Counties Energy Heat team to face Wellington on Sunday

Counties Energy Heat team to face Wellington on Sunday

Prop Joy Vaaga is in-line to make her Counties Energy Heat debut after being named on the bench alongside Ti Tauasosi for Sunday’s Farah Palmer Cup game against the Wellington Pride.

Loose forward Tauasosi will make a welcome return from long-term injury against the Pride at the Hutt Rec Ground as the Counties Energy Heat chase a win to back up their opening game victory over the Bay of Plenty Volcanix.

Lana Samuelu gets the start at prop this week with Anastasia Mamea dropping to the bench. Vineta Teutau starts at lock with Paris Mataroa moving to the blindside. Utumalama Atonio shifts to number eight.

Kataraina Enosa-Taifau is the only change in the back-line, named to start on the left wing for Alana Grace.

“This week's starting XV against Wellington is a mix of form and injury considerations, leading to a slightly different lineup,” explained head coach Saua Leaupepetele.

“17-year-old Joy Vaaga makes an appearance, showcasing her promising talent, alongside the experienced veteran Ti Tauasosi.

“Our selection aims to bring a fresh approach and strength to face the physical challenge posed by the Pride.”

The game is set to kick-off at 2.05pm.

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