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Eden Park to host rugby league, union double-header

Auckland’s Eden Park will stage a rugby league-rugby union double-header next year after the city’s two franchises teamed up on a groundbreaking initiative.

The partnership between Super Rugby’s Blues and the National Rugby League’s Vodafone Warriors was announced earlier today (Tuesday). The ‘Codes of Auckland’ event will take place at Eden Park on March 21 next year.

The Warriors will take to the field first when they face beaten NRL grand finalists the Canberra Raiders at 5pm, before the Blues take on Super Rugby semi-finalists the Brumbies at 7.35pm.

The announcement has been made following months of discussions between the two teams, the NRL, NZ Rugby and the Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

Steve Armitage, ATEED’s general manager of destination, said: “This day is one example of how Auckland seeks to offer its residents and domestic and international visitors a unique experience.

“Last year, ATEED supported the rugby league double-header at Mt Smart Stadium as part of our focus on stimulating increased visitation out of Australia, and we hope that this event will prompt a strong contingent of Brumbies and Raiders supporters to hop across the ditch.”

Eden Park chief executive Nick Sautner added: “New Zealand’s national stadium was built for crowds of all sizes and demographics so an opportunity to host fans of both the Blues and the Vodafone Warriors in our 116-year old home is inspiring. We look forward to showcasing the stadium’s diversity and providing Kiwis with another great reason to visit Eden Park.”

Eden Park has a capacity of 50,000 and serves as the home venue of the Blues. The Warriors play at the 25,000-seat Mt Smart Stadium and the March 21 game at Eden Park will count as one of the team’s 10 home games in Auckland next season.

Image: TimBray