The stand out performance of Blues skipper Patrick Tuipoluto in Super Rugby Aotearoa has been recognised with All Blacks coach Ian Foster naming him captain of the North Island side for their match against the South later this month.
Fellow All Black lock Sam Whitelock with lead the South Island side.
The All Blacks selection trio of head coach Ian Foster, assistant coach John Plumtree and Grant Fox have confirmed the two squads for the fixture scheduled for August 29.
Beauden Barrett will start at first-five for the North and Richie Mo’unga will start at number 10 for the South.
Several rookies have been selected, including Hurricanes forwards Asafo Aumua and Scott Scrafton and back Peter Umaga-Jensen, Blues number 8 Hoskins Sotutu, Chiefs loosie Lachlan Boshier, Blues wings Mark Telea and Caleb Clarke and the Crusaders outside back Will Jordan, who’s in the south team alongside Jordie Barrett.
A number of players were unavailable due to injury, including All Blacks Dane Coles, Scott Barrett, Sam Cane and Ngani Laumape.
The 28-strong squads were selected based on where players made their provincial debuts.
Foster said the match, the first of it’s kind for eight years, was a chance for the players to be part of something special.
“It’s a once-in-a-generation match for them and players who have previously taken part in these matches have talked about how unique and memorable it was. Now these two teams get to write their own history and stories around this match.
“The match will bring out the best in everyone and I’m sure there will be parochial rivalry in spades.
“The players have worked really hard and played some outstanding rugby in Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa, and we’re excited at the breadth of talent up and down the country.”
The North versus South match was first played in 1897 (won by the North 16-3) and last held in Dunedin in 2012 (won by the South 32-24).
The 2020 match will be the 81st, with the Northerners having won 50 matches and the South 27, with three draws.
A number of players were unavailable for selection due to injury, including 2019 All Blacks Dane Coles, Scott Barrett, Sam Cane and Ngani Laumape.
Eden Park was scheduled to host the match but that was in doubt, with Auckland at Covid-19 alert level three until at least midnight on August 26th.
New Zealand Rugby said they were hopeful the match could still be played in Auckland, but were making contingency plans for it to be played in the capital on the same day.
The squads would assemble in Wellington on Monday next week, with the national body seeking Government exemptions for the Auckland-based players and management to travel to Wellington.
A final decision on the venue for the match would be made on Friday.