The world champion Springboks are set to face the All Blacks at Eden Park next year after New Zealand Rugby confirmed its home fixtures for the 2020 international season.
The Springboks were successful on their previous two visits to New Zealand, with their most recent trip ending in a 16-all draw in Wellington, thanks to a late Herschel Jantjies try and conversion from Handre Pollard.
Last year – at the same venue – the Boks upset the form book to record a 36-34 victory over the All Blacks, in what was their first win in New Zealand since 2009.
The newly crowned world champions now face the daunting task of meeting their greatest rival at Eden Park, a venue the All Blacks last lost at 25 years ago.
The All Blacks’ 36-0 shutout of the Wallabies earlier this year at Eden Park had them extend their unbeaten record to 42 Tests [40 wins, 2 draws] at the famous ground in Auckland. France were the last side to beat the three-time world champions at the venue, with the two draws coming against the Springboks [18-18] in 1994 and the British & Irish Lions [15-15] in 2017.
The All Blacks begin their Test season against Wales on 4 July in a replay of the World Cup bronze medal match. In what will be their first tour since 2016, Wayne Pivac’s Wales then face New Zealand a week later in Wellington.
Scotland, who will face the Boks in a two-Test series earlier in the month, will then meet the All Blacks on 18 July – their first visit to New Zealand in two decades.
Dave Rennie’s Wallabies then play the All Blacks in their first Rugby Championship match on 15 August in Wellington, before New Zealand meet Argentina at FMG Stadium in Hamilton two weeks later. The All Blacks then face the Boks on 5 September to conclude their home fixtures list.
‘Post Rugby World Cup there is always a degree of the unknown,’ said New Zealand Rugby chief officer Nigel Cass. ‘The All Blacks will have a new head coach and some new players and I’m sure New Zealanders can’t wait to again get behind the team.
‘Wales and Australia also have new coaches and will bring a lot of energy. It’s fantastic to have Scotland back in New Zealand after such a long time. Our countries have always had close ties and that’s been particularly true of Dunedin where no doubt the region will be ready to roll out the tartan welcome mat.
‘And, what better finish to the home schedule than a Test against South Africa at Eden Park for the Freedom Cup.’
Former coach Steve Hansen’s successor is reportedly set to be named later this month – with Hansen’s assistant Ian Foster and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson believed to be the front-runners for the position.
All Blacks’ home fixtures for 2020
All Blacks vs Wales, Saturday 4 July, Eden Park, Auckland
All Blacks vs Wales, Saturday 11 July, Sky Stadium, Wellington
All Blacks vs Scotland, Saturday 18 July, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
All Blacks vs Australia, Saturday 15 August, Sky Stadium, Wellington
All Blacks vs Argentina, Saturday 29 August, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
All Blacks vs South Africa, Saturday 5 September, Eden Park, Auckland.
Photo: Steve Haag Sports