Noel McQuilken, has named an experienced line-up for the game against Ireland which kicks off at 17.05 at Alpine Energy Stadium in Timaru.
After losing their opening game by two points against what was essentially the first division Bay of Plenty line-up, the Divisional XV fought back for a thrilling 35-35 draw against Italy at Taupo last Sunday.
McQuilken knows that his side needs to improve on that effort to upset the Irish, but he is well qualified to assess what is required to beat this weekend’s opponents, having coached previously in Ireland himself.
The Divisional XV boasts some hard-headed campaigners up front with hooker Paul Mitchell a former Super 12 representative, while No.8 Mutu Ngarimu has appeared previously for New Zealand Maori.
East Coast lock Kele Leawere made a huge impression last weekend against Italy, while another player to watch out for is versatile Hawke’s Bay forward Daniel Quate, who has represented New Zealand at both Under-19 and Under-21 level.
Quate has played much of his rugby at the top level as a lock but will play on the blindside flank against Ireland where his height will provide the Divisional XV with an additional line-out option.
Veteran inside backs Lee Peina and Mano Flutey will spearhead the backline although much will also be expected of exciting young fullback Tim Manawatu.
The former Buller representative who now resides in Hawke’s Bay provided some quality touches in the drawn clash with Italy.
Another youngster the Irish would do well to keep an eye out for, should he make the side, is King Country winger Pehi Te Whare.
The speedster, who has been bracketed with Wanganui’s Dwayne Kemp on the reserves bench, was a member of the world champion New Zealand Under-19 side in Italy earlier this year.
North Otago winger Pila Fifita, who played for the Highlanders Development Squad earlier in the season, is the only Third Division representative in the side.
New Zealand Divisional XV. Tim Manawatu (Hawke’s Bay); Michael Pettman (Manawatu), Sam Leung-Wai (Hawke’s Bay), Matt Harvey (Manawatu), Pila Fifita (North Otago); Matt Porter (Marlborough), Mano Flutey (East Coast); Lee Peina capt. (King Country), Clint Newland (Hawke’s Bay), Paul Mitchell (King Country); Peter Bielski (Hawke’s Bay); Kele Leawere (East Coast); Daniel Quate (Hawke’s Bay); Aaron Griffith (Nelson Bays), Mutu Ngarimu (Hawke’s Bay),.
Replacements: 16 Derek Leefe (East Coast), 17 Jeremy Hapeta (Manawatu), 18 Kahu Marfell (Nelson Bays), 19 Simon McKearney (Thames Valley), 20 Quintyn Austin (Manawatu), 21 Joe Faa’iu (Nelson Bays), 22 Dwayne Kemp (Wanganui) / Pehi Te Whare (King Country).