WELLINGTON: All Blacks captain Sam Cane has been left out of the North-South match on Aug. 29 as he recovers from a concussion sustained in the Waikato 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.
Cane was not the only All Blacks player missing through injury with Dane Coles, Scott Barrett and Ngani Laumape not considered, Foster said in a statement.
The game is scheduled for Eden Park in Auckland but New Zealand Rugby have placed Wellington Regional Stadium on standby due to COVID-19 restrictions in Auckland and the teams will assemble in Wellington next Monday.
"One thing about 2020 with COVID-19 is that you have to be nimble and agile and this week and next will be no different," Foster said.
"We're adjusting and adapting, we'll look forward to getting to Wellington and getting stuck into our preparation."
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.
"This is a chance for these players to be part of something really special," Foster added.
"It's a once-in-a-generation match for them and players who have previously taken part in these matches have talked about how unique and memorable it was.
"The match will bring out the best in everyone and I'm sure there will be parochial rivalry in spades."
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Stephen Coates)