New Zealand rugby
All Blacks to play Bledisloe warm-ups
July 24, 2013
Steve Hansen is keen to prime combinations in his All Blacks squad ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup Test © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen hopes a double hitout against two provincial opponents will once again have his team primed for the Rugby Championship.
Two 40-minute games against Wellington and Canterbury have been scheduled for August 9 in Wellington, eight days ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Sydney.
The All Blacks did the same thing last year against Counties Manukau and Auckland in Pukekohe.
Hansen said in a statement those matches were ideal preparation for his players and he hoped the same outcome can be achieved in the afternoon fixtures at Lower Hutt's Hutt Recreation Ground.
Wellington coach Chris Boyd and Canterbury counterpart Scott Robertson said the games would also suit them well, less than a week before the NPC provincial championship kicks off.
They will play each other for 40min before the All Blacks play Canterbury for 40min, followed by Wellington.
The All Blacks will complete most of their Sydney Test preparation in Wellington.
They will cross the Tasman two days before the Test and return afterwards to Wellington, which hosts the second Rugby Championship Test on August 24.