Nine contracted Tasman Mako players have been included among the two teams named this week to contest the North v South match on September 5.
The three All Blacks selectors have chosen two squads of 28 players for a match that will double as a trial for forthcoming internationals.
Players have been selected on the basis of which provincial union they were first selected for, making for several anomalies, such as seeing Nelson-born-and-bred Mako utility back Mitchell Hunt named in the North Island squad, because his first NPC season was with Auckland.
Along with Hunt in the Northern ranks is the newly-signed Tasman wing duo of Sevu Reece and Mark Telea.
However, most of the Mako men will turn out for the Mainland combination.
In the forwards, Andrew Makalio has been chosen at hooker, alongside prop Tyrel Lomax and flanker Shannon Frizell.
Finlay Christie, Leicester Fainga’anuku and Will Jordan are among the southern backline options.
Missing from the South line-up due to injury are in-form Tasman locks Quinten Strange and Pari Pari Parkinson, both likely to have been chosen alongside skipper Sam Whitelock if fit.
With uncertainty rife over possible COVID alert levels, the venue for the North v South clash has yet to be confirmed, although it will be played at either Auckland’s Eden Park or Wellington’s SKY Stadium.
The North versus South match was first played in 1897 (won by the North 16-3) and last held in Dunedin in 2012 (won by the South 32-24).
This year’s match will be the 81st, with the Northerners having won 50 matches and the South 27, with three draws.
Next up for the Mako players is a pre-season match, against Canterbury in Hanmer on Friday, September 4, before the NPC begins on September 11. Tasman’s first match is against Counties-Manukau in Pukekohe on Saturday, September 12.
The Interisland teams
Hookers: Liam Coltman (Otago), Andrew Makalio (Tasman) and Codie Taylor (Canterbury).
Props: George Bower (Otago), Alex Hodgman (Canterbury), Nepo Laulala (Canterbury), Tyrel Lomax (Tasman) and Joe Moody (Canterbury).
Locks: Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury), Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Southland) and Sam Whitelock (Canterbury and captain).
Loose forwards: Tom Christie (Canterbury), Shannon Frizell (Tasman), Dillon Hunt (Otago), Reed Prinsep (Canterbury) and Tom Sanders (Canterbury).
Halfbacks: Finlay Christie (Tasman), Mitchell Drummond (Canterbury) and Brad Weber (Otago).
First five-eighths: Josh Ioane (Otago) and Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury).
Midfielders: Braydon Ennor (Canterbury), Leicester Faingaanuku (Tasman), Jack Goodhue (Canterbury) and Sio Tomkinson (Otago)
Outside backs: Jordie Barrett (Canterbury), George Bridge (Canterbury) and Will Jordan (Tasman).
Hookers: Asafo Aumua (Wellington), Ash Dixon (Hawke’s Bay) and Kurt Eklund (Auckland).
Props: Alex Fidow (Wellington), Ayden Johnstone (Waikato), Angus Ta’avao (Auckland), Karl Tu’inukuafe (North Harbour) and Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland).
Locks: Scott Scrafton (Auckland), Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland and captain) and Tupou Vaa’i (Taranaki).
Loose forwards: Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki), Akira Ioane (Auckland), Dalton Papalii (Auckland), Ardie Savea (Wellington) and Hoskins Sotutu (Auckland).
Halfbacks: TJ Perenara (Wellington), Aaron Smith (Manawatu) and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Taranaki).
First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett (Taranaki).
Midfielders: Rieko Ioane (Auckland), Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato) and Peter Umaga-Jensen (Wellington).
Outside backs: Caleb Clarke (Auckland), Mitchell Hunt (Auckland), Damian McKenzie (Waikato), Sevu Reece (Waikato) and Mark Telea (North Harbour).
Unavailable for selection due to injury were 2019 All Blacks Dane Coles, Scott Barrett, Sam Cane and Ngani Laumape.