Sam Whitelock joins calls for return of North Island v South Island rugby match

Sam Whitelock is another high-profile voice adding to calls for a return of the North Island v South Island match, with New Zealand's closed borders stopping Test rugby in the immediate future.

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The All Blacks lock is relishing a possible New Zealand inter-island showdown. Source: 1 NEWS

A staple fixture of rugby during the game's early years in New Zealand, a North Island v South Island match hasn't been played since 1996 - that occasion seeing a 63-22 victory for the North.

However, with Covid-19 wreaking havoc on the global sporting calendar, New Zealand Rugby could look inwards for top level competition, with the All Blacks' July internationals against Wales and Scotland indefinitely postponed.

All Blacks selector Grant Fox has already been one to go on record in support of the idea of seeing the North v South clash return.

Speaking to media via Zoom earlier today, Whitelock added his name to those in support of seeing the match return in 2020.

"[It's] something I'm pretty excited about," he said.

"It's going to be cool to play against some people I've played a lot of rugby with, and pretty cool to play with some young guys I might not know a lot about."

Despite his years of service for both the Crusaders and Canterbury, Whitelock would in fact be eligible for the North Island, hailing from Feilding.

On the flip side, Whitelock's All Blacks locking partner Brodie Retallick would qualify for the South Island XV, born in Canterbury despite playing for Hawke's Bay and the Chiefs.