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NZ Rugby reinstates North-South game

New Zealand Rugby has confirmed the return of a North versus South inter-island match, unearthing a fixture that was an institution during the sport’s amateur era.

The North Island will face the South Island at Auckland’s Eden Park on August 29, two weeks after the completion of the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.

The match, which is likely to be dominated by All Blacks contenders, will effectively serve as a trial for new national coach Ian Foster.

Foster’s four assistants fill out the coaching roles for the game, with John Plumtree and Scott McLeod in charge of the North Island while Brad Mooar and Greg Feek coaching the South Island.

Eligibility for each team is to be determined by which province a player made his first-class debut for.

The match will provide another source of revenue for cash-strapped NZ Rugby, which is still in negotiations over the possibility of playing Tests against Australia later this year.

The inaugural North-South game was initiated in 1897 and was played 79 times before rugby switched to professionalism in 1995.

A congested calendar has shut the fixture out since, aside from a one-off match in 2012.

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