North and South teams named for 'memorable' inter-island clash

By Te Ao - Māori News

The North vs South rugby teams have been named and they feature 15 Māori players. North will have eight while seven will wear the South jerseys.

Māori All Blacks captain Ash Dixon, Akira Ioane, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Rieko Ioane, Peter Umaga-Jensen and Damian McKenzie have been named in the North team.

Meanwhile, Joe Moody, Tyrel Lomax, Codie Taylor, Manaaki Selby-Rickitt, Reed Prinsep, Brad Weber, Josh Ioane have been included into the South team.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster, who along with Grant Fox selected the two sides, says, "this is a chance for these players to be part of something really 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 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. There's a huge amount of talent here and it will be a wonderful celebration of rugby for our fans."

Tuipulotu vs Whitelock

Standout Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu will captain the North while Crusaders star Sam Whitelock will lead the South.

“Sam and Patrick are two special players who've had outstanding seasons. They will lead their sides with their own flavour as captains and are both proven and experienced leaders," Foster said.

The match is scheduled for August 29 at Auckland’s Eden Park, although New Zealand Rugby is considering relocating the game to Wellington as Auckland’s Level 3 lockdown is due to be reviewed three days before kickoff.

"One thing about 2020 with Covid-19 is that you have to be nimble and agile and this week and next will be no different. We're adjusting and adapting. We'll look forward to getting to Wellington and getting stuck into our preparation," Foster said

Eligibility for the teams is based on the provincial union where a player made their representative debuts, a quirk which will see a number of players play against their Island of origin including Southland-born and raised and Christchurch-educated McKenzie play for North Island, while Aucklander Josh Ioane will line up for the South.

Beauden Barrett (Taranaki) is the only first five named in the North team while younger brother Jordie, who made his debut for Canterbury, is likely to play fullback for the southerners.

The squads (with players' first provincial union) are:

NORTH

HOOKERS: Asafo Aumua (Wellington), Ash Dixon (Hawke's Bay) and Kurt Eklund (Auckland).

PROPS: Alex Fidow (Wellington), Ayden Johnstone (Waikato), Angus Ta'avao (Auckland), Karl Tu'inukuafe (North Harbour) and Ofa Tuungafasi (Auckland).

LOCKS: Scott Scrafton (Auckland), Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland and captain) and Tupou Vaa'i (Taranaki).

LOOSE FORWARDS: Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki), Akira Ioane (Auckland), Dalton Papalii (Auckland), Ardie Savea (Wellington) and Hoskins Sotutu (Auckland).

HALFBACKS: TJ Perenara (Wellington), Aaron Smith (Manawatu) and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Taranaki).

FIRST FIVE-EIGHTHS: Beauden Barrett (Taranaki).

MIDFIELDERS: Rieko Ioane (Auckland), Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato) and Peter Umaga-Jensen (Wellington).

OUTSIDE BACKS: Caleb Clarke (Auckland), Mitchell Hunt (Auckland), Damian McKenzie (Waikato), Sevu Reece (Waikato) and Mark Telea (North Harbour).

SOUTH

HOOKERS: Liam Coltman (Otago), Andrew Makalio (Tasman) and Codie Taylor (Canterbury).

PROPS: George Bower (Otago), Alex Hodgman (Canterbury), Nepo Laulala (Canterbury), Tyrel Lomax (Tasman) and Joe Moody (Canterbury).

LOCKS: Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury), Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Southland) and Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury and captain).

LOOSE FORWARDS: Tom Christie (Canterbury), Shannon Frizell (Tasman), Dillon Hunt (Otago), Reed Prinsep (Canterbury) and Tom Sanders (Canterbury).

HALFBACKS: Finlay Christie (Tasman), Mitchell Drummond (Canterbury) and Brad Weber (Otago).

FIRST FIVE-EIGHTHS: Josh Ioane (Otago) and Richie Mo'unga (Canterbury).

MIDFIELDERS: Braydon Ennor (Canterbury), Leicester Faingaanuku (Tasman), Jack Goodhue (Canterbury) and Sio Tomkinson (Otago)

OUTSIDE BACKS: Jordie Barrett (Canterbury), George Bridge (Canterbury) and Will Jordan (Tasman).