Rugby-All Blacks to play Fiji, Tonga in July tests

(Reuters) - New Zealand will meet Fiji for two tests and Tonga for one in a rejigged July schedule following Italy's decision to pull out of the rugby tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The All Blacks play Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on July 3 before facing Fiji in Dunedin and Hamilton over the following weekends, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said on Monday.

It will be the All Blacks' first test against Fiji since thrashing the Pacific islanders 60-14 in Dunedin in 2011.

The All Blacks last played Tonga in 2019 in a warmup prior to the World Cup in Japan, winning 92-7.

Samoa will also tour New Zealand in July, playing against the Maori All Blacks (July 3) and a 2023 World Cup qualifier against Tonga (July 17).

The southern hemisphere Rugby Championship, featuring Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, and a separate Bledisloe Cup test against Australia have yet to be scheduled but NZR said Auckland's Eden Park and Wellington were expected to host "a number of games".

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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