Counties Energy Heat team to face Waikato on Saturday

Counties Energy Heat team to face Waikato on Saturday

Black Ferns stars Grace Gago and Mererangi Paul will make their first starts for the Counties Energy Heat when they face neighbours Waikato in a key early season Farah Palmer Cup presented by Bunnings Warehouse game on Saturday.

Gago, named to the Black Ferns for the first time this season, has come off the bench in the Heat's back-to-back wins to start the competition, while Paul is yet to play a game.

Both come into the starting side for Saturday's clash against the competition leaders who have won three from three so far.

Gago starts at hooker and will captain the side with Paul named to start at fullback.

Joining them in the starting side this week is Emily Kitson, who is listed to start on the right wing while Joanna Fanene-Lolo is back in the number eight jumper.

Jaymie Kolose moves to the left wing, having started at fullback in the opening two weeks.

The game kicks off at 12.05pm at St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton.

Counties Energy Heat: 1. Lana Samuelu, 2. Grace Gago (capt), 3. Harono Te Iringa, 4. Rebecca Burch, 5. Vineta Teutau, 6. Utumalama Atonio, 7. Stacey Brown, 8. Joanna Fanene-Lolo, 9. Leititia Vaka, 10. Vic Subritzky-Nafatali, 11. Jaymie Kolose, 12. Shonte To'a, 13. Shyanne Thompson, 14. Emily Kitson, 15. Mererangi Paul. Reserves: Lulu Leuta, Anastasia Mamea, Joy Vaaga, Paris Mataroa, Margaret Manase, Azania Watene, Waikohika Flesher, Ngatokotoru Arakua.