All Blacks to play seven domestic Tests in 2013

Getty Images     03 Nov 2012     Getty Images

- Dunedin to host third Bledisloe Cup Test

France are returning to take on the All Blacks for the first time since the epic Rugby World Cup Final when they play three Tests next June in the Steinlager Series.

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) today unveiled the full schedule of inbound Tests for 2013, which includes seven Tests in a season for the first time since 2008.

Auckland, Christchurch and New Plymouth will host the three Steinlager Series Test matches. Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland will host the 2013 Investec Rugby Championship Test matches with 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 8 June 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 domestic Test matches schedule

Date Visiting team Venue
8 June, France, Eden Park, Auckland
15 June, France, AMI (Addington) Stadium, Christchurch
22 June, France, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
24 August, Australia, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
7 September, Argentina, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
14 September, South Africa, Eden Park, Auckland
19 October, Australia, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin