The Rugby Championship 2014
Aussie-NZ double header opens Rugby Championship
ESPN Staff
December 3, 2013
New Zealand's Richie McCaw and Tony Woodcock hold the Bledisloe Cup, New Zealand v Australia, Bledisloe Cup, The Rugby Championship, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, August 24, 2013
Will the All Blacks once again retain the Bledisloe Cup in two Tests? © Getty Images

Australia and New Zealand once again will open the Rugby Championship with back-to-back Bledisloe Cup Tests, starting at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on August 17 and facing each other again at Eden Park in Auckland a week later before the first travel bye.

The Wallabies will continue their campaign against South Africa at Patersons Stadium in Perth on September 6 before they host Argentina at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast on September 13. Australia then travel after another week of rest to play the Springboks at Newlands in Cape Town on September 27 before completing their campaign against the Pumas at a venue in Argentina yet to be confirmed.

New Zealand will host the Pumas at McLean Park in Napier and South Africa at Westpac Stadium in Wellington before travelling to Argentina and rounding out their campaign against the Springboks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. The All Blacks have not played in Napier since they hosted Manu Samoa there in 1996.

"We are really pleased to be taking Test match rugby back to McLean Park, which proved a great venue during Rugby World Cup 2011," New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said. "The city warmly welcomed France, Canada and Japan for two matches during the cup, and fans turned out in force so I am sure they will turn it on again for our Argentinian visitors next year."

Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver said the third Rugby Championship would represent an opportunity for the Wallabies to maintain the progress and momentum of their efforts in Europe on their end-of-year tour. "This year's championship started after new coach, Ewen McKenzie, had only just jumped on board and followed an enormous Lions Tour, so next year will be very interesting. We've won four of the five Tests on the Spring Tour and we're confident of seeing that trend continue next year."

The ARU also announced details of the third and final Bledisloe Cup Test, which rotates each year between Australia and New Zealand. In 2014, the three-Test series will finish at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on October 18.

"It's exciting to have two out of the three Bledisloe Cup games on our own home soil in 2014," Pulver said. "We'd love to think that by the time we meet the All Blacks in Brisbane in October, it will be one-all between Australia and New Zealand and we'll take hold of the Bledisloe Cup again on our own turf."

The Rugby Championship Draw
Round One August 16 Australia v New Zealand ANZ Stadium, Sydney
August 16 South Africa v Argentina Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Round Two August 23 New Zealand v Australia Eden Park, Auckland
August 23 Argentina v South Africa TBC, Argentina
Round Three September 6 Australia v South Africa Patersons Stadium, Perth
September 6 New Zealand v Argentina McLean Park, Napier
Round Four September 13 Australia v Argentina Skilled Park, Gold Coast
September 13 New Zealand v South Africa Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Round Five September 27 South Africa v Australia Newlands, Cape Town
September 27 Argentina v New Zealand TBC, Argentina
Round Six October 6 South Africa v New Zealand Ellis Park, Johannesburg
October 6 Argentina v Australia TBC, Argentina

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