Sport

Published: Tuesday December 3, 2013 MYT 3:37:02 AM
Updated: Tuesday December 3, 2013 MYT 3:37:16 AM

All Blacks to play Pumas in Napier in Rugby Championship

New Zealand's All Blacks pose with the trophy after beating England in their international rugby union match at Twickenham in London November 16, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

New Zealand's All Blacks pose with the trophy after beating England in their international rugby union match at Twickenham in London November 16, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand will play their first test in almost 20 years at Napier's McLean Park when they host Argentina in next year's southern hemisphere Rugby Championship, organisers said on Tuesday.

Steve Hansen's side will meet the Pumas in round three of the annual competition on September 6 after initially playing Australia in the opening game in Sydney on August 16 and then turning round against the Wallabies in Auckland on August 23.

The last time the All Blacks played in Napier was in 1996 when they beat Samoa 51-10 with fullback Christian Cullen scoring three tries on his debut.

The test was also the first under lights in New Zealand and the first outside of the four main cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

The All Blacks and Australia will again open the competition at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

The two sides have opened the annual competition since Argentina were introduced in 2012.

South Africa host the Pumas in Pretoria in their opening fixture.

Each of the teams play home and away with the All Blacks, who have not lost any of their 12 tests in winning two successive championships, and the Springboks meeting again in Johannesburg in the final round of the competition.

The two sides played what has been called arguably the greatest test of all time at Ellis Park earlier this year, with New Zealand winning 38-27 to seal the championship.

2014 Rugby championship fixtures:

Aug 16 Australia v New Zealand, Sydney

South Africa v Argentina, Pretoria

Aug 23 New Zealand v Australia, Auckland

Argentina v South Africa, TBC

Sept 6 New Zealand v Argentina, Napier

Australia v South Africa, Perth

Sept 13 New Zealand v South Africa, Wellington

Australia v Argentina, Gold Coast

Sept 27 South Africa v Australia, Cape Town

Argentina v New Zealand, TBC

Oct 4 South Africa v New Zealand, Johannesburg

Argentina v Australia, TBC

(Compiled by Greg Stutchbury, editing by Rex Gowar)

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