Old Golds captain Josh Clark is North Otago’s sole representative in this year’s New Zealand Heartland XV to play a New Zealand Marist XV and the Cook Islands next month.
Clark, who has been one of the best for North Otago this season was one of 24 players named in the squad to travel to the Cook Islands for matches on November 11-14.
It’s the first time Clark has been eligible for the squad, with the Maheno player/coach a loan player in last season’s Old Golds campaign so he was ineligible for the squad.
He said he was looking forward to playing for the Heartland team.
“It was my goal at the start of the season when I decided to come back here and play, that I tried to make the New Zealand Heartland XV and I have managed that, I would’ve been disappointed in myself if I didn’t get selected.”
Clark who plays six or seven, is one of five loose forwards in the squad and is looking forward to returning to the Cook Islands.
“I have been there once before and it was a fantastic place, so hopefully it’s just as good this time.”
Clark, who only played three club games for Maheno at the back end of the season after he suffered a serious knee injury playing for North Otago last season said he was eager to get on the pitch.
“I’m itching to get out there and carry on, I’ve only really played about half a season so I’m really fresh which is good at this stage of the season.”
He was happy with his own form so far this year, but was a bit disappointed fellow Old Golds player Ralph Darling was overlooked for the squad.
“I’m not the coach, but I thought Ralphie probably deserved a spot in the team on the back of his form.”
Clark’s immediate focus is on winning this weekend’s Lochore Cup final.
“It’s been a bit of a disappointing season, it’s a great bunch of guys we have in this team and the results haven’t been outstanding, but some silverware is better than none.”
He is undecided whether or not he will return next season.
By BRAYDEN LINDSAY
STANDOUT: North Otago captain Josh Clark (with the ball) has been rewarded for his strong season with a place in the New Zealand Heartland XV to tour the Cook Islands next month.