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Ireland to Face All Blacks in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington in July

Ireland to Face All Blacks in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington in July

New Zealand Rugby have confirmed the dates, venues and kick-off times for Ireland’s three Tests in July.

Andy Farrell’s Ireland Squad will tour for the first time since he officially took over the head coach role in December 2019.  The global Covid Pandemic forced the cancellation of a two Test tour in Australia in 2020 and a three Test tour of Fiji in 2021.

Ireland have not toured New Zealand since 2012 when they played three Tests losing all three but led in the second Test at half-time before losing out 22-19.    Following that tour Ireland would lose to New Zealand just once more in 2013 before finally claiming a first victory in 2016 at the 29th attempt.   Since Soldier Field there has been four meetings between the two sides with the honours even at two wins a piece.

This coming July, Ireland will embark on what is possibly their toughest ever Tour of the professional era.  They will play New Zealand in three Tests and play two mid-week fixtures which have yet to be confirmed.

Cian Healy in action during the 2012 tour of New Zealand

On Saturday 2nd July, the first Test against New Zealand will take place at Eden Park in Auckland.  Ireland have played three Tests there, with the 2006 loss 27-17 the most competitive of the three fixtures.

The second Test takes place on Saturday 9th July at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.  The ‘Glasshouse’ replaced Carisbrook as the home of the Highlanders in 2012 and it hosted four games during Rugby World Cup 2011 including Ireland’s final pool game against Italy.  Ireland last played New Zealand in Dunedin in 2002 with the home side winning 15-6.

Conor Murray on attack in the final Test of the 2012 tour of New Zealand

The tour concludes with the third and final Test against the All Blacks on Saturday 16th July at the SKY Stadium in Wellington.   The ‘Cake Tin’ is home to the Hurricanes SuperRugby franchise and Ireland played a Test at this venue against the All Blacks in 2006 losing 21-11.  It is also where Ireland lost a Rugby World Cup quarter-final to Wales at the 2011 tournament.

The importance of touring for the national squad cannot be underestimated as they seek cohesion on and off the field in preparation for Rugby World Cup 2023.  While quite a few players experienced full stadia for the first time in their international careers earlier this season there are many within the current Ireland squad who have not experienced touring or playing in the southern hemisphere.

Ireland Summer Tour Test Matches v New Zealand (KO in Irish time zone shown)

New Zealand v IRELAND, Saturday 2 July, 8.05am, Eden Park, AUCKLAND

New Zealand v IRELAND, Saturday 9 July, 8.05am, Forsyth Barr Stadium, DUNEDIN

New Zealand v IRELAND, Saturday 16 July, 8.05am, Sky Stadium, WELLINGTON