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20 Feb 2018 16:56
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby

    Nelson to host All Blacks Test

    Nelson will host the All Blacks Test against Argentina next year, while Christchurch has been shut out of the home international schedule.


    Nelson will become the eighth New Zealand city to host an All Blacks Test following its inclusion on the international schedule for 2018.

    Argentina will face the All Blacks at Trafalgar Park in a Rugby Championship Test on September 8.

    The Test bisects Rugby Championship clashes in Auckland (versus Australia) and Wellington (South Africa).

    Auckland and Wellington will also host the first two Tests against France in June, with Dunedin staging the third.

    Christchurch and Hamilton haven't been given a Test, sparking disappointment from rugby officials there.

    Both cities hosted non-Test matches during this year's tour by the British and Irish Lions while Hamilton is the venue for next year's world series sevens tournament.

    It means Christchurch will have hosted just four tests in the eight years since the 2011 earthquake crippled Lancaster Park.

    Nelson, the venue for three pool games at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, joins Hamilton, Napier and New Plymouth as cities to host All Blacks Tests in the professional era.

    Before 1996, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin had a mortgage on such Tests.

    New Zealand Rugby chief strategy and operations officer Nigel Cass said Nelson has proven it has the ability to stage a major event.

    "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," he said.

    Nelson's bid, underwritten by Nelson City Council and private investors, will mean expanding Trafalgar Park's seating capacity from 7000 to 21,000.

    Canterbury Rugby Union chief executive Nathan Godfrey said Christchurch's omission underlines the need for the city to build a new stadium.

    AMI Stadium, which has hosted four Tests and is home to the Super Rugby Champion Crusaders, was always regarded as a temporary solution.

    "This is disappointing news for Canterbury rugby fans," Godfrey said.

    "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."

    The initial stage of a feasibility study is being conducted into the construction of a new stadium.

    The option preferred by both the Christchurch City Council and central government would have a roof and hold 25,000 seats with capacity to add 5000 for big events. That option has been costed at $496 million.

    ALL BLACKS 2018 HOME SCHEDULE:

    June 9 - v France, Auckland.

    June 16 - v France, Wellington.

    June 23 - v France, Dunedin.

    Aug 25 - v Australia, Auckland.

    Sept 8 - v Argentina, Nelson.

    Sept 15 - v South Africa, Wellington.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity


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