There’s been plenty of debate surrounding how eligibility should be determined for a proposed North Island v South Island match but new All Blacks coach Ian Foster has now confirmed the exact criteria for the match that will take place on August 29th.

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Eligibility will be based on where a player first played senior representative rugby, i.e. the first Mitre 10 Cup, Heartland Championship or, in the case of a women’s derby, Farah Palmer Cup team they represented.

That means men like Josh Ioane and Jack Goodhue, who were schooled in Auckland, would only be eligible for the South Island team due to making their Mitre 10 Cup debuts for Otago and Canterbury respectively.

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“We think the best legacy thing for us to do is to pick players probably on the first province they played for because the choice they made when they played first-class rugby for that province was probably the start of their move into the professional game. So, we think that’s the best criteria,” Foster said.

Foster also said he couldn’t confirm who would be coaching the two sides and that any All Blacks squad wouldn’t be announced until after the exhibition match.

“No, we won’t pick [the All Blacks] before that game, at this stage. All plans are pretty fluid but we felt, let Super Rugby play out and just enjoy it that. Then we’ll get into a North/South game.

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“It might even be a little bit old school, that it’s the day after the North/South game we have the old Sunday morning media conference and announce the [All Blacks] team.”

Foster also shared his thoughts on the mooted All Blacks v Kangaroos match.

“In this year of so much disruption and changes, we’re not dismissing anything,” Foster said. “Our first priority is clearly to play All Blacks tests so we’re hanging out to see what we can do with Australia, South Africa and Argentina, particularly but, you know, we’re not going to say no to anything right now.

“I’ve had a couple of talks to [Kangaroos coach] Mal Meninga. It was great talking to him, top bloke, about what the game would look like if it were to happen.

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“I think there’s always a concept of how you can pitch two great teams against each other and to try and see who’s the greatest. It’s one of those debates that will go on in New Zealand and Aussie pubs for a long time. The reality is, even if we played each other, we’d probably never know because there’d be a debate about the rules and who it favoured.

“It’s a tough year … if we can’t get the number of test matches we want then maybe it is an option.”

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