New Zealand Rugby have confirmed that the North v South exhibition match will kick off at 5:35PM from Eden Park on August 29th, two weeks after the end of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said the match was shaping as one of the highlights of the rugby calendar.
“We’ve seen how our fans and our wider rugby community have come together during Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa and our players have responded with some highly entertaining rugby from Dunedin to Auckland.
“The Steinlager North v South Match is a chance for all New Zealanders, wherever they are, to get behind a team and to enjoy watching the ‘best of the best’ go head to head against each other for 80 minutes.”
All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said anticipation was building for a match he expected to be watched around the world.
“In a year when the country has had a lot of change, the world has had a lot of change and the rugby calendar has been very different, it’s a bright light,” he said.
“Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa has been outstanding … to have this special game at the end of it keeps the players motivated and excited and it’s a chance to keep celebrating where the game is at.”
All Blacks Assistant Coaches John Plumtree and Scott McLeod will coach the North and Greg Feek and Brad Mooar the South, with Foster and fellow selector Grant Fox overseeing selections.
The North v South Match has a celebrated history, with the first game played in 1897 (won by the North 16-3) and was an annual fixture for much of the 20th century. It was last played in Dunedin in 2012 (won by the South 32-24). The 2020 match will be the 81st time the two islands have played each other with the Northerners having won 50 matches and the South 27, with three draws.
Foster said. “Historically they were always fiery matches. It was the little brother-big brother concept and it was always massive.”
As previously announced, players will be selected based on the province they first represented at professional level and Foster believed the significance of players representing those provinces should not be underplayed.
“A lot of our players, our top All Blacks, have talked about the North-South match for years, but never had the chance to play in it. Now they have that chance and they have to reinvent their own meaning for this game.”
– with New Zealand Rugby
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