Heartland XV back in action with Walsh as coach

Nigel Walsh
Nigel Walsh
Former North Otago coach Nigel Walsh will guide the New Zealand Heartland XV in its comeback season.

After a year off due to Covid-19, the team that represents the Heartland Championship will be named next month, and players will attend a five-day camp in Taupo before a game against the New Zealand Barbarians on December 5.

Walsh has led South Canterbury to six straight bonus-point wins this season, and the union appears to be on track to win the Meads Cup for the first time.

He previously coached the Old Golds in 2017 and 2018, but he lives in Timaru and played 70-plus games for the green and blacks.

Walsh, who follows former North Otago coaches Glenn Moore and Barry Matthews into the Heartland XV role, will have Whanganui assistant coach Jason Hamlin as his offsider.

Walsh said he was thrilled to be appointed and he was looking forward to selecting his side in the coming weeks.

“I’ve been really impressed by the talent on show in this year’s Heartland Championship and it’s obvious that we have a great pool of players to select from.

“Between Jason and I, we have both islands covered, and we have eyes and ears on the ground at each game on the lookout for standout players, so I’m confident we’re well placed to identify the best players for this year’s squad.”

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