France to return to New Zealand
November 2, 2012
The All Blacks grabbed the World Cup with a nerve-jangling win over France last October © Getty Images
France will return to New Zealand for a three-Test series next June for the first time since their epic Rugby World Cup final defeat last year.
The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) have unveiled their 2013 home Tests with the All Blacks hosting France in Auckland, Christchurch and New Plymouth in the Steinlager Series.
New Zealand's schedule includes seven matches at home in a season for the first time since 2008 with Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland hosting the 2013 Investec Rugby Championship Test matches and Dunedin rounding out the international season at home with the third Bledisloe Cup Test match.
"We are thrilled to be hosting France once again, a team which always provides fans with a great rugby spectacle and a stern challenge for the All Blacks as we well know," said NZRU chief executive Steve Tew.
"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 at Eden Park last October. It's also very pleasing to bring France to New Plymouth where the city did such a great job of hosting Rugby World Cup 2011 matches and Ireland in 2010.
"Christchurch proved its ability to host a Test match this season at the new temporary home of rugby in Addington and we look forward to returning there again next year. 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."
2013 All Blacks home schedule:
June 8, New Zealand v France, Eden Park, Auckland
June 15, New Zealand v France, AMI (Addington) Stadium, Christchurch
June 22, New Zealand v France, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
August 24, New Zealand v Australia, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
September 7, New Zealand v Argentina, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
September 14, New Zealand v South Africa, Eden Park, Auckland
October 19, New Zealand v Australia, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures