If you can’t beat ’em — and 31 defeats in a row suggest Wales very definitely can’t beat New Zealand — then perhaps the advice might be to join ’em.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster is using a North v South match next month as a trial ahead of his impending squad selection.

Might Wayne Pivac benefit from something similar in Welsh rugby?

Call it an East v West encounter. In effect the best from Cardiff Blues and the Dragons versus the best of the Ospreys and Scarlets combined.

Might it offer young players such as Rhys Carre and Josh Macleod opportunities to prove a point? Could Samson Lee find such an affair a help in relaunching his career?

One such game took place in Welsh rugby back in the day, with East Wales and West Wales drawing 21-21 at the Arms Park in 1992, though it didn’t go under the banner of a trial, more an effort to belatedly drag Welsh rugby into the 20th century and whip up some interest at a time when the national team had lost their way.

Whatever, these are how two Wales-qualified sides might look if Welsh rugby went down a similar road today.

With a lack of game time for his players, Pivac would certainly find a match like this hugely beneficial as he works out his own squad for the autumn - and there would be some mouthwatering match-ups…

15. Hallam Amos (East) v Leigh Halfpenny (West)

A major contrast in styles here, with the adventurous Amos against the ultra-reliable Halfpenny.

Amos has won 22 caps but there’s a sense that Welsh rugby hasn’t seen the best of him, especially in national colours. The Cardiff Blue would see an East v West game as the chance to prove a point and remind Pivac what he can do.

It’s going to be a big season for Halfpenny as he looks to come from behind and challenge for a Lions spot. Not everyone has fully appreciated the Scarlet over the years, but his accurate goal-kicking, deep reserves of courage and ability to read play make up a package that few coaches would pass over lightly.

Nods also to Matthew Morgan and Dan Evans, two players who could easily have fitted in here.

14. Owen Lane v Liam Williams

The right-wing vote in the East XV goes to Lane ahead of Dragons newcomer Jonah Holmes, though there’s nothing in it. But it would be good to see the big Cardiff Blues youngster operating on such a stage. He’s hard to stop and knows where the try line is. Does he need to tighten his defence? It wouldn’t hurt to do so.

Williams hasn’t played since the World Cup but is a quality performer with a lot of experience. Is he a better full-back than wing? Can he and Halfpenny be accommodated in the same team? Those are questions for Pivac.

A trial match like this might provide some answers.

13. Nick Tompkins v Jonathan Davies

The asterisk here is over the name of Davies, as we don’t know when he’ll be fit. But let’s assume he’s on his way back and could be available if this encounter were played in early autumn. He’s had nine months out, but remains the best centre in Wales by some distance.

It would be interesting to see him opposed by the ball of fire that is Tompkins, mind. The Dragons’ newly acquired loan signing from Saracens has a work ethic to rival the best. Not only does he challenge defences, he also turns opposition ball over and attempts many tackles, even if he has been known to miss the odd one.

12. Willis Halaholo v Owen Watkin

Again, Halaholo is making his way back after injury but the quickstepping Cardiff Blue has attacking skills to spare and could well be looked at closely by Pivac in the new season.

He flagged up what he described as racist criticism from some quarters on social media of his selection in Wales’ squad to face the Barbarians last year. He was right to do so.

He qualifies for Wales under the same rules that saw Johnny McNicholl and Hadleigh Parkes qualify. Those who question his involvement with Wales need to explain why he should be treated differently from McNicholl and Parkes.

Matching him against the defensively sound and reliable Watkin would be intriguing.

Nobody can knock the 22 caps Watkin has won to date. It’s a fine effort for a player who’s still only 23. But there’s a suspicion that the powerful Osprey needs to kick on. Plenty who have worked with him say he has the game and outlook to do so.

11. Josh Adams v George North

A great match-up here.

Inconsistency has been an issue for North at Test level, but when he’s at it he’s still one of the most dangerous wings in British and Irish rugby. Happily, he finished the pre-lockdown stage of the Six Nations with a fine display against England, appearing determined to impose himself. If he makes that his default setting in 2020-21, he’ll be there or thereabouts for a Lions spot in South Africa next summer.

Adams is looking a strong bet for that trip even at this stage. But he’ll know he has to maintain his form with Wales.

10. Jarrod Evans v Rhys Patchell

Evans is Welsh rugby’s most exciting No. 10, a player who can create space for himself and others. In a less pragmatic era, countless bandwagons would be rolling for him to start as Wales’ fly-half.

There’s little to suggest Gareth Anscombe will be playing rugby in early autumn, so let’s throw the shirt to Rhys Patchell. He’s had a few bumps too many in recent years and his defence has been questioned, but when he’s on his game he’s a quality player.

9. Tomos Williams v Gareth Davies

Gareth Davies (left) and Tomos Williams

Once again, there’s no room in the starting line-up for two excellent players. Rhodri Williams and Rhys Webb could start and the expectation would be that each would perform strongly.

Davies and Webb are separated by the thickness of a cigarette paper for the West XV. Indeed, if Webb were named few could argue. But maybe there’s a perception that he still has a bit to prove after his stint in France.

Tomos Williams is seen by some as a potential Test starter for the Lions.

His challenge will be to achieve consistency and eliminate the odd error from his game.

1. Rhys Carre v Wyn Jones

Carre is young and props tend to take time to earn their spurs, even in the modern game. But the youngster who’s just returned home from Saracens is a player with massive potential.

There’s little between Jones, Rob Evans and Nicky Smith. All have admirable plus points.

Maybe Jones’ strong effort during the World Cup, when Wales’ scrum largely held up, just swings things his way. Nor is he exactly shabby in the loose.

2. Elliot Dee v Ken Owens

Dee would relish the chance to put one over Wales’ long-standing incumbent in the No. 2 position. The Dragon could be forgiven for thinking he’s served his apprenticeship; it’s time to get on with the job properly at Test level.

His problem is that Owens is still the standout hooker in Wales by a fair distance.

3. Dillon Lewis v Samson Lee

Two tight-heads with so much to offer in their different ways.

Lewis is a force around the field and especially over the ball. For a coach he can be like an extra back rower. But a question remains over his ability to anchor the scrum at the very highest level. It’s key and much the same goes for Leon Brown.

Injuries have hammered Lee and prevented him from becoming the player he promised to be. But he’s only 27. There’s still time, injuries permitting.

4. Cory Hill v Jake Ball

The competition is hot at No. 4 in the Wales team with Hill, Ball, Adam Beard and Will Rowlands all in contention.

Beard slipped back during the Six Nations but is young enough to rally.

Ball had a good World Cup, impressing with his ferocious clear-outs and powerful tackling. Hill is a leader, a player who grafts hard and can make a big impact around the field. Horses for courses? That sounds about right.

5. Josh Turnbull v Alun Wyn Jones

Joe Maksymiw or Seb Davies could fit in for the East here, but the vote goes to Josh Turnbull, a non-stop trier who wins turnovers and never gives less than his best.

Alun Wyn Jones on trial? Coming soon: Roger Federer forced to justify himself in the tennis.

Jones being Jones, he’d doubtless embrace the idea as if it were the last game of rugby he’d play. The old warrior knows no other way.

6. Aaron Wainwright v Aaron Shingler

How good would it be to turn the spotlight on this pair?

Wainwright fell behind during the Six Nations after a strong World Cup.

But he’s young and would probably welcome any opportunity to put himself back in contention.

At 32, Shingler is at the other end of the spectrum, but he’s one of the fittest players in the game and will feel he still has much to offer.

7. Josh Navidi v Justin Tipuric

Josh Navidi is set to start for Wales
Josh Navidi and Justin Tipuric

Two back-rowers who can be called top class without any danger of overegging the pudding.

Navidi has played a lot at blindside and No. 8 but wherever he features he’s an absolute menace to opponents with his selflessness, bravery and technique at the breakdown.

He and Tipuric are cut from the same cloth in that they shun the limelight and are happiest when giving everything for the team.

You’d want them each in the Wales starting line-up.

8. Ross Moriarty v Josh Macleod

Moriarty plays on the edge and it’s never a bad thing for a team to have at least one player of his ilk. He’s hard-nosed and uncompromising, but he also has skills that are underrated: recall his subtle pass in the build-up to a Hallam Amos try in the second Test against Argentina in 2018.

A centre would have happily signed off such a flick.

There is a shortage of Wales qualified No. 8s in the west right now. Gareth Evans is an option and so is emerging youngster Jac Morgan, but let’s opt for Josh Macleod, who played in the position back in the day.

Playing at openside, the Scarlet has had a superb season so far. If anyone deserves a chance to advance his case on a bigger stage, it’s the Pembrokeshire-raised turnover king. Sooner or later, Wayne Pivac will have to check him out.