Hamilton will host a one-off rugby Test between the world champion All Blacks and Tonga next year ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019.
Three-time Rugby World Cup winners the All Blacks will clash with Tonga on Saturday 7 September 2019 at FMG Stadium Waikato. The match sees a return to the tradition of afternoon rugby, with a 2.35pm kick off.
The match will be the All Blacks’ final hit-out before they travel to Japan for rugby’s global showpiece tournament – and their opportunity to become the first team in Rugby World Cup history to claim the William Webb Ellis Trophy three consecutive times.
Mayor Andrew King says the announcement of the match is hugely exciting for the city, its residents and upper North Island sports fans.
“We’re delighted to have the All Blacks and Tonga coming to Hamilton ahead of their Rugby World Cup campaigns,” Mayor Andrew says.
“We get the current world champion All Blacks and a Tongan team which will be supported by a legion of passionate fans who bring immense energy and a sea of red to any venue they converge on.
“Hamilton is superbly placed to welcome fans from all over the upper North Island, and further afield.
“This will be one of the big weeks for Hamilton in 2019 and it’s further proof we are a ‘can do’ city when it comes to major events.”
The announcement of the All Blacks vs Tonga clash follows confirmation the Tongan national sevens rugby team has secured the final place in the 2019 edition of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament to be held at FMG Stadium Waikato over Auckland Anniversary Weekend 2019 (26 and 27 January).
Hamilton last hosted the All Blacks in 2016, when they defeated Argentina in the Rugby Championship in front of a sold-out FMG Stadium Waikato.