Landers supply 10 to interisland squads

Mitch Hunt will be one of six on their Highlanders debut on Friday. Photo: Getty Images
Mitch Hunt. Photo: Getty Images
There are 10 Highlanders in the North-South squads and nearly half of them will turn out for the mob from the northern side of Cook Strait.

Highlanders Mitch Hunt and Ayden Johnstone have been rewarded for outstanding form with selection in the North squad.

Selection for the teams is based on the provincial team for which player first played at first-class level.

Hunt, who was born and bred in Nelson, was snapped up by Auckland a year after leaving school and played one season in the Auckland. Johnstone attended Hamilton Boys’ High School and is about to enter his third full season for Waikato.

Hunt and Johnstone are joined by Highlanders co-captains Ash Dixon and Aaron Smith in the North side, which will be captained by Blues skipper Patrick Tuipulotu.

The South side includes the predictable selections of Highlanders Josh Ioane and Liam Coltman but there are some surprises.

Crusaders prop George Bower made his debut with the Otago team in 2014 but did not play again until 2018. He has been in and out of the Otago team over the past couple of seasons. But he has impressed for the Crusaders over the past two seasons and has the ability to play both sides of the scrum.

Bower started four games for Otago last season.

Southland and Highlanders lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit has also won selection and gets in ahead of Highlanders team mate Pari Pari Parkinson. Parkinson picked up an ankle injury last Saturday against the Hurricanes and is unavailable.

Loose forwards Shannon Frizell and Dillon Hunt have made the South team on the back of good form. Hunt now plays for North Harbour but made his debut for Otago when at the University of Otago.

All Black halfback Brad Weber was also a student when he debuted for Otago in 2012, making nine appearances although he did not start a game. He left to play for Waikato the following season.

Ioane slots in as a first five-eighth alongside Richie Mo’unga while Sio Tomkinson is in the midfield in the first national recognition at a senior level. He beats the likes of Alex Nankavill and Ngane Punivai.

All Blacks Dane Coles (calf), Scott Barrett (foot), Sam Cane (concussion) and Ngani Laumape (wrist) are all carrying injuries and not available. Cane is not expected to be out for long.

The venue for the game on August 29 is up in the air and a decision whether the contest will be played in Auckland or Wellington will be made on Friday.


North-South squads

North:  Asafo Aumua (Wellington), Ash Dixon (Hawke's Bay), Kurt Eklund (Auckland), Alex Fidow (Wellington), Ayden Johnstone (Waikato), Angus Ta'avao (Auckland), Karl Tu'inukuafe (North Harbour), Ofa Tuungafasi (Auckland), Scott Scrafton (Auckland), Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland, captain), Tupou Vaa'i (Taranaki), Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki), Akira Ioane (Auckland), Dalton Papalii (Auckland), Ardie Savea (Wellington), Hoskins Sotutu (Auckland), TJ Perenara (Wellington), Aaron Smith (Manawatu), Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Taranaki), Beauden Barrett (Taranaki), Rieko Ioane (Auckland), Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato), Peter Umaga-Jensen 
(Wellington), Caleb Clarke (Auckland), Mitch Hunt (Auckland), Damian McKenzie (Waikato), Sevu Reece (Waikato), Mark Telea (North Harbour).
South: Liam Coltman (Otago), Andrew Makalio (Tasman), Codie Taylor (Canterbury), George Bower (Otago), Alex Hodgman (Canterbury), Nepo Laulala (Canterbury), Tyrel Lomax (Tasman), Joe Moody (Canterbury), Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury), Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Southland), Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury and captain), Tom 
Christie (Canterbury), Shannon Frizell (Tasman), Dillon Hunt (Otago), Reed Prinsep (Canterbury), Tom Sanders (Canterbury), Finlay Christie (Tasman), Mitchell Drummond (Canterbury), Brad Weber (Otago), Josh Ioane (Otago), Richie Mo'unga (Canterbury), Braydon Ennor (Canterbury), Leicester Faingaanuku (Tasman), Jack Goodhue (Canterbury), Sio Tomkinson (Otago), Jordie Barrett (Canterbury), George Bridge (Canterbury), Will Jordan (Tasman).

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