- England face All Blacks in Auckland, Dunedin and Hamilton on June 7, 14 and 21
- Lancaster to take up to 40 players with mid-week game against Crusaders
Photo: Getty Images
England will visit New Zealand in June 2014 for a three-Test series against the world champions, with an additional midweek fixture against the Crusaders.
Stuart Lancaster’s side will face the All Blacks in Auckland on June 7, Dunedin on June 14 and Hamilton on June 21, with the match against the Super 15 franchise in Christchurch played between the second and third Tests on Tuesday, June 17.
The games will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 3D, with kick-off times to be confirmed at a later date.
Steve Hansen’s team defeated England 30-22 in an enthralling encounter at Twickenham Stadium on November 16 – England’s only loss of the 2013 QBE Internationals – and head coach Lancaster is relishing the opportunity to take on "the ultimate test" in the final tour before Rugby World Cup 2015.
“To play the world champions in their own back yard is the ultimate test,” he said. “We saw in the Rugby Championship and the QBE Internationals what a formidable team and rugby nation New Zealand is.”
Lancaster will continue his policy of taking an extended group of up to 40 players, with the aim to expose as many individuals as possible to the England touring environment as the journey to the world cup gathers pace.
He added: “This is our final tour before the world cup and it is massively important for us to benchmark ourselves against the number one team in the world. Playing three Tests and a midweek match will give us the opportunity to take 35 to 40 players who will get a chance to lay down a marker 15 months out from the tournament.”
Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand became the only team in history to complete a calendar year with a 100 per cent winning record after the last-gasp victory over Ireland in Dublin made it 14 it wins from 14 games in 2013.
Their last defeat – a solitary loss in 35 Tests – was the record 38-21 reverse to England 12 months ago and New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew is excited to host a formidable northern hemisphere opponent.
He said: “We are very excited to be hosting England next year. England have proven in their recent matches with the All Blacks just how tough an opponent they are so we hope this series will be a huge draw card for fans.
“It’s great to be taking England to Dunedin. I am sure they have plenty of fond memories from their time there during Rugby World Cup where they played three matches. England and Argentina also had the privilege of being the first nations to enjoy the excellent facilities of Forsyth Barr Stadium during the opening weekend of the World Cup.
“England, like France last year, were keen to add a mid-week match to their itinerary so it’s great that we can provide them a high quality opponent in the Crusaders after the second Test in Dunedin. Given the heritage shared by England and Canterbury, this is sure to be a very special night.”
England tour to New Zealand 2014
- Saturday, June 7: 1st Test v New Zealand – Eden Park, Auckland
- Saturday, June 14: 2nd Test v New Zealand – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
- Tuesday, June 17: Crusaders – AMI (Addington) Stadium, Christchurch
- Saturday, June 21: 3rd Test v New Zealand – Waikato Stadium, Hamilton