilani Perese, Lauryn Steed, Grace Gago, Juvina Auva’a, Victoria Meki, Rebecca Burch, Temira Mataroa, Jade Wong, Lisapeti Molia, Glory Aiono, Larissa Lima, Justine Lavea, Anastasia Mamea, Lavina Tauhalaliku, Waikohika Flesher, Emily Kitson, Lanulangi Veainu, Ocean Tierney, Zion Leaupepe, Hazel Tubic, Makayla Eli, Utumalama Atonio, Badinlee Munro-Smith, Aleasha Brider, Shontelle Woodman, Shyanne Thompson, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Yuki Ono, Leititia Vaka