New Zealand Rugby has made progress in ironing out the 2024 international schedule, with the All Blacks set for 14 tests and the Black Ferns potentially playing nine.
Scott Robertson’s first year at the helm will see the All Blacks play two tests in South Africa – most likely in Johannesburg and Cape Town – before meeting familiar faces on their end-of-year tour, with tests against Japan (Tokyo), England (London), Ireland (Dublin) and France (Paris) all lined up.
The side will also meet Italy during that stretch; however, New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said the location of that test was still being ironed out as the involved parties are “quite interested” in exploring opportunities to take the game outside of Rome.
While the domestic test schedule was still a work in progress, with two tests against England on home soil in July among those, Robinson said they were assessing their options for the proposed test against Fiji, including venues abroad.
“We’re considering a number of different options as it relates to the regulation nine games we have slated for New Zealand, so that’s something we’re considering at the moment,” Robinson said.
“We’re open, we’ve talked about the possibility of games being played offshore for strategic reasons. That’s something we’re open to. We’re just doing some more work on it.”
The Black Ferns will again feature in the Pacific Four series against Australia, Canada and the United States, with the top three teams from that tournament going on to contend the WXV 1, while the fourth will play WXV 2. They will likely play a standalone test against Australia as well, making up the Laurie O’Reilly Cup series together with their clash during the Pacific Four.
The Black Ferns could meet England in a standalone test at Twickenham in 2024. Photo / Photosport
But that isn’t the only standalone test being discussed for the team. There has also been talk of meeting England at Twickenham next year, however Robinson did not have any updates on that.
“We’re working really hard on it,” Robinson said of making the Twickenham test come together.
“I was in contact with [English Rugby Football Union chief executive] Bill Sweeney last week on a number of different things. They want the game to go ahead, so do we. We’re just waiting to see how WXV lines up and where this test match would sit in relation to that.
“We’re both hugely excited about the growing rivalry between those two teams.
“There’s a little bit more work to do with the Black Ferns’ schedule still, but we’re looking at eight, hopefully nine, test matches for them.”
Christopher Reive joined the Herald sports team in 2017, bringing the same versatility to his coverage as he does to his sports viewing habits.
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