Rugby union: England confirm dates and venues for 2014 New Zealand tour
Last Updated: 02/12/13 4:54pm
England to face All Blacks in three Tests next summer
England will probably be without a host of top players for the first Test with New Zealand in June.
England face the All Blacks on June 7 2014 at Eden Park in Auckland, but they will take the field without the players involved in the Aviva Premiership final which takes place on 31 May.
They will fly out before the first Test but jet lag protocols and a lack of preparation time means those involved in the final will only be able to play in the second and third Tests in Dunedin and Hamilton.
England will also play a midweek game against the Crusaders between the second and third Tests.
"To play the World Champions in their own back yard is the ultimate test."
France faced a similar situation on their summer tour of New Zealand - those involved in the Top 14 final missed the first Test.
France, Wales and Ireland will potentially face a similar situation to England on next summer's tours of Australia, South Africa and Argentina respectively, because of domestic finals.
New Zealand beat England 30-22 at Twickenham in November in the QBE autumn internationals.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "To play the World Champions in their own back yard is the ultimate test. We saw in the Rugby Championship and the QBE Internationals what a formidable team and rugby nation New Zealand is.
"This is our final tour before the World Cup and is massively important for us to benchmark ourselves against the number one team in the world. Playing three Tests and a midweek match will give us the opportunity to take 35 to 40 players who will get a chance to lay down a marker 15 months out from the World Cup."
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said: "We are very excited to be hosting England next year. England have proven in their recent matches with the All Blacks just how tough an opponent they are so we hope this series will be a huge draw card for fans.
"It's great to be taking England to Dunedin. I am sure they have plenty of fond memories from their time in there during Rugby World Cup where they played three matches. England and Argentina also had the privilege of being the first nations to enjoy the excellent facilities of Forsyth Barr Stadium during the opening weekend of the World Cup.
"England, like France last year, were keen to add a mid-week match to their itinerary so it's great that we can provide them a high quality opponent in the Crusaders after the second Test in Dunedin. Given the heritage shared by England and Canterbury, this is sure to be a very special night."
England tour to New Zealand 2014 (live on SkySports HD, kick-off times to be confirmed):
Saturday, June 7: 1st Test - Eden Park, Auckland
Saturday, June 14: 2nd Test - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Tuesday, June 17: Crusaders - AMI (Addington) Stadium, Christchurch
Saturday, June 21: 3rd Test - Waikato Stadium, Hamilton