North Otago held on for a 30-22 win over Thames Valley in the Heartland Championship game in Oamaru today.
An Australian loose forward and an Otago cricketer are two of the intriguing newcomers in the North Otago squad for the Heartland Championship campaign.
Two big hurdles remain for North Otago to clear before it knows whether it will progress to the playoffs in Heartland rugby.
An aggressive motivated Horowhenua-Kapiti side moved into the top four of Heartland rugby with a 26-22 win over North Otago in damp greasy conditions at the Levin Domain on Saturday.
Three changes have been made to the North Otago side to play Wanganui in Oamaru this afternoon.
North Otago made history on Saturday when it beat Wairarapa Bush to become the first New Zealand representative team to win a provincial first class match on an artificial surface.
North Otago coach Barry Stevens has made three changes to the side which beat West Coast last week, along with one positional change.
Seven players will make their first-class debuts for North Otago in the Heartland Championship opener in Oamaru today.
North Otago registered a morale boosting win over Meads Cup champion Mid Canterbury in a Heartland Championship warm up game in Oamaru on Saturday.
Loose forward Josh Clark is the sole North Otago representative in the Heartland XV for a three-game tour next month.