England's 2014 New Zealand tour venues confirmed

England will play Tests in Auckland, Dunedin and Hamilton when they tour New Zealand next summer.

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

England will face seven-time Super Rugby champions Crusaders  in Christchurch on 17 June.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "To play the world champions in their own back yard is the ultimate test."

The All Blacks beat England 30-22 at Twickenham in November and Lancaster said the tour would serve as good preparation for the 2015 World Cup  .

Lancaster said: "We saw what a formidable team and rugby nation New Zealand are.

England's 2014 tour of NZ

  • Saturday 7 June: First Test - Eden Park, Auckland
  • Saturday 14 June: Second Test - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
  • Tuesday 17 June: Crusaders - AMI (Addington) Stadium, Christchurch
  • Saturday 21 June: Third Test - Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Kick-off times to be confirmed

"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."

Lancaster's selection options will be restricted in the series opener in Auckland as it takes place seven days after the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham.

It means Lancaster is resigned to being unable to field his first-choice starting XV until Dunedin.

France, Wales and Ireland will face a similar complication following the Top 14 and RaboDirect Pro12 finals on 31 May for their 2014 tours of Australia, South Africa and Argentina respectively.

International Rugby Board chief executive Brett Gosper last week said steps were being taken to avoid any future fixture congestion.

Three of England's 2011 World Cup group matches were staged in Dunedin, where they defeated Argentina, Georgia and Romania, while Eden Park was the setting for their 19-12 quarter-final loss to France.