Waikato Stadium gets All Blacks v England test

EVAN PEGDEN
Last updated 08:57 03/12/2013

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Waikato Stadium will will bump up seating capacity next year when it hosts what could be a rugby test series decider between the All Blacks and England.

Hamilton has been allocated the third test of a three-test June series against the tourists on Saturday, June 21.

That will follow rugby tests between the two sides at Eden Park on June 7 and in Dunedin on June 14, as well as a midweek match between England and the Crusaders in Christchurch on June 17.

The All Blacks were pushed hard by England just over a fortnight ago in London before winning 30-22 and next year's series here is expected to be highly competitive.

Waikato Rugby Union chief executive Graham Bowen said the union had decided to add an extra 3000 temporary seats to the stadium for the England test, taking the capacity up to 28,500.

It would be the first time extra seating had been installed for a test there since the 2011 Rugby Championship fixture between New Zealand and South Africa.

"That's instead of the 5000 [temporary] seats we've done in the past as they will be easier to put in with no road closure needed," Mr Bowen said.

A five-year resource consent was still current but the union still had to meet the conditions and it was a lot easier if the extra seating could be contained within the stadium itself and did not spill out into Tristram St.

He expected the test match would sell out and provide an important part of the union's untagged funding, as well as funding for the Hamilton City Council.

"This is the third year in a row we've hosted a test match and, with the 2015 World Cup, we're unlikely to get one that year, so it was important we got this one.

"I think it's great we've got the third test as there could be a lot riding on it," he said.

The Waikato union is paid a match fee by the New Zealand Rugby Union for running the test, while the city council takes a cut of the gate takings, which otherwise go to the national body.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said he expected Waikato fans to turn out in big numbers "backing black" after a successful Rugby Championship test against Argentina here in September.

"The final of the Junior World Championship 2014 is also the night before at Eden Park so fans in the Auckland Waikato regions are in for an action-packed weekend of top rugby," he said.

AT A GLANCE

All Blacks v England

June 7 – Eden Park, Auckland.

June 14 – Dunedin Stadium. June 21 – Waikato Stadium.

(England v Crusaders, June 17, Addington Stadium, Christchurch).

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Rugby Championship home games

NZ v Australia, Eden Park, August 23.

NZ v Argentina, McLean Park, Napier, September 6.

NZ v South Africa, Wellington Stadium, September 13. 

- © Fairfax NZ News

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