The French Rugby Federation (FFR) has reportedly expressed interest in hosting a midweek fixture against the All Blacks in November.

According to French newspaper Midi-Olympique, French rugby boss Bernard Laporte is close to finalising a deal with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) which would see the All Blacks play a fifth match on their European tour at the end of the year.

The match would take place on Tuesday 14 November, three days after France's scheduled clash against the All Blacks in Paris, and would reportedly be set outside of the French capital, with the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille emerging as the likely venue.

The FFR were originally keen to host a second match against Steve Hansen's side on Saturday 4 November, but that date has already been taken up by the All Blacks' clash against the Barbarians at Twickenham in London as a celebratory fixture for NZR's 125th anniversary.


A fifth match on tour would add a massive amount pressure on the All Blacks, who would still have to face an impressive Scotland side in Edinburgh on 18 November before finishing their season against Wales in Cardiff a week later.

All these matches would come at the end of a season where the national side would have already played a test series against the British and Irish Lions in addition to a potential warm-up test against Samoa in June, as well as partaking in the annual Rugby Championship competition against Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

Although an additional match in an already prolonged season for the All Blacks would place a lot of physical and mental pressure on members of the squad, it could give Hansen an opportunity to blood newcomers and test the depth of his player pool as he eyes a third consecutive World Cup title in 2019.

End-of-year tours usually allow young players to showcase their talent, and the match against the Barbarians and a second fixture against France would give Hansen plenty of opportunities to give his unproven players a chance to show their worth halfway through the World Cup cycle.

A spokesperson for New Zealand Rugby said the final schedule for the end of the year tour was yet to be confirmed and that a number of options were being explored.