Three years before next test in Dunedin?

All Black first five Damian McKenzie heads for the tryline in the test against France in Dunedin...
All Black first five Damian McKenzie heads for the tryline in the test against France in Dunedin at the weekend. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The test between France and the All Blacks at Forsyth Barr Stadium had been deemed a success but there is a chance it could be three years before the national side is back in the city.

Richard Kinley
Richard Kinley

A near-sellout crowd turned out for the match on Saturday night, which was won in convincing style by the All Blacks, 49-14.

It was the sixth test involving the All Blacks to take place under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium and the All Blacks have won every single one of them.

Otago Rugby Football Union general manager Richard Kinley said he had talked to New Zealand Rugby officials, who were happy with how the test went.

The other two tests, in Wellington and Auckland, were sellouts and although there were a few hundred tickets left over on Saturday night, it still came in ahead of budget.

Kinley said Otago Rugby Football Union staff and DVML staff had worked very hard for the test and worked well together.

He said a full review would be made of the test. The South of the Waitaki ticket initiative, where southerners could buy tickets before they went on sale to the general public, was not used this year.

Kinley said how the game was marketed would form part of the review.

The All Blacks enjoy coming to the city and coach Steve Hansen said after the game the team liked playing under the roof on the dry track and with conditions guaranteed.

With the World Cup next year the international playing schedule is severely reduced, so only two tests will be played in New Zealand.

No teams will come down from the northern hemisphere as teams stay at home and prepare for the World Cup in Japan.

The venues for the tests to be played next year are yet to be announced but they appear unlikely to be in Dunedin and at least one game is sure to be played at Eden Park.

The following year, the new international playing programme, which is supposed to give more flow to the season, kicks in. Tests that were to be played in June will be pushed back to July and competitions such as Super Rugby will no longer have to break in June.

But in 2020, with teams coming off a heavy workload in the previous year, only two test series - one fewer than over the past few years - will be played for countries heading south in July to play against the All Blacks, Wallabies and other southern hemisphere teams.

With one of the tests likely to be at Eden Park, Dunedin will be in a fight with other cities to host a test.

Kinley said Dunedin had some real advantages and it was not always money that New Zealand Rugby looked at when allocating tests.

The All Blacks really enjoyed coming to Dunedin, it was an easy city to get around and the stadium was great to play in, he said.

New Zealand Rugby was also mindful it wanted the All Blacks in the South Island.

With Christchurch's temporary stadium not offering much of a financial return, Forsyth Barr Stadium had a distinct advantage over any other stadium in the South Island.


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