All the action as the All Blacks take on Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium.
All you need to know ahead of the All Blacks' clash against Tonga at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday, 3 July, kick-off at 7.05pm:
The All Blacks open the 2021 season by heading into league territory and hosting 'Ikale Tahi Tonga at the home of the Warriors.
Mt Smart Stadium will become the 15th test venue in New Zealand on Saturday and the fifth in Auckland after Potters Park, Eden Park, Epsom Showgrounds and North Harbour Stadium.
The ground has previously played host to international athletics meets, the All Whites, World Series Cricket, Rugby League World Cup games, the 1990 Commonwealth Games, the Oceania All Stars vs David Beckham's LA Galaxy, the Super League World Club Championship final, the Big Day Out music festival and a Cricket Max international.
Tonga head into the test with their eyes firmly on the following two weekends where they face Manu Samoa in two tests as part of 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifying. The winner of that series earns the Oceania 1 spot and a place in Pool D in France alongside England, Japan and Argentina.
'Ikale Tahi named nine debutants in their starting lineup along with four other newcomers on the bench. That includes an all-new loose forward trio and midfield combination.
In six previous encounters, Tonga have cracked double figures just once. Their best performance was the 41-10 defeat in the opening game at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Four of the previous six matches against New Zealand were Rugby World Cup pool matches going back to their first meeting at the 1999 event in Bristol.
For the All Blacks and Ian Foster the plan will be to give some young players test experience and to avoid any major injuries with the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup the focus of the year before their first European Tour since 2018.
The All Blacks and Tonga clash kicks off at 7.05pm and is part of a doubleheader which includes the Māori All Blacks taking on Manu Samoa at 4.30pm.
All Blacks: Damian McKenzie, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Brad Weber, Luke Jacobson, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Sam Whitelock (c), Scott Barrett, Angus Ta'avao, Dane Coles, Karl Tu'inukuafe.
Reserves: Asafo Aumua, George Bower, Tyrel Lomax, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ethan Blackadder, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett.
Tonga: James Faiva, Hosea Saumaki, Fine Inisi, Nikolai Foliaki, Penikolo Latu, Kalione Hala, Sonatane Takulua (c), Sione Tuipolotu, Solomone Funaki, Mateaki Kafatolu, Zane Kapeli, Don Lolo, Sila Puafisi, Sam Moli, Duke Nginingini.
Reserves: Siua Maile, Jethro Felemi, Tau Koloamatangi, Harrison Mataele, Viliami Taulani, Nasi Manu, Leon Fukofuka, Walter Fifita.
2019: All Blacks 92, Tonga 7, Hamilton
2015: All Blacks 47, Tonga 9, Newcastle
2011: All Blacks 41, Tonga 10, Eden Park
2003: All Blacks 91, Tonga 7, Brisbane
2000: All Blacks 102, Tonga 0, Albany
1999: All Blacks 45 Tonga, 9, Bristol
All Blacks: $1.001
Points start: -79.5 All Blacks
It is forecast to be a clear, cold evening at Mt Smart Stadium with temperatures expected to drop below 10 degrees. While dew could make ball-handling a little tricky, wind is not expected to be a factor in this test match.
How to catch the action
The Herald will provide live updates. You can catch live commentary of the match on Newstalk ZB, Gold AM and iHeartRadio.
The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 1, with coverage beginning at 6pm. If you want to watch the match online, you can stream the game live via Sky Sport Now.