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France 16:45 Fiji

France to tour New Zealand for three-Test series in 2013 while Lions are in Australia

Last Updated: 02/11/12 12:26pm

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Haka: New Zealand lay down the challenge to France ahead of the 2011 World Cup final

Haka: New Zealand lay down the challenge to France ahead of the 2011 World Cup final

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France will play a three-match series in New Zealand at the same as time the British and Irish Lions visit Australia next year.

Auckland, Christchurch and New Plymouth will play host to the Tests on consecutive weekends next June.

France were the last northern hemisphere side to win in New Zealand when they claimed a 27-22 victory in Carisbrook in 2009.

They also pushed the All Blacks hard in last year's World Cup final, going down 8-7 at Auckland's Eden Park.

New Zealand are unbeaten in 29 matches at Eden Park, dating back to France's success in 1994.

"We are thrilled to be hosting France once again, a team which always provides fans with a great rugby spectacle and a stern challenge for the All Blacks as we well know," New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said in a statement.

"I am sure fans will be especially excited about France returning to Eden Park on June 8 for their first match-up with the All Blacks since that pulsating encounter at Eden Park last October."

South Africa will also visit Eden Park in the second edition of the Rugby Championship next year, while the home Test against Argentina will take place at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.

Australia, who ended the All Blacks' winning streak at 16 matches with an 18-18 draw in Brisbane in October, will play two Tests in New Zealand, one in the Rugby Championship in Wellington and a third Bledisloe Cup Test in Dunedin.

New Zealand home schedule for 2013:

Jun 8 - France, Auckland

Jun 15 - France, Christchurch

Jun 22 - France, New Plymouth

Aug 24 - Australia, Wellington

Sep 7 - Argentina, Hamilton

Sep 14 - South Africa, Auckland

Oct 19 - Australia, Dunedin

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