Fri, 24 Jun 2016
The All Blacks will again take on two provincial sides, Counties Manukau and Northland in August, as part of their preparations for the Investec Rugby Championship, it was announced today.
The ‘Game of Three Halves’ training matches will be held at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe on the evening of Friday 12 August, with the first ‘game’ kicking off at 5.30pm.
The All Blacks will play 40-minute training matches against each provincial side, with the two provincial teams also playing a 40-minute match.
The matches will be played as the provincial sides prepare to kick off their 2016 campaigns for the renamed national competition, the Mitre 10 Cup.
It will be the second time Counties Manukau have hosted the All Blacks for the hugely-popular event, with previous events in Auckland and Wellington attracting thousands of fans.
Tickets for The Game of Three Halves are available from the Counties Manukau RFU offices at ECOLight Stadium or online from iticket.co.nz. Ticket prices start from $7 for the embankment.
Counties Manukau Steelers Head Coach Darryl Suasua can’t wait for the occasion.
“The opportunity to take on the All Blacks and Northland at home in Pukekohe is exciting for our community and our players. It will be an honour to play and host the All Blacks again and we are really looking forward to this.”
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “The training matches against provincial teams are great for our build-up and we are grateful for the opportunity to play Counties Manukau and Northland. It should be a great night.”
Northland Taniwha Head Coach Richie Harris said: “Many New Zealand boys dream of one day playing for the All Blacks. Our national provincial competition has always been part of the pathway into Super Rugby and into the All Blacks. This is a rare opportunity for our players to play against the All Blacks, possibly the next best thing to playing for our national team.”
The All Blacks will be in Auckland as part of their preparations for the Bledisloe Cup and opening Investec Rugby Championship Test against Australia in Sydney on Saturday 20 August.
The opening round of Mitre 10 Cup will kick off the same week, with Counties Manukau taking on North Harbour on Thursday 18 August and Northland playing Manawatu the following night.
CLICK HERE to view the Mitre 10 Cup draw for 2016.
CLICK HERE to view the Investec Rugby Championship draw.
ALLBLACKS.COM 24 JUN 2016 GETTY IMAGES