Ricoh Wellington Lions and Canterbury XV to play training matches v All Blacks

Getty Images     24 Jul 2013     Getty Images

Three 40 minute matches will be played at Lower Hutt's Hutt Recreation Ground on Friday 9 August and follow the format of last year's successful All Blacks training matches against Counties Manukau and Auckland in Pukekohe.

The Ricoh Wellington Lions will play the "Cantabrians" at 4.00PM, the All Blacks squad will then take on the Cantabrians at 4.50PM and the Ricoh Wellington Lions will then play the All Blacks in the third game at 5.45PM.

The matches are being hosted by the Wellington RFU and Chris Boyd, Head Coach of the Ricoh Wellington Lions, said: "We are very excited about hosting this unique match. It will be six days before we begin the ITM Cup so provides a real test of our systems and combinations against the best in the world. It is a fantastic opportunity for our home-grown players, many straight from our club rugby competition, to see what it takes to reach the next level."

The opening round of the ITM Cup will kick off the following week, with Wellington taking on Counties Manukau and Canterbury playing Taranaki.

Canterbury ITM Cup Head Coach Scott Robertson said their team was looking forward to the training matches.

“It is a unique opportunity for the Canterbury boys to play the All Blacks and we’re extremely excited about it. For our players to play the ultimate team is fantastic for our preparation for the upcoming ITM Cup season.”

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Last year’s hit out against Counties Manukau and Auckland was great for our preparations for the first Test of the Championship, so it’s great we are able to do the same this year with Wellington and Canterbury.”

The All Blacks will be in Wellington to prepare for the Bledisloe Cup and opening Investec Rugby Championship Test against Australia in Sydney on Saturday 17 August. The team will base themselves in Wellington before flying to Sydney on the Thursday before the Test and return to Wellington on Sunday to prepare for the return Bledisloe Cup Test at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium the following Saturday, 24 August.

Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace said he looked forward to welcoming the teams to the city.
“The Hutt Rec proved it could match the best grounds in the country during the Rugby World Cup and this is another fantastic opportunity to showcase this first-class sports ground.

“It’s also a wonderful occasion for the young people of our city to meet their sporting heroes. The opportunity to meet the rugby stars of today could be just the inspiration our budding players need to make their rugby dreams come true and continue our city’s proud history of sporting achievements.”

Tickets for the match go on sale via Ticketek from 9am on Wednesday 24 July and fans should note that, due to capacity, only 6,000 tickets are available. General admission tickets will be $10. Children aged 14 and under are free. Every adult will be entitled to up to two free children’s tickets, with a paying adult.

Tickets are available:
• Online through Ticketek
• Ticketek outlets including Paper Plus, Lower Hutt
• Professionals Real Estate Office, 10 Wainuiomata Road
• Hutt City i-SITE, Lower Hutt

Please note ticketing fees apply at Ticketek outlets and online.