Five Wairarapa-Bush players will get to play at the Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under-19 Tournament next month after being named on Thursday in the Heartland Under-19 team.
The tournament is a key calendar event for New Zealand’s emerging young rugby talent and will once again feature a combined team selected from Heartland Championship provinces.
Forwards Matt Masoe and Jeramiah Mapusua will be joined in the 25-strong squad by backs Joseph Gordon, Isaac Bracewell and Bryan Arnold.
Mapusua is one of four players in the squad who currently play in the Heartland Championship.
Horowhenua Kapiti’s Aleni Feagaiga takes up the reigns as coach of the Heartland team for the first time and has selected representatives from each of the Heartland unions.
Wairarapa-Bush chief executive officer Tony Hargood said the players deserved to be recognised.
“On behalf of the union, we’re absolutely excited for these guys to be seen at a national level.
“All have been top performers in premier rugby this year, and it’s a testament to furthering our investment in local players.”
Feagaiga said having a Heartland team encouraged young players to stay involved in the game beyond college, and aspire to be part of the tournament, while giving them real opportunities to develop their game.
The tournament takes place on September 9, 12 and 15, and is part of a week-long event that includes development programmes for the players, parents, coaches and referees which is run on the non-game days.