New Zealand Rugby (NZR) have announced that Wellington’s Westpac Stadium will host South Africa in a condensed Rugby Championship (due to Rugby World Cup) in 2019, while Auckland will host the Laurie O’Reilly Trophy and Bledisloe Cup in a return of the double header Test match rugby event at Eden Park on 17 August 2019.
The Wellington Test will effectively be a dress rehearsal of the All Blacks vs Springboks Rugby much-anticipated opening pool match of Rugby World Cup in Japan in September. It will be the only chance the two teams get to size each other up ahead of Rugby World Cup.
NZR chief executive Steve Tew said the double header was an ideal way to celebrate trans-Tasman rugby, and to showcase both teams and the trophies for which they played.
“The Black Ferns love the trans Tasman rivalry, and they love playing in front of a home crowd,” he told the All Blacks’ official website.
“Next year’s Eden Park double header will be the second of two double headers – with the first to be played in Western Australia’s 60,000-seat Perth Stadium in Burswood on 10 August.
“For our All Blacks fans, these matches will be a special opportunity to look at the All Blacks before next year’s Rugby World Cup.”
Wellington Rugby acting chief executive Matt Evans said the union was excited to host such an important Test match in such an important year.
“It’s fantastic for the whole Wellington region that All Blacks fans will still get to experience Test match rugby at Westpac Stadium in a reduced Rugby Championship schedule,” he said.
“It also gives fans a great opportunity to see the defending World Champions first hand before they head to Japan. As this year’s enthralling Rugby Championship Test in Wellington demonstrated, South Africa are a fantastic opponent.”
Auckland Rugby CEO Jarrod Bear was also looking forward to having the All Blacks and the Black Ferns in town in 2019.
“Leading into the RWC2019 and with only a few opportunities to see the All Blacks in action next year, Auckland Rugby is excited to be partnering with Eden Park Trust to deliver rugby fans the opportunity to experience the world champion All Blacks and world champion Black Ferns playing Australia,” he said.
The international calendar will see the Super Rugby competition run uninterrupted through to July, with the June International window removed for 2019.
All Blacks vs South Africa live : Westpac Stadium – Wellington, 27 July 2019
Black Ferns v Australia: Eden Park – Auckland, 17 August 2019
All Blacks v Australia: Eden Park – Auckland, 17 August 2019