25 Aug 2017

The All Blacks are Coming to Nelson

The All Blacks will play their First Ever Rugby Test in Nelson!

panorama trafalgar park stadium view

The All Blacks will play their first test match at Nelson’s Trafalgar Park 8 September 2018 as part of the 2018 Investec Rugby Championship. 

Playing against Argentina, the visit by New Zealand’s rugby royalty is the result of a collaborative bid for the match by Nelson City Council, Nelson Regional Development Agency and Tasman Rugby Union, with considerable local private sector investment.

A fixture at the top of the South Island – the first in AB’s history – is an obvious event for the Nelson Tasman region, according to Tasman Rugby Union chief executive Tony Lewis. 

“For the longest time we’ve wanted to bring the first All Black test to the birthplace of competition rugby (in 1870) at the centre of New Zealand.

“The Tasman Rugby Union’s vision is to grow the game of rugby in the region, and increase participation at all levels. We can’t think of a better way to inspire fans, young and old, than by bringing the All Blacks to Nelson to play their first rugby test ever in the region.

“The supporters will have an opportunity to see and engage with the AB’s in our own backyard. This will be a huge boost for rugby in the region.

“We are very appreciative of all involved in enabling this to happen, including the private investors: Shane Drummond – Director Car Company; Mike Fraser – Fraser Logging; and Paul Jensen – Log Marketer.”

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said the decision by NZ Rugby Union to give Nelson hosting rights for the game was great news for the region and its rugby fans. 

“People may have had doubts that a city our size could achieve the ultimate - an All Blacks test match - but we are consistently aiming for excellence and I've had confidence in our community that we'd achieve this historic moment.”

The September timing fits with the destination management objective of attracting activity to Nelson Tasman in the shoulder seasons.

“Our city already hosts international cricket and netball - and now our world champion All Blacks will be centre stage at Trafalgar Park.  We are very proud about the extraordinary experiences our region has to offer and that includes world-class sporting events,” Mayor Reese said. 

“We will see visitors from around New Zealand and the world come and enjoy our beautiful city as we host rugby at Trafalgar Park on a world stage.  Of course we will warmly welcome Los Pumas and their supporters and say Bienvenidos a Nelson!”.