Rugby World Cup 2015
All Blacks open at Wembley
May 3, 2013
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw lifts the Webb Ellis Cup, New Zealand v France, Rugby World Cup Final, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, October 23, 2011
New Zealand head to England as defending Rugby World Cup champions © Getty Images

New Zealand open their Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign against Argentina at Wembley Stadium on September 20, before continuing their defence of the Webb Ellis Cup against Tonga and qualifiers from Africa and Europe in pool C.

"It's exciting that the match schedule has been announced and is the latest step in preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015," All Blacks manager Darren Shand said.

Top Tier nations are no longer immune to the short turnarounds of the congested schedule, and New Zealand have just four days to prepare for their second match against Africa 1 at the Olympic Stadium in London. Top Tier nations previously were given a full week's rest between matches, but the IRB have opted to create a level playing field by distributing the matches evenly to all participating teams.

"One of the key talking points will be the four-day turnaround between our first two games," Shand said. "But that had been flagged well in advance by Rugby World Cup organisers who were keen to make the schedule more fair and equitable particularly for Tier 2 and Tier 3 nations. In fact, we were very supportive of the draw being fairer and were part of the group of countries that suggested it. As far as the team is concerned, we will prepare accordingly for the shorter turnaround."

The All Blacks play their third pool match against Europe 1 at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on October 2, and they conclude their pool matches against Tonga at St James' Park, Newcastle, on October 9.

"Wembley, the Olympic Stadium and St James' Park are all iconic venues in their own right, and our matches there will certainly be special events, while we are very familiar with Millennium Stadium, and our matches there have also been big occasions," Shand said.

Teams can now begin to countdown to Rugby World Cup 2015, Lawrence Dallaglio says
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