New Zealand Rugby
Kiwis to face Ireland in Christchurch
ESPNscrum Staff
November 8, 2011
Dan Carter carries the World Cup on the parade through Christchurch, Cristchurch, New Zealand, October 25, 2011
Dan Carter parades the World Cup through Christchurch after the All Blacks' World Cup win © Getty Images

Rugby will return to Christchurch after the New Zealand Rugby Union confirmed that the earthquake-damaged city will host the All Blacks in 2012.

Following February's devastating earthquake, the AMI Stadium is still out of action but Christchurch's Rugby League Park has experienced a $20m redevelopment and has had the capacity boosted to 25,000. The stadium will host the Crusaders' 2012 Super Rugby fixtures and also a Test between New Zealand and Ireland on June 16, 2012.

NZRU chairman Mike Eagle was delighted to be able to announce the move back to Christchurch. "We are delighted for the residents of Christchurch that they will have a venue capable of hosting major international concerts and sporting fixtures," Eagle said. "Christchurch has not hosted an All Blacks test match since the Bledisloe Cup match in August 2010."

The Test between the in Christchurch is one of three between the pair with the All Blacks also facing Ireland at Auckland on June 9 and in Hamilton on June 23. With the Rugby Championship also launched on Tuesday, the NZRU have also confirmed the stadiums for their three home fixtures and the world champions will face Australia at Eden Park on August 25, Argentina in Wellington on September 8 and South Africa in Dunedin on September 15.

NZRU CEO Steve Tew is looking forward to welcoming Ireland back to New Zealand after the 2011 global gathering. "Ireland really set the tournament on fire and it will be great to have them back in New Zealand next year," he said. "It is particularly special that they will play in Christchurch at the redeveloped Rugby League Park - the first Test match in Christchurch since the Canterbury earthquakes.

"The Rugby Championship will see the return of traditional southern hemisphere rivals South Africa and Australia who usually bring out the competitive spirit in our rugby fans. The 2011 Rugby World Cup demonstrated exactly how exciting matches between these four countries can be, and how fans bring much of the colour and atmosphere to a venue."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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