All Blacks to start 2013 test season vs France

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 15:40 02/11/2012
France STR
JOHN SELKIRK/Fairfax NZ
REMATCH: France pushed the All Blacks to their limits during the RWC 2011 final.

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France will return to the scene of last year's dramatic World Cup final when they play the All Blacks at Eden Park to open New Zealand's 2013 test season.

The New Zealand Rugby Union released the dates for the seven tests to be played at home next year.

It's the first time New Zealand have played seven tests at home since 2008.

The French will tour in June for a three-test series.

They will play the All Blacks in Auckland on June 8, Christchurch a week later and New Plymouth on June 22.

Wellington gets a taste of Bledisloe Cup action with a Rugby Championship fixture there on August 24.

New Zealand host two of the three Bledisloe Cup tests next year, with the other being played in Dunedin on October 19.

Hamilton will host the Pumas on September 7 and Eden Park gets a second test with the Springboks playing there on September 14.

"I am sure fans will be especially excited about France returning to Eden Park for their first match-up with the All Blacks since that pulsating encounter there last October," NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said.

"It's also very pleasing to bring France to New Plymouth where the city did such a great job of hosting Rugby World Cup 2011 matches and Ireland in 2010."

"Christchurch proved its ability to host a test match this season at the new temporary home of rugby in Addington and we look forward to returning there again next year."

"Bledisloe Cup tests are always very special and both Wellington and Dunedin get their chance to host our trans-Tasman rivals."

2013 All Blacks domestic test matches schedule:

Date

Visiting team

Venue

8 June

France

Eden Park, Auckland

15 June

France

AMI Stadium, Christchurch

22 June

France

Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth

24 August

Australia

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

7 September

Argentina

Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

14 September

South Africa

Eden Park, Auckland

19 October

Australia

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Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

- Fairfax Media

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