Squad re­vealed for NZ Marist XV

South Canterbury Herald - - SPORT - STU PID­DING­TON

New Zealand Marist coach Shaun Breen is happy with his squad to take on the New Zealand Heart­land team de­spite some last minute scram­bling.

Breen had to wait un­til the Heart­land side was an­nounced on Wed­nes­day night as the Heart­land side had first pick of play­ers for the game in Ti­maru on Satur­day.

A num­ber of pen­cilled in play­ers on the Marist ledger were snapped up by Heart­land coach Barry Matthews, in­clud­ing their pro­posed in­side back com­bi­na­tion.

Each Marist af­fil­i­ated club across the coun­try nom­i­nates three play­ers and in the case of Ti­maru Celtic all three nom­i­nees, half­back Wil­lie Wright, prop Matt Fetu and open­side Nick Stra­chan, made the NZ Heart­land squad. West Coast first five Tom Reekie and Mid Can­ter­bury’s Jared Per­ci­val were in the same sit­u­a­tion de­priv­ing Marist of two first choice 10s.

Breen said that was just the way things were. ‘‘We had 60 nom­i­na­tions so we just went back and looked at them and I am happy with what we have.’’

De­spite the de­fec­tions NZ Marist side looks to have plenty of depth to chal­lenge the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship’s best. It in­cludes two play­ers who have rep­re­sented Hawke’s Bay this sea­son in Hast­ing’s hooker Ja­cob Dev­ery and Napier half­back Scot Donaldson.

Sec­ond five James Hawkey has also turned out for Tas­man in the Mitre 10 Cup, while another for­mer Ti­maru Celtic player and South Can­ter­bury rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sam Vea, also made the cut.

The side also fea­tures Whangarei’s util­ity back Re­nata Te­nana, son of for­mer New Zealand seven’s star Karl Te­nana. Te­nana ju­nior pro­duced one of the great club full­back per­for­mances to lead Old Boys Marist to back-to-back pre­mier­ship ti­tles in the North­land com­pe­ti­tion.

Breen said it should be an en­ter­tain­ing game with plenty of good match-ups. Breen and co­coach Nigel Walsh were ap­pointed to the Marist coach­ing roles in part to hon­our Ti­maru Celtic’s record break­ing run of nine suc­ces­sive Hamer­s­ley Cup club ti­tles. The game will played at Alpine En­ergy Sta­dium, with Heart­land XV look­ing to de­fend the McRae Cup, which is played for on an an­nual ba­sis be­tween the two sides.

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