Test Rugby heads back to Christchurch

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The All Blacks will return to earthquake-devastated Christchurch next year, with a Test match against Ireland expected.

The match-up is set to be confirmed later on Tuesday when the New Zealand Rugby Union releases its international program for 2012.

Rugby League Park in Addington is likely to host the June match, following a $25 million overhaul of the 18,000 seat venue.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker told RadioSport the Test against Ireland would be a real boost for the city.

"To have a major Test match here, albeit in a lesser venue if that's what the day brings, is great news for the province."

Christchurch lost its World Cup matches after February's 6.3-magnitude earthquake which seriously damaged AMI Stadium.

The Crusaders played all their 2011 Super Rugby home matches away from home in Nelson, Timaru, Napier and Wellington and their match against the Sharks was played at the home of English rugby, Twickenham.

The All Blacks' last match in Christchurch was in August 2010, when they beat Australia 20-10 at AMI Stadium.