The Northland Rugby Union has announced it will host the Blues who will play against a Northland Barbarians team this month.
The Investec Super Rugby Championships takes a break during June for the international window, with the Blues however in full training, and using the game to kick-start the final three matches in the competition-proper.
The match will be played on Friday 24 June at Toll Stadium in Whangarei with a 6.30pm kick-off.
Northland Rugby Union CEO Jeremy Parkinson said the Union is delighted to bring the Blues back to the region.
“We are working hard alongside the Blues who have a number of initiatives to grow the game and offer a real development pathway not just for our young and representative players but our coaches also.
“This is a great chance to see the team in action and a chance for us to give some experience to our up-and-coming players too.”
Equally it forms an important trial for players wanting to put up their hand for selection for Northland’s Mitre 10 Cup team.
“The Northland team will basically come from the current wider squad and development players who are pushing for selection for the Mitre 10 Cup competition. There is some real competition for places and therefore this game represents an important one for them.
“So there is plenty of incentive to play well. This won’t be a soft, fun game. It will be a tough encounter for both sides with a fair amount hinging on it.”
Blues coach Tana Umaga said the game is important for his side as they focus on the rest of the Super Rugby Championship.
“I think everyone can see we have made strides forward this year but it is really important for us to finish strongly and that starts with the game in Whangarei,” Umaga said.
“Northland is key part of our club and we look forward to coming north for the game. It’s a chance to support the Northland region and get some invaluable playing time before Super Rugby returns for those important final three games in the season-proper.”
This year a record five Northland players are in the Blues, including Northland captain Matt Moulds, Kara Pryor, Jack Ram, Sam Nock and Namatahi Waa.
The Blues community programme and details of the Northland Barbarian team will be available next week.