All Blacks to play Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium

All Blacks v Tonga, Hamilton 2019 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The All Blacks will play at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland for the first time when they host Tonga in July.

New Zealand Rugby has confirmed the dates and venues for the Tests against Tonga and Fiji.

Italy were originally scheduled to tour here, but cancelled due to concerns around travelling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The All Blacks will play Tonga at the Warriors home ground on July 3rd, the following Saturday they’ll play Fiji in Dunedin and then a week later they’ll meet Fiji again in Hamilton.

There are two double-headers with Mt Smart also hosting the Maori All Blacks against Manu Samoa, while Waikato Stadium will also host the World Cup qualifier between Tonga and Samoa.

It will be the first time the All Blacks have played back-to-back Tests against Fiji.

The All Blacks have played Fiji nine times before, but not since 2011 in what was the final Test match at Carisbrook in Dunedin. The first match against Fiji was in Suva in 1974, with the All Blacks pipping the home side that day 14-13.

New Zealand Rugby NZR CEO Mark Robinson said: “We know the passionate All Blacks and Māori All Blacks fans, together with the fanatical Pasifika fans, will make these game days very special occasions.”

Fiji Rugby Chief Executive John O’Connor said: “We would like to thank New Zealand Rugby and World Rugby for their support in giving us this great opportunity for our players and, likewise, our coaching panel.

He added that, despite Fiji facing a second wave of COVID-19, Flying Fijians Head Coach Vern Cotter was trying everything possible to assemble the best Fijian team to take on the All Blacks, after a lapse of ten years.

Tonga Rugby Union CEO Peter Harding said: “The Tonga Rugby Union is proud to be presented with the opportunity to play the All Blacks. The connection between the two countries is very strong and this connection is amplified through rugby.”

The All Blacks last played Tonga in Hamilton in 2019 ahead of the Rugby World Cup and have played ‘Ikale Tahi six times.

Meanwhile, Manu Samoa will also play a second RWC 2023 Qualifying match against Tonga, with further details on that match to be confirmed at a later date.

The All Blacks schedule for The Rugby Championship, as well as an additional Bledisloe Cup Test, will be announced in due course, with Eden Park and Wellington’s SKY Stadium expected to host a number of games.

All Blacks vs Tonga, Saturday 3 July, 7.05PM, plus Māori All Blacks vs Manu Samoa (kick-off TBC), Mt Smart Stadium, AUCKLAND

All Blacks vs Fiji, Saturday 10 July, 7.05PM, Forsyth Barr Stadium, DUNEDIN

All Blacks vs Fiji, Saturday 17 July, 7.05PM, plus Tonga vs Samoa (kick-off TBC), FMG Stadium Waikato, HAMILTON

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