New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced a new high performance team will assemble this year and undertake a tour of the northern hemisphere.
The team, named the All Blacks XV, will play three matches in the last weekend of October and first two weekends of November.
NZR Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass told the All Blacks.com website that the team will provide a new national team aspiration for current professional players, essentially a stepping stone the All Blacks.
It follows in the footsteps of similar teams which have assembled throughout New Zealand recent rugby's history, including the Junior All Blacks, New Zealand 'A' and Emerging Players.
"The All Blacks XV will be our second-tier team below the All Blacks and made up New Zealand's 'next best' players," Cass said.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for those players to experience a national team environment and prove themselves on the international stage, or for those who have already worn the All Blacks jersey to get more game time at this level and potentially earn a recall to the team."
The All Blacks XV will participate in the inaugural Halloween Rugby Weekend, at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver this October, with Fiji, the USA and hosts Canada completing the line-up.
The games will feature the All Blacks XV squaring off against the Flying Fijians on Halloween night and Canada taking on the USA.
Details of the two other 2020 All Blacks XV matches will be announced in due course.
- All Blacks.com