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Springboks’ busy 2024 schedule completed with confirmation of Wales clash at Twickenham

Springboks’ busy 2024 schedule completed with confirmation of Wales clash at Twickenham
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi during the Summer International match between New Zealand and South Africa at Twickenham on 25 August 2023. The Boks will meet Wales at the London venue on 22 June 2024 in the Qatar Airways Cup. (Photo: Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

The Springboks will play 11 Tests in 2024 as rugby bosses confirm a fixture against Wales in London in June.

The Springboks’ first Test since winning the final of Rugby World Cup 2023 will take place at Twickenham in London on 22 June. But the opponents won’t be England, but rather Wales.

This clash is the second instalment of the Qatar Airways Cup, which was the “prize” when the Boks met the All Blacks at Twickenham before RWC 2023 last year.

On that occasion South Africa inflicted a record 35-7 defeat on New Zealand, which was a huge boost ahead of their successful RWC 2023 campaign.

While trophies named after sponsors don’t come with any history or added prestige, the reality is that playing Tests at neutral venues to enhance the Springbok “brand” will become more commonplace.

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) is edging closer to an equity deal with US-based consortium Ackerley Sports Group (ASG), worth R1.4-billion for a 20% stake.

Games of this nature are part of the marketing strategy to add more value to the Springbok brand, with the sale of additional TV rights, as well as ticket sales and of course, providing potential sponsors with one more Test where their logos are on prominent display.

The fixture also affords Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus a chance to play a near full-strength team prior to the arrival of Ireland in South Africa for a two-Test series.

The Boks have two significant home assignments in 2024 – Ireland and two Tests against the All Blacks. Playing Wales at Twickenham will be a chance to iron out some rust and kinks with a view to those more important fixtures.

Twickenham history

Bok Fourie du Preez evades a diving tackle from Alex Cuthbert of Wales to score a last-minute try during the South Africa-Wales 2015 Rugby World Cup quarterfinal clash at Twickenham on 17 October 2015. The Springboks won 23-19. (Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

The Boks have played against Wales at Twickenham once before, in the quarterfinal of RWC 2015 when Fourie du Preez famously scored in the corner with fewer than 10 minutes to go to give his side a 23-19 victory.

“We are thrilled to return to Twickenham in what will mark our first Test since the Rugby World Cup final in France,” Erasmus said.

“We have very fond memories of the RWC warm-up Test we played against the All Blacks at Twickenham last year. The atmosphere and occasion were truly remarkable, and we are expecting a very similar experience in June.

“Playing against Wales, who we have faced there before in an exhilarating 2015 Rugby World Cup quarterfinal, will bring back plenty of other memories as well.

“We may be playing on foreign territory, but we enjoy fantastic support from the expat community in London and its surrounds, as we saw last year where most of the supporters donned green and gold, so we are really looking forward to the match.” 

Erasmus said the fact that Wales would be hitting the ground running following their Six Nations campaign by the time the teams met, added to the significance of the encounter, especially with back-to-back clashes lined up against Ireland soon after.

“The Six Nations is an extremely competitive series, much like the Rugby Championship, and we have seen in the last few years what a force Wales can be,” said Erasmus. 

“Most of the matches between the sides dating back to 2008 have been decided by fewer than 10 points and some of those by fewer than five points. They also lost out narrowly against Scotland and England in their opening Six Nations matches, so they’ll come out guns blazing.

“They are currently ranked eighth in the world, and they also progressed to the World Cup quarterfinal last year, so this will be the ideal preparation for us to switch into gear for the Incoming Series.”

Erasmus was pleased with the preparation behind the scenes by his new Bok coaching team and said they were raring to go.

“Everyone has been hard at work analysing the opposition for the international season since we finalised the new coaching team and we cannot wait to start the season,” he said. 

“We have four months to get our structures and systems in place and we will leave no stone unturned as we embark on this new journey to build towards the 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia.” DM

2024 Springbok fixtures

Saturday, 22 June: SA vs Wales (Twickenham, London)

Saturday, 6 July: SA vs Ireland (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)

Saturday, 13 July: SA vs Ireland (Kings Park, Durban)

Saturday, 20 July: SA vs Portugal (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein)

Saturday, 10 August: Australia vs SA (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane)

Saturday, 17 August: Australia vs SA (Optus Stadium, Perth)

Saturday, 31 August: SA vs New Zealand (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)

Saturday, 7 September: SA vs New Zealand (DHL Stadium, Cape Town)

Saturday, 21 September: Argentina vs SA (venue TBC)

Saturday, 28 September: SA vs Argentina (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)

16 or 17 November: England vs SA (Twickenham, London – date TBC)

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