27 October, 2016, 12:00 am
FIJIANS Nete Caucau, a former Ratu Navula College student of Nadi and Maleli Sau, formerly of Queen Victoria School in Tailevu, have been selected in a strong New Zealand Heartland XV 2016 squad.
They will tour Fiji next month to play a match each against Nadi and Nadroga. Caucau is from Navoci Village while Sau is from Nawaka Village – both from Nadi.
The squad has been selected ahead of a three-match campaign between November 5-11. They will play New Zealand Marist for the annual Ian McCrae Cup before coming to Fiji.
The 26-man New Zealand Heartland XV squad, which has been selected from the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship 2016, sees 11 of the 12 Heartland provincial unions represented.
Nadroga Rugby Union president Tiko Matawalu said their match against the Kiwis would be a good platform for next year.
“This is what we need, more game time and more exposure,” he said.
“We are fortunate that we are included and it will give our players a chance to play against their opponents who are experienced with New Zealand style rugby and Mitre 10 competition.”
South Canterbury’s Barry Matthews and Poverty Bay’s Mutu Ngarimu will coach the team.
Matthews said: “We’ve picked the team on form. It doesn’t matter if you are an 18-year-old selected for the first time or a 36-year-old war horse, if they are playing good rugby then we have picked them for the team.”
The New Zealand Heartland XV squad is Dan Hytongue (Buller Rugby Club), James Lash (Buller), Aaron Lahmert (Horowhenua Kapiti), Willie Paia’aua (Horowhenua Kapiti), Scott Cameron (Horowhenua Kapiti), James Hemara (King Country), Zayn Tipping (King Country), John Koko (King Country), Aarin Dunster (King Country), Jackson Donlan (Mid Canterbury), Maleli Sau (Mid Canterbury), Nete Caucau (Mid Canterbury), Ralph Darling (North Otago), Lemi Masoe (North Otago), Everard Reid (Poverty Bay), Siosiua Moala (Poverty Bay), Timaru Tafa (South Canterbury), Kieran Coll (South Canterbury), Hayden Wisnewski (Thames Valley), Eddie Cranston (Wairarapa Bush), Sam Monaghan (Wairarapa Bush), Lindsay Horrocks (Wanganui), Peter Rowe (Wanganui), Viki Tofa (Wanganui), Te Rangatira Waitokia (Wanganui), Josh Manning (West Coast).
Fixtures: Tuesday November 8, NZ Heartland XV vs Nadi, Prince Charles Park, Nadi, 5pm. Saturday November 11, NZ Heartland XV vs Nadroga, Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka, 7pm.