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For the first time since the mid 1980's, New Zealand is set to reintroduce the famous North vs South Island match on August 29th, pitting players from each of the two parts of New Zealand against one another to settle where the best rugby players in the country truly come from.
For reference, the Chiefs, the Hurricanes, and the Blues are the three Super Rugby franchises on the North Island, while the Crusaders and the Highlanders make up the South Island. However, eligibility for the competition is a point of much debate. Do you choose players based on where they were born? Where they went to school? Where they currently play? The answer at the moment, according to All Blacks head coach Ian Foster, is that players will represent the Island where they played their first provincial rugby.
Of course, there are some issues with this, as there are many players like Damian McKenzie who grew up on one island (Invercargill in the South in his case) but played their first provincial rugby on a different island (Waikato in the North.) As a southerner, does it makes sense for guys like McKenzie to be forced to play for the opposite island? Or should they at least be given the option?
As for the coaches, All Blacks assistant coach Brad Mooar will team up with Greg Feek to coach the South, while John Plumtree and Mason McLeod will take the reins for the North side.
Eden Park in Auckland (North Island) is the site selected for the occasion, but neither team has chosen players. Both sets of coaches will have a lot of work ahead to choose their best 23.