North vs. South teams set with ABs battles aplenty

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An event steeped in history, the North vs. South match has taken place over 100 years but it's been eight since we last saw the two teams come together and face off.

Like much of 2020, this event hasn't been untouched by the coronavirus; first delayed due to a COVID outbreak in Auckland, before it was moved south to Wellington and will now be played out without a crowd on Saturday evening (5:10pm AEST).

Both squads are packed full of All Blacks talent, with a highly anticipated match-up between Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga headlining the contest.

Elsewhere for the North, No. 8 Hoskins Sotutu will be looking to push his All Blacks claims after missing the second half of Super Rugby Aotearoa while Rieko Ioane gets another chance to show how well he has made the shift to outside centre.

"It's an exciting squad that we've picked for this special match," North coach John Plumtree said. "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.

"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."

One of the stars of Super Rugby Aotearoa, Jordie Barrett now has the chance to show what he can do in tandem with Mo'unga while Shannon Frizell will be looking to replicate his strong Highlanders form at No. 6.

"It's always hard to pick those in the 23 and all 28 in our squad could've been selected," South coach Brad Mooar said. "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."

"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.

Team North

Damian McKenzie, Sevu Reece, Rieko Ioane, Anton Leinert-Brown, Caleb Clarke, Beuaden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Hoskins Sotutu, Ardie Savea, Akira Ioane, Tupoa Vaa'I, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tuungafasi, Asafo Aumua, Karl Tu'inukuafe.

Replacements: Ash Dixon, Ayden Johnstone, Angus Ta'avao, Scott Scrafton, Dalton Papalii, Aaron Smith, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Mitchell Hunt.

Team South

Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Brayden Ennor, Jack Goodhue, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Brad Weber, Tom Sanders, Tom Christie, Shannon Frizell, Mitchell Dunshea, Samuel Whitelock, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.

Replacements: Liam Coltman, George Bower, Tyrel Lomax, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Dillon Hunt, Finaly Christie, Josh Ioane, Leicester Faingaanuku

NB: This game can be screened LIVE on ESPN+ in the United States at 3am ET Saturday. The match will also be replayed later Saturday.