All Blacks line up 'tough' venue for Bok showdown
NEWS: South Africa will have to break an eight-decade-long drought when they face New Zealand in the Rugby Championship this year.
The All Blacks will play two Tests on home turf this year – against South Africa in Auckland and Australia in Dunedin.
The Springboks have not won in Auckland since 1937 and an 18-all draw against the All Blacks at Eden Park in 1994 is the closest they came since.
However, the Rugby Championship fixture on Saturday, July 15, is scheduled to take place at another Auckland venue – Mt Smart Stadium.
Mount Smart Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, about 10 kilometres south of the Auckland city centre, in the suburb of Penrose.
It is the main home ground of the New Zealand Warriors National Rugby League team.
It is built within the quarried remnants of the Rarotonga/Mount Smart volcanic cone.
The New Zealand Rugby Union also revealed Bledisloe Cup returns to Dunedin for the first time since 2017, in a rare afternoon home Test match (14.35 kick-off) for the All Blacks at the Otago Stadium on 5 August.
“The Rugby Championship is an exciting, but tough draw,” All Blacks coach Ian Foster said.
“Playing the Argentinians in Argentina is an exciting challenge after not being there since 2019.
“With the challenges of stadium availability in Australasia, we are delighted to play this huge South African Test at Mt Smart.
“We believe it’s key for the connection with our fans to have this massive game in our backyard and can’t wait.
“The Dunedin Test is also equally important for us because it’s our last chance to play in front of our fans before we head off for an exciting World Cup.”
The two home Tests will be part of a 2023 schedule which will see the All Blacks play five Tests in the build-up to the World Cup in France in September.
New Zealand Rugby Head of Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum said it was important to the All Blacks to be able to play in Aotearoa in a World Cup year.
“Although there is a shortened Rugby Championship schedule, there will no doubt be an edge to the Test matches played this year,” Lendrum said.
“The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup remain vitally important to New Zealand Rugby, I know Foz [Foster] and the team are looking forward to the season kicking off as they continue to build ahead of the World Cup in September.”
All Blacks 2023 Test Schedule
* v Argentina, Saturday, July 8, Estadio Malvinas Argentina, MENDOZA
* v South Africa, Saturday, July 15, 19.05 (09.05 SA time), Mt Smart Stadium, AUCKLAND
* v Australia, July 29, location and time TBC (Bledisloe Cup match one)
Bledisloe Cup (match two)
* v Australia, Saturday, August 5, 14.35PM, Otago Stadium, DUNEDIN
* v South Africa, Friday, August 25, 19.30, Twickenham Stadium, LONDON (21.30 SA time; 07.30, Saturday, August 26 BZ time)