It’s finally here.
North Otago’s Heartland campaign gets under way on Sunday against Wairarapa Bush at 7.05pm. It is a big start for the Old Golds, with the game being played right after the Hawke’s Bay versus Manawatu NPC match and televised on Sky Sport.
‘‘It’s not every day you have Hawke’s Bay›Manawatu as your curtain raiser,’’ coach Jason Forrest said.
It was a ‘‘very, very exciting’’ start to the season and the Old Golds have had a good build› up, winning both their pre› season games.
The players had a physical training on Tuesday night and ‘‘ironed out’’ some areas to prepare for the match.
Hayden Tisdall leads the team at hooker, Mone Samate gets the start on the wing, loan Canterbury player Seta Koroitamana is at flanker, and player of origin Levi Emery is at fullback. Otago loan player Alex Nettleton has been brought in at prop.
‘‘We’re thinking there might be a few set pieces, so we just need to make sure we’ve got availability and guys coming off the bench there.’’
Wairarapa was a bit of an unknown this year after having a ‘‘clean out’’, Forrest said.
‘‘So a lot of local boys, so that’s dangerous for me.
‘‘We know that they’ll be like us — they’ve had a couple of good pre›season games so they’ll be ready to go.’’
He said when the Wairarapa team contained mainly local players ‘‘they play well against us for some reason’’.
But North Otago was raring to go and excited about the challenge that lay ahead. There was a good amount of support heading north for the team and Forrest said he was looking forward to doing the community proud.
‘‘It’s not [just] about us — it’s about our community, and doing the best for our friends and families.’’