All Blacks target Euro Grand Slam

New Zealand will chase a third Grand Slam tour of Europe this November if an additional fixture against England receives approval from the International Rugby Board. [more]

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New Zealand will chase a third Grand Slam tour of Europe this November if an additional fixture against England receives approval from the International Rugby Board.

The All Blacks already have autumn Tests arranged against Scotland, Ireland and Wales and will be hoping they arrive at Twickenham on November 29 with the chance to make history.

Only the 1978 and 2005 All Blacks have ever managed to beat all four home nations on one tour.

The RFU have confirmed that a financial package had been agreed with the New Zealand Rugby Union. A new trophy will be created for this and future encounters between the two countries.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said: "This is an exciting addition to the All Blacks’ northern hemisphere tour programme.

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"Not only does it create the opportunity for the All Blacks to pursue a Grand Slam in 2008 against the Rugby World Cup runners-up, but it also provides another opportunity for the many All Blacks fans in the UK and Europe to see and support their team."

England’s autumn international campaign opens against the Pacific Islands and includes Tests against Australia and South Africa.

England must wait for the IRB’s consent to play New Zealand because the fixture falls outside the official three-week international window.

Under the terms of the RFU’s new agreement with the Guinness Premiership clubs, England will play four internationals every other November for the next eight years.

RFU chief executive Francis Baron said: "We are pleased to have reached agreement with the NZRU over this additional Test match.

"It will provide the England team with an additional opportunity to play a Test match at the highest level as well as providing additional funds to invest in the further development of the professional club game in England."

The All Blacks’ proposed schedule for the tour to the UK and Ireland is: Nov 8: Scotland v New Zealand Nov 15: Ireland v New Zealand Nov 22: Wales v New Zealand Nov 29: England v New Zealand.

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