Well, despite the cynicism, it's been an entertaining battle that's given some lesser lights of Super Rugby a chance to show their full abilities. If the South forwards set the foundation in the first half, fullback Kurt Baker probably emerged as the dominant individual with his record-equaling points haul and two late tries to clinch victory.
80 mins: North 24-32 South - North are threatening the tryline again and win a scrum just metres out. But the game is called before they can add to their tally and the South prevail.
78 mins: North 24-32 South - TRY! Chiefs fullback Robbie Robinson, now at first-five, scores a consolation try after a period of concerted enterprise from both sides. North haven't given up the ghost just yet and the conversion gets them within eight, victory still beyond them.
68 mins: North 17-32 South - TRY! And Kurt Baker is across again, surely dashing North's hopes of a comeback in the final minutes. The North launch a promising attack, but turn over the ball and the South pounce. Highlanders winger Kade Poki is all pace down the left side and does the hard work to give Baker an open run to the line. Baker has just enough to elude David Raikuna, but has lost his kicking touch, badly missing this conversion too. Apparently this is a record score for the South Island in the history of these clashes. Baker's try also ties the highest points haul for a southerner at 17 points.
65 mins: North 17-27 South - TRY! Maybe South have put the contest beyond North's reach with a try to Kurt Baker in the corner. After some fine inter-passing, the ball is recycled left along the backline and South are presented with a three-to-one advantage, which Baker easily capitalises on. He misses the sideline conversion, but unless North can dramatically swing momentum their way, 10 points may be enough.
58 mins: North 17-22 South - One of the highlights of the game so far isn't even a try. Highlanders centre Kendrick Lynn tries to initiate a counterattack from his own line and offloads a long pass to fullback Kurt Baker under the posts. Baker carves up field, but as he looks for support, he's nailed by rival No. 15 Robbie Robinson . South retain possession, but eventually knock on further up field.
53 mins: North 17-22 South - TRY! After several minutes pinned inside their own half, the North create a turnover and break out. When Hurricanes wing Richard Buckman dashes down the sideline and flicks an inside pass, Blues wing Sherwin Stowers is across for the touchdown. Lachie Munro converts and is immediately replaced by James Marshall, with Robbie Robinson moving into the pivot.
The game got off to a lacklustre start where pace and enterprise were somewhat superior to skill level. But as it found a rhythm, the South settled into their work the better, led by Jason Rutledge and Jamie Mackintosh. The stoush in the 32nd minute really seemed to galvanise the southerners and the home crowd really got behind their boys from that point.
North need to score next or risk being blown out here. Their forwards are being dominated, but their backs look full of purpose whenever they get the ball.
40 mins: North 10-22 South - After the siren, Chiefs flanker Scott Waldrom is penalised for an infringement at the breakdown and from close to the sideline, Highlanders fullback Kurt Baker slots a penalty to send the South into the sheds with a 12-point halftime lead.
33 mins: North 10-19 South - TRY! From the penalty and ensuing lineout, Tom Donnelly grabs possession, and the South forwards drive and collapse over the goal line. After examination, the TMO rules a try to Crusaders openside Matt Todd, converted by Kurt Baker.
32 mins: North 10-12 South - Fists are thrown when Jason Rutledge is dumped in a heavy tackle by Chiefs halfback Brendon Leonard and Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles. Kendrick Lynn takes exception to Coles' involvement in the tackle and the pair start swinging at each other. When Tom Donnelly intervenes, he's smacked on the nose by opposite Filo Paulo, drawing blood. North are penalised for the crude tackle, but the scruffled is ruled a draw.
26 mins: North 10-12 South - TRY! South are starting to get some continuity going. Crusaders lock Tom Donnelly surges towards the line, Highlanders midfielder Kendrick Lynn carries it on and Adam Whitelock is full stretch to plant the ball for his sides second try, converted.
23 mins: North 10-5 South - South are penalised for offside at the breakdown and Lachie Munro gives his forwards some respite from the hectic pace by attempt and slotting the penalty to extend the North's lead.
20 mins: North 7-5 South - TRY! Playing under advantage, Highlanders hooker Jason Rutledge surges towards the line, bounces out of one tackle and sets up quick ball. First-five Tom Marshall is held up just short, but stretches out a right arm to score. The conversion is missed.
11 mins: North 7-0 South - TRY! Hurricanes loose forward Brad Shields surges and sets up quick recycle ball. Blues threequarter David Raikuna provides the penetration through the defensive line and flicks a sweet backhanded pass for Chiefs fullback Robbie Robinson to dash down the left touchline for the game's first try, converted by Lachie Munro.
Five mins: North 0-0 South - North also get into the spirit of the occasion when they're awarded a scrum penalty in front of the South posts and kick for touch instead of shooting for goal. Again, nothing comes of it.
One min: North 0-0 South - The South get a scrum right in front of the posts and give an immediate indication of the mood of this match by packing Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan down at the back, with Crusadeers loose foward Luke Whitelock preparing to feed. We'll never know what they had planned because they are penalised and the North clear.
The first inter-island rugby match in 17 years struggles to live up to the rivalry of yesteryear, especially with all New Zealand's frontline players involved in the current All Blacks v Ireland series.
A few of the extended All Blacks squad run out onto Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, in the hope of further promoting their national-team aspirations, but at best, this is a chance for Super 15 players to stay in shape during the international window. Of course, it's also a nice fundraiser for the local union, who've struggled to pay their bills lately and it's also a display of New Zealand's rugby depth.
North Island: 15-Robbie Robinson (Chiefs), 14-Lelia Masaga (Chiefs), 13- Richard Buckman (Hurricanes), 12- Hadleigh Parkes (Blues), 11- David Raikuna (Blues), 10- Lachie Munro (Blues), 9- Brendon Leonard (Chiefs), 8-Brad Shields, 7-Luke Braid (Blues - capt), 6- Faifili Levave (Hurricanes), 5- Filo Paulo (Blues), 4- James Broadhurst (Hurricanes), 3- Toby Smith (Chiefs), 2- Dane Coles (Hurricanes), 1- Josh Hohneck (Chiefs)
Reserves: 16-Tom McCartney (Blues), 17-Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes) 18-Fritz Lee (Chiefs) 19-Scott Waldrom (Chiefs) 20-Frae Wilson (Hurricanes) 21-James Marshall (Hurricanes), 22-Sherwin Stowers (Blues).
South Island: 15- Kurt Baker (Highlanders), 14- Buxton Popoali'i (Highlanders), 13- Kade Poki (Highlanders), 12- Kendrick Lynn (Highlanders), 11- Adam Whitelock (Crusaders), 10- Tom Marshall (Crusaders), 8- Luke Whitelock (Crusaders), 7- Matt Todd (Crusaders), 6- Scott Fuglistaller (Highlanders), 5- Tom Donnelly (Crusaders), 4- Jarrad Hoeata (Highlanders), 3- Chris King (Highlanders), 2- Jason Rutledge (Highlanders - Capt), 1- Jamie Mackintosh (Highlanders).
Reserves: 16-Ma'afu Fia (Highlanders), 17-Quentin MacDonald (Crusaders), 18-Culum Retallick (Highlanders), 19-Tim Boys (Highlanders), 20-Willi Heinz (Crusaders), 21-Glenn Dickson (Highlanders), 22-Patrick Osborne (Crusaders).