Nelson will host its first All Blacks Test match as Argentina’s Pumas and Rugby Championship rugby are set to descend on the land of the Tasman Makos in September next year.
New Zealand Rugby has today announced that Nelson will be one of four cities to host All Blacks Test matches in 2018; with six tests held across the Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship.
Eden Park in Auckland and Westpac Stadium in Wellington will each host two tests while Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin has the final test of the Steinlager Series in June.
“We’re excited that the people of Nelson will be able to experience All Black rugby on their patch. 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,” said NZR Chief Strategy and Operations officer Nigel Cass.
Trafalgar Park hosted three matches in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Eden Park will host the opening domestic Tests of both series, with France returning for the first time in five years. France was the last team to defeat the All Blacks at Eden Park in 1994. The second Bledisloe encounter will also play out in Auckland.
Westpac Stadium plays host to the second Steinlager Series match against France and South Africa in September.
“The All Blacks have a rich history against the French and we are looking forward to them returning. Fans will remember the nail-biting Rugby World Cup final in 2011 and we will expect more of that excitement in 2018.”
Hamilton misses out of an All Blacks for a second straight year, as does Christchurch.
Canterbury Rugby confirmed AMI Stadium won’t host an All Blacks test for the next two seasons, in a statement saying the city misses out in both 2018 and 2019.
Earlier this year, Nelson Weekly urged New Zealand Rugby to consider an All Blacks test match. That column is here.
Story by NZ Herald.