Canterbury disappointed with NZRU
NEWS: The New Zealand Rugby Union have announced the venues for All Blacks Test matches, however, there is no Christchurch fixture.
Instead, Nelson will host their first Test match when Argentina’s Pumas and Rugby Championship (IRC) rugby are set to descend on the land of the Tasman Makos in September next year.
Eden Park in Auckland and Westpac Stadium in Wellington will each host two Tests while Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin has the final Test of the Series in June.
"We’re excited that the people of Nelson will be able to experience All Black rugby on their patch. They proved during the 2011 Rugby World Cup that they are capable of hosting world class events and this will certainly be a highlight on the calendar," said NZR Chief Strategy and Operations officer Nigel Cass.
Eden Park will host the opening domestic Tests of both series, with France returning for the first time in five years. France was the last team to defeat the All Blacks at Eden Park in 1994. The second Bledisloe encounter will also play out in Auckland.
Westpac Stadium plays host to the second Series match against France and South Africa in September.
"The All Blacks have a rich history of the French and we are looking forward to them returning. Fans will remember the nail-biting Rugby World Cup final in 2011 and we will expect more of that excitement in 2018," Cass said.
Despite the NZRU excitement with their Test venues, the people from Christchurch could not be more disappointed.
"This is disappointing news for Canterbury rugby fans. We understand that there are clear criteria for awarding All Black games, we need to accept that we no longer meet that criteria with the current facilities and infrastructure – that is just the reality we now face," said Canterbury Rugby CEO Nathan Godfrey.
The CRFU worked closely with Christchurch NZ and the Council to pull together a package that could win an All Black Test Match.
"Of course, we expect that our fans will be disappointed but we also feel for the local businesses that benefit from major events.
The Canterbury Union realize the news just confirmed that the city will need a world-class venue to attract international entertainment and major sports events, like the All Blacks.
"The economic benefits are well documented. This is not about rugby; we are only a part of the conversation. This is a complex process and there is much to consider, and much to balance, and we understand that.
"We want to keep having conversations about how the whole of the city, the region and the country would benefit from a world-class multi-purpose arena in Christchurch.
"The bid for test matches was a team effort between the Christchurch City Council, Christchurch NZ, and the Canterbury Rugby Union, and I would like to acknowledge the significant efforts from everyone. I also appreciate the commitment from each of these parties to continue working together to put this city in the best possible position for future opportunities," he added.