It was the first North vs South clash since 2012, but unfortunately, fans were prevented from attending due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland last month.
As much as the All Blacks selectors have tried to downplay the glaring hints that suggest this clash is nothing more than a national trial, both teams' players played "trial" rugby. The South was the winner with 38-35, but if one must be honest New Zealand rugby the real winner.
The first 20 minutes of the game was played at a high pace with the South having the momentum for most of the first 20 minutes. The North scored after just three minutes in the game with the South replying almost immediately with their own. Both sides willing to let the ball do the work at that stage but signs of a "trials" is evident now and then. The North led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The South definately had the momentum for the most of the second quarter and a try by Jordie Barrett gave them deservedly the lead with 17-14 with 12 minutes to go. A "try" not allowed for the North with five minutes to go in the first half, saw the South retain the lead with 17-14 at half time.
The North, as in the first half, struck first in the second half to retake the lead with 21-17. The game started to become very scrappy at that stage. Two tries by the South gave them a 31-21 lead with 27 minutes to go.
The North started the last quarter with a brilliant long-distance try to narrow the gap to 28-31. A second try with 9 minutes to, gave the North the lead back to the North with 35-31. The South "stole" the game after 82 minutes on the clock when Will Jordan scored his second try of the day to win 38-35.
North: Tries: Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie, Aaron Smith, Rieko Ioane, Ash Dixon. Conversions: Damian McKenzie (2). Penalty: Damian McKenzie (2).
South: Try: Nepo Laulala, Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan (2), Tyrel Lomax. Conversion: Jordie Barrett (5). Penalty: Jordie Barrett.
North Island: 1. Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2. Asafo Aumua, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 5. Tupou Vaa'i, 6. Akira Ioane, 7. Ardie Savea, 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Caleb Clark, 12. Anton Lienert-Brown, 13. Rieko Ioane, 14. Sevu Reece, 15. Damian McKenzie. Replacements: 16. Ash Dixon, 17. Ayden Johnstone, 18. Angus Ta'avo, 19. Scott Scrafton, 20. Dalton Papalioo, 21. Aaron Smith, 22. Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23. Mitch Hunt.
South Island: 1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Sam Whitelock (c), 5. Mitchell Dunshea, 6. Shannon Frizell, 7. Tom Christie, 8. Tom Sanders, 9. Brad Weber, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 11. George Bridge, 12. Jack Goodhue, 13. Braydon Ennor, 14. Will Jordan, 15. Jordie Barrett. Replacements: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. George Bower, 18. Tyrel Lomax, 19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20. Dillion Hunt, 21. Finlay Christie, 22. Josh Ioane, 23. Leicester Fainga'anuku.