The Heartland XV benefits from more rugby because of the Heartland championship season. However, the Police never lacked spirit, a prerequisite for their honourable mahi, and had some genuine moments of quality.
The opening was vibrant and hinted at the prospect of a try scoring avalanche. Heartland XV second-five Timoci Seruwalu cast an imposing figure, nicknamed ‘Seismic Seruwalu’ when he played for Tawa in Wellington. He busted and delivered a pass to wing Saimone Samate for the first try and would launch himself like a missile and whistle 60-metres for the fifth try which made the score 35-7 at halftime.
The Police XV repost to the Heartland XV’s initial strike was almost instant and occurred in the first 10 minutes. First-five Matthew Storm glided into a hole to carry the Police deep inside the Heartland 22. A bounce pass by prop Luatangi Li saw Rotorua constable Zade Rimmer finish on the left wing.
The Police enjoyed their best period of the match just after halftime. Constant attack saw the Heartland XV forced into defence and they cracked when fullback Juan Benadie tapped quickly and went over despite being sandwiched between two props.
The Heartland XV played with tremendous expression and accuracy, and the highlights were numerous. Right wing Harry Lafituanai resembled Will Jordan at times and scored a run-away from near halfway and later turned provider for fullback Todd Doolan who was faultless from the tee with a dozen successful conversions.
First-five Dane Whale unleashed a fall box of tricks scoring a try with a sprint past several defenders and creating another for centre Paula Fifita with a deft chip kick. Regarding kicks, a hoist by reserve halfback Willie Wright bounced perfectly for reserve hooker Liam Rowlands.
Earlier starting hooker Roman Tutauha had scored after Cruise Dunster a lock from the King Country, delivered an offload Pinetree would have been proud of. Fittingly South Canterbury openside Nick Strachan had the final say. He captained his province to Meads Cup glory last month.
New Zealand Heartland XV: 84 (Saimone Samate, Paula Fifita, Roman Tutauha, Harry Lafituanai, Timoci Seruwalu, Cam Russell, Dane Whale, Liam Rowlands, Hakarangi Tichborne, Todd Doolan, Zac Saunders, Nick Strachan tries; Doolan 12 con) New Zealand Police XV: 14 (Zade Rimmer, Juan Benadie tries; Benadie 2 con)