The Australian Barbarians side has named its side for the first of two games against the Heartland XV at Levin Domain in Levin on Tuesday.
The ‘Baa Baas’ flew into Wellington on Saturday, where they then made the two-hour drive north to the picturesque Palmerston North. The team will stay and train at the impressive Massey University campus for the rest of the week.
The front row boasts three in-form Buildcorp National Rugby Championship players with Greater Sydney Rams prop Cameron Orr at loosehead, NSW Country Eagles’ Ryan Dalziel at hooker and Duncan Chubb from the Melbourne Rising at tighthead.
Ben Hyne from Buildcorp NRC champions, Brisbane City, will start in the number four jersey with Queensland Country’s Phil Potgieter packing down next to him.
UC Canberra Vikings players Dean Oakman-Hunt and Rowan Perry will start at blindside and openside flanker respectively, with Country Eagle Paulie Tuala starting in the number eight jersey.
Young gun Mitch Short will start at scrumhalf after a strong Buildcorp NRC, while Isaac Thompson of the Vikings will look to continue his good form at flyhalf. At inside centre will be Viking Rodney Iona, who was superb all season in the Buildcorp NRC and on his outside, North Harbour Rays centre Tom Hill.
Perth Spirit’s Maalonga Konelio will start at 11, after an outstanding season, scoring five tries for the Perth based team. Larry Hermens of the Rams will set up on the other wing, while holding down the fort at fullback will be fellow Rams teammate Paul Asquith.
Co-Head Coach Darren Coleman has picked a strong forward pack and says he is looking forward to the challenge that the Heartland will bring.
“We know they are going to be big and physical, so we’ll be ready for a hard fight. The team have trained really well so far and are chomping at the bit to get out there on Tuesday.”
“This is such a great opportunity for these guys and to play for the Barbarians is a huge honour and I think the team recognises that and will do the jumper proud.”
Coleman says it’s important to get off to a good start in the two game series and he wants his team to perform.
“We would love to get the first up win, I think that’s pretty obvious, but we’ll need to be at our best to beat the Heartland.
“This is such a great group of boys and Brad (Harris) I are really looking forward to seeing them out there enjoying themselves and playing some great rugby.”
Fans can keep-up-to-date with the latest news and views from New Zealand throughout the tour via BuildcorpNRC.com.au, the official @BuildcorpNRC Twitter account and Buildcorp National Rugby Championship Facebook page.
Fixture Information: Game One, NZ Heartland XV vs Australian Barbarians; Tuesday 10 November; Levin Domain, Manawatu-Wanganui; 5.30pm NZT / 3.30pm AEDT
Australian Barbarians Team to play the New Zealand Heartland XV on Tuesday 10 November:
1. Cameron Orr (Greater Sydney Rams)
2. Ryan Dalziel (CSU Country Eagles)
3. Duncan Chubb (Melbourne Rising)
4. Ben Hyne (Brisbane City)
5. Phil Potgieter (Queensland Country)
6. Dean Oakman-Hunt (UC Canberra Vikings)
7. Rowan Perry (UC Canberra Vikings)
8. Pauli Tuala (CSU Country Eagles)
9. Mitch Short (CSU Country Eagles)
10. Isaac Thompson (UC Canberra Vikings)
11. Maalonga Konelio (Perth Spirit)
12. Rodney Iona (UC Canberra Vikings)
13. Tom Hill (North Harbour Rays)
14. Larry Hermens (Greater Sydney Rams)
15. Paul Asquith (Greater Sydney Rams)
16. Harry Scoble (Perth Spirit)
17. Jed Gillespie (Greater Sydney Rams)
18. Tyrel Lomax (UC Canberra Vikings)
19. Nick Palmer (CSU Country Eagles)
20. Waita Setu (Brisbane City)
21. Sam Figg (CSU Country Eagles)
22. Dewet Roos (Greater Sydney Rams)
23. Andrew Robinson (Sydney Stars)