Last Updated: 18/08/20 11:19am
All Blacks captain Sam Cane has been left out of the North vs South match on August 29, live on Sky Sports, as he recovers from a concussion sustained in the Chiefs’ final Super Rugby Aotearoa match earlier this month.
All Blacks coach Ian Foster named the two squads on Tuesday for the match between the composite sides that represent the country’s two main islands.
Foster told reporters on a conference call that Cane had not begun his “return-to-play protocols” in terms of training yet as the Chiefs did not play the final weekend of the domestic competition.
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“Sam Cane has been taking some time,” Foster said.
“He is looking really good and he’s getting better every day. We’re hopeful that he won’t take too long. But it’s more of a precautionary thing.”
Cane was not the only All Blacks player missing through injury with Dane Coles, Scott Barrett and Ngani Laumape not considered, although they could become available for the All Blacks in late October, Foster said. The two squads remain filled with star-quality players, however.
Blues second row Patrick Tuipulotu and Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock will captain the North Island and South Island respectively.
The game is scheduled for Eden Park in Auckland but New Zealand Rugby have placed Wellington Regional Stadium on standby due to renewed coronavirus restrictions in Auckland and the teams will assemble in Wellington next Monday.
The North-South match was an annual fixture for much of the 20th century but has only been played twice since 1986. The last game was in Dunedin in 2012 to raise funds for the Otago Rugby Union.
“It is great to reconnect with our history,” All Blacks selector Grant Fox said. “I was fortunate enough to play in three of these matches.
“They were special matches to be part of and … reconnecting with our history has been the right way to go rather than have an All Blacks trial.
“The players are excited. The coaches are excited.”
New Zealand Rugby – North vs South squads:
Backs – Damian McKenzie, Mitchell Hunt, Sevu Reece, Caleb Clarke, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Peter Umnaga-Jensen, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.
Forwards – Hoskins Sotutu, Akira Ioane, Lachlan Boshier, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papalii, Scott Scrafton, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa’i, Alex Fidow, Angus Ta’avao, Ofa Tuungafasi, Ayden Johnstone, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Asafo Amumua, Ash Dixon, Kurt Eklund.
Backs – Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, George Bridge, Braydon Ennor, Leicester Faingaanuku, Jack Goodhue, Sio Tomkinson, Richie Mo’unga, Josh Ioane, Brad Weber, Finlay Christie, Mitchell Drummond.
Forwards – Shannon Frizell, Dillon Hunt, Tom Sanders, Reed Prinsep, Tom Christie, Sam Whitelock, Mitch Dunshea, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, George Bower, Nepo Laulala, Alex Hodgman, Tyrel Lomax, Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Liam Coltman, Andrew Makalio.