Rugby: England will take on All Blacks in three Tests in New Zealand next year

LONDON (AFP) - England will play Tests in Auckland, Dunedin and Hamilton when they tour New Zealand next year, the Rugby Football Union announced yesterday.

The series starts at the All Blacks' Eden Park fortress on June 7, continues at Forsyth Barr Stadium seven days later and concludes at Waikato Stadium on June 21.

England's tour also includes a midweek match against seven-time Super Rugby champions Crusaders in Christchurch on June 17.

The 2015 World Cup hosts England will travel to New Zealand looking to turn the table on the world champions following last month's loss at Twickenham in a gripping encounter.

"To play the world champions in their own backyard is the ultimate test," said England coach Stuart Lancaster.

"This is our final tour before the World Cup and is massively important for us to benchmark ourselves against the number one team in the world.

"Playing three Tests and a midweek match will give us the opportunity to take 35 to 40 players who will get a chance to lay down a marker 15 months out from the World Cup."