The two teams for the eagerly-anticipated Steinlager North v South match at Sky Stadium in Wellington on Saturday 5 September have been named.

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The match, which will be played in front of no crowds, will kick off at 7.10PM and be broadcast live and exclusive on Sky Sport.

North Head Coach John Plumtree said: “It’s an exciting squad that we’ve picked for this special match. There’s a huge amount of lot of talent in the side. There’s some real power in the forwards and some speed in the backs.

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“The North has gelled together really well this week and the players are having a lot of fun. They’re really excited at the challenge against the South and certainly not lacking in any motivation. There will be a real intensity to the match with two really good teams going toe to toe,” Plumtree added.

The Head Coach of the South team, Brad Mooar, said the South side had some strong combinations, with additional strength and pace thrown in as well.

“It’s always hard to pick those in the 23 and all 28 in our squad could’ve been selected. We have a fantastic group of men who have all made the most of this week, building relationships and having fun with each other as well as learning new things and formulating our game plan. There’s been lots of good-natured banter between the teams and a lot of parochial rivalry.”

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“The only thing missing at the stadium will be the fans and we’re really disappointed we can’t share the experience there with them. We know there will be a huge audience watching at home so we hope they’ll enjoy what’s shaping up as match for the history books,” Mooar said.

The North v South match is steeped in history, with the first match played in 1897 (won by the North 16-3) and was last played in Dunedin in 2012 (won by the South 32-24) The 2020 match will be the 81st match with the Northerners having won 50 matches and the South 27, with three draws.

The North team

Forwards: 1. Karl Tu’inukuafe 2. Asafo Aumua, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 5. Tupou Vaa’i, 6. Akira Ioane, 7. Ardie Savea, 8. Hoskins Sotutu.
Backs: 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Caleb Clarke, 12. Anton Lienert-Brown, 13. Rieko Ioane, 14. Sevu Reece, 15. Damian McKenzie.
Replacements: 16. Ash Dixon, 17. Ayden Johnstone, 18. Angus Ta’avao, 19. Scott Scrafton, 20. Dalton Papalii, 21. Aaron Smith, 22. Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23. Mitchell Hunt.

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The South team

Forwards: 1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Samuel Whitelock (captain), 5. Mitchell Dunshea, 6. Shannon Frizell, 7. Tom Christie, 8. Tom Sanders.
Backs: 9. Brad Weber, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 11. George Bridge, 12. Jack Goodhue, 13. Brayden Ennor, 14. Will Jordan, 15. Jordie Barrett
Replacements: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. George Bower, 18. Tyrel Lomax, 19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20. Dillon Hunt, 21. Finlay Christie, 22. Josh Ioane, 23. Leicester Faingaanuku.

– New Zealand Rugby

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