Heat named for season opener against Auckland

Heat named for season opener against Auckland

Shyanne Thompson will start at second-five and skipper the Counties Energy Heat in their opening game of the Farah Palmer Cup when they face neighbours Auckland at Western Springs Stadium on Saturday.

Thompson takes over the captaincy reins this season and will lead a new-look side that will be fizzing to play after two seasons interrupted by COVID.

Black Ferns players Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu and Hazel Tubic start in the all-important halfback and first-five jerseys respectively while fellow Black Ferns representative Leilani Perese starts at prop.

Lock Paris Mataroa, utility back Jaymie Kolose, bench lock Margaret Manase and prop Lana Samuelu will make their first-class debuts for coach JP Faamausili.

The game is set to kick-off at 2.05pm and will be broadcast live on Sky Sport.

Counties Energy Heat: 1. Lauryn Steed, 2. Grace Gago, 3. Leilani Perese, 4. Rebecca Burch, 5. Paris Mataroa, 6. Stacey Brown, 7. Amiria Te Iringa, 8. Ana Mamea, 9. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, 10. Hazel Tubic, 11. Waikohika Flesher, 12. Shyanne Thompson (capt), 13. Mererangi Paul, 14. Lavinia Tauhalaliku, 15. Emily Kitson. Reserves: 16. Lulu Leuta, 17. Lana Samuelu, 18. Jacqui Aiono, 19. Margaret Manase, 20. Glory Aiono, 21. Leititia Vaka, 22. Jaymie Kolose, 23. Kataraina Enosa-Taiau.