A feast of fan activity was today unveiled by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and Auckland City Mayor Len Brown to celebrate the Bledisloe Cup Test on Saturday 25 August when the All Blacks take on Australia for the first time in New Zealand since last year's Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011) semifinal.
"This is going to be a weekend to remember," said NZRU General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen.
"We've been working with Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development and Waterfront Auckland to ensure fans can celebrate with gusto our great rivalry with Australia on Test day. We are also using the Test to underline our support for Cure Kids, the All Blacks' Official Charity Partner, and in particular their Red Nose Day fundraising appeal."
The activities planned include:
• "Fanzone to Cure Kids." The Fanzone will open at the Cloud from 2pm-6pm featuring a range of family friendly activities, entertainment and guest appearances. The NZRU will also have trophies on display and will be encouraging Aucklanders to do their bit for Cure Kids.
• Fan Trail. Starting at Auckland's waterfront on Queen Elizabeth Square, the trail will follow the same 4.3km route as RWC 2011 with a range of special entertainment planned from 4pm onwards.
• Eden Park New Zealand Red Nose challenge. Cure Kids and the All Blacks are encouraging fans attending the Test to don red noses. These will be placed in each of the 48,000 seats and a special appeal will be made at half-time for all fans to wear their red noses to send a message of support to cure kids.
"This is a fantastic package of activities to support the important work of our charity and to also help rekindle some of the magic of the Rugby World Cup," said Sorensen.
Mayor Len Brown says the Fan Trail became one of Auckland's "must do" activities during RWC 2011 and he is delighted to see it reactivated for the Bledisloe Cup.
"If you walked the Fan Trail during RWC 2011, you will want to do it again. If you didn't, this is your chance to see why the fans couldn't get enough of it."
Len Brown said 25 August would be a very special day for Auckland with a Cure Kids Bledisloe Cup Fanzone at the Cloud followed by the Bledisloe Cup Fan Trail and a stadium filled with red-nosed fans watching the All Blacks take on Australia in the city's biggest sporting event of the year.
Eden Park is tracking towards a sell-out crowd with more than 46,500 tickets already sold. The Auckland Test is the second of three Bledisloe Cup Test matches with the All Blacks in Sydney the week before and the third Test in Brisbane on 20 October.
Cure Kids CEO Vicki Lee said: "There's a great chance we will have a full house of 48,000 fans and if they all don red noses at half time, what a wonderful show of support that would be for Cure Kids and our children battling life threatening diseases."
All Blacks Investec Rugby Championship match schedule
1. Australia (ANZ Stadium, Sydney, 8.00PM, Saturday 18 August)
2. Australia (Eden Park, Auckland, 7.35PM, Saturday 25 August). Get your tickets from ticketmaster - 0800 111 999
3. Argentina (Westpac Stadium, Wellington, 7.35PM, Saturday 8 September). Get your tickets from ticketek- 0800 842 538
4. South Africa (Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, 7.35PM, Saturday 15 September). Get your tickets from ticketdirect - 0800 224 224.
5. Argentina (Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata, 8.10PM, Saturday 29 September)
6. South Africa (FNB Stadium 'Soccer City', Johannesburg, 5.00PM, Saturday 6 October)