Rugby: All Blacks to play Springboks at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium, Bledisloe Cup returns to Dunedin

Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium and Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium will host All Blacks home fixtures for the 2023 season.

With the upcoming Women's Football World Cup to be played at New Zealand's biggest stadiums, including Eden Park, NZ Rugby has had to look elsewhere.

But it has now confirmed venues for the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup home ties, with the All Blacks to play the Springboks at Mt Smart Stadium on July 15 and an early 2:35pm kickoff match against Australia at Forsyth Barr Stadium on August 5.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster is excited by the fixtures and looks forward to travelling to Argentina to play the Pumas for the first time in four years.

"The Rugby Championship is an exciting, but tough draw," he said. "Playing the Argentinians in Argentina is an exciting challenge, after not being there since 2019. 

"With the challenges of stadium availability in Australasia, we are delighted to play this huge South African test at Mt Smart. We believe it's key for the connection with our fans to have this massive game in our backyard and can't wait.

"The Dunedin test is also equally important for us, because it's our last chance to play in front of our fans, before we head off for an exciting Rugby World Cup."

All Blacks perform a haka against South Africa
All Blacks perform a haka against South Africa. Photo credit: Getty Images

NZR head of professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum believes the All Blacks must still play games in New Zealand during World Cup year.

"Although there is a shortened Rugby Championship schedule, there will no doubt be an edge to the test matches played this year," he said. 

"The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup remain vitally important to New Zealand Rugby, and I know Foz and the team are looking forward to the season kicking off, as they continue to build ahead to the Rugby World Cup in September."