All Blacks eye RWC replay
Fri, 02 Nov 2012 06:45
The All Blacks kick off their 2013 home schedule with a rerun of last year's World Cup final as they host France at the same venue in June.
Unveiling their fixture for the new year, New Zealand revealed they will face last year's runners up in a three-match Test series, starting on June 8 at Auckland's Eden Park, then in Christchurch on June 15 and New Plymouth a week later.
The All Blacks then play Australia in Wellington (August 24), Argentina in Hamilton (September 7) and South Africa in Auckland (September 14) to defend the Rugby Championship they won this year.
They end the home season with a Bledisloe Cup tie against Australia in Dunedin on October 19.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said the mercurial French promised to provide a stern challenge for the All Blacks as they seek to avenge last year's 8-7 defeat.
"I am sure fans will be especially excited about France returning to Eden Park on June 8 for their first match-up with the All Blacks since that pulsating encounter ... last October," he said.
Tew said it was the first time New Zealand had hosted seven home Tests since 2008, and added that each of the remaining four matches would be events to look forward to.
"The Argentinians are coming to Waikato for the first time since 2004 and I know rugby fans from around that region will be outstanding hosts for our South American visitors.
"Bledisloe Cup Tests are always very special and both Wellington and Dunedin get their chance to host our trans-Tasman rivals. Australia returns to Wellington for the first time since 35,000 fans saw the All Blacks beat the Wallabies 33-6 in 2009. Westpac Stadium is a wonderful arena for rugby so we are hoping for another bumper crowd to fill the stadium next August.
"I know Dunedin will also be looking to build on the success of the South Africa Test this year when they host the All Blacks for the second time at the magnificent Forsyth Barr Stadium for the third Bledisloe Cup Test," he added.
2013 All Blacks domestic Test fixtures:
v France, Eden Park, Auckland, 8 June
v France, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, 15 June
v France, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth, 22 June
v Australia, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, 24 August
v Argentina, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, 7 September
v South Africa, Eden Park, Auckland, 14 September
v Australia, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, 19 October
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