New Zealand Heartland XV team selected for 2021

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The team features 19 players who will be taking the field in the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship Finals this weekend. 


The New Zealand Heartland XV is: 


*Denotes non-travelling reserve player 



Callum Burrell* 

Mid Canterbury 

Stefan Destounis 

Poverty Bay 

Tokomaata Fakatava 

South Canterbury 

Hone Haerewa 

Ngāti Porou East Coast 

Campbell Hart 


James Higgins

Poverty Bay

Seta Koroitamana 

Mid Canterbury 

Te Huia Kutia

Thames Valley 

Josh Lane* 


Connor McVerry 

Thames Valley 

Manasa Bari Samo 

Mid Canterbury 

Nick Strachan 

South Canterbury 

Sam Sturgess 

North Otago 

Vaka Taelega 

South Canterbury 

Loni Toumohuni* 

South Canterbury 

Sam Van Der Valk 

Thames Valley 




Sireli Buliruarua 

South Canterbury 

Craig Clare 


Paula Fifita 

South Canterbury 

Te Rangi Fraser 

Ngāti Porou East Coast 

Lindsay Horrocks 


Sam Parkes* 

Ngāti Porou East Coast 

Zac Saunders*

South Canterbury

Timoci Seruwalu 


Lennix Tovo 

Horowhenua Kapiti 

Hayden Todd

North Otago 

Raitube Vasurakuta 

Mid Canterbury 

William Wright 

South Canterbury 

Dane Whale* 




Nigel Walsh 

Head Coach 

South Canterbury 

Jason Hamlin 

Asst Coach 


Tony Harrison 


Mid Canterbury 

Slade King 


King Country 

Geoff Thompson 


South Canterbury 

Coll Campbell 


Poverty Bay 


Walsh said the number of players involved in finals matches highlighted the strength of the side. 


“There are 19 players in the finals this weekend which just shows the calibre of players in this squad. It’s been an eight-week selection process watching games all over the country and we’re happy that this team is well-balanced, exciting and has really strong skill sets. They’re all deserving of wearing the silver fern.” 


This will be Walsh’s first campaign as Head Coach and, alongside Assistant Coach Jason Hamlin, said the management team were looking forward to the upcoming game against the New Zealand Barbarians. 


“It’s a special moment and an honour and privilege to be involved in the team and represent that silver fern. The Heartland team means a lot to the Heartland unions and for many players this is their aim and the pinnacle of their rugby careers.” 


“We’re expecting a tough, close competition from the Barbarians and I’m looking forward to seeing players standing up, proving a point and taking that next step.” 


Pending COVID-19 Alert Levels, the 2021 side will assemble in Taupō on 2 December to take part in a five-day camp. 


Walsh said the camp will have an off field focus to allow the players to come together. 


“We obviously don’t have a lot of time to prepare so it’ll be about building culture, morale and team atmosphere. Apart from that we’ll focus on our connection work and getting our phase plays and structures right.” 


The New Zealand Heartland XV will play the New Zealand Barbarians at Owen Delany Park, Taupō on Sunday 5 December at 2pm live on Sky Sport. 


Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship finals 


Meads Cup 

Sunday 14 November, 3.35pm 

South Canterbury v Thames Valley 

Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru 


Lochore Cup 

Sunday 14 November, 1.05pm 

Whanganui v North Otago 

Cooks Gardens, Whanganui 


Fifth v Sixth Playoff

Sunday 14 November, 2.05pm 

Poverty Bay v Mid Canterbury 

Rugby Park, Gisborne 


New Zealand Heartland XV match schedule 

Sunday 5 December, 2pm 

Heartland XV v New Zealand Barbarians 

Owen Delany Park, Taupō



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