A Tana Umaga-coached Pacific XV could be the New Zealand national side’s first challenge of the year, according to a report by 1 News.
The clash could be the All Blacks’ first hit out of their international season with the match taking place at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium in October in the lead up to the Rugby Championship and subsequent Bledisloe Cup competition.
Former All Black captain Tana Umaga would likely be joined in the coaches box by fellow former All Blacks Aaron Mauger and Ben Afeaki with a number of current and former All Blacks and Super Rugby Aotearoa players expected to make up the squad.
The squad could feature the likes of NZ-based stars Julian Savea, Ma’a Nonu and Nasi Manu with the likes of in form back-rowers Du’Plessis Kirifi from the Hurricanes and Blues loose forward Akira Ioane, provided that they aren’t selected in the All Blacks squad.
The Rugby Championship is likely to be held in New Zealand over a six-week period between November 7 and December 12 while there is also a possibility that the All Blacks could square off with the Wallabies in a pair of Bledisloe matches expected to be held prior to the TRC
New Zealand last played a Pacific Islands composite side in 2004 while 2020 is also seeing the return of the popular North v South Island clash.
🏉 @BrianODriscoll, McCaw and more!— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) July 22, 2020
A XV of players who have scored the most test tries 🔥