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Boks return to happy hunting ground for Wales showdown

SPOTLIGHT: The back-to-back world champion Springboks will return to the field for the first time since last year’s World Cup final at the iconic Twickenham Stadium in London when they take on Wales in a blockbuster Test on Saturday, June 22.

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The match in London will serve as the ideal preparation for the Incoming Series, which starts two weeks later with the first of two Tests against world No.2 Ireland.

The match will mark a repeat of the Boks’ 2015 World Cup quarterfinal at Twickenham, which South Africa won by 23-19.

The last time the Springboks crossed paths with Wales was in a RWC warm-up match in Cardiff in August last year, when they registered a record-breaking 52-16 victory – which surpassed their previous best of 22 points (34-12) against the Welsh outfit recorded in 2007.

It is the second year in a row the Boks will play a Test on neutral territory in London after inflicting their heaviest defeat ever on the All Blacks with their 35-7 victory in front of a passionate 80,827 strong crowd at Twickenham in their final RWC warm-up match in August last year.

The London Test will be followed by a challenging two-match series against Ireland in Pretoria (July 6) and Durban (July 13), and their first Test against Portugal a week later in Bloemfontein in the closing match of the incoming series.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus – who steered the team to World Cup glory in Japan in 2019 and the title defence in France last year – was elated about the Welsh match and said it was the perfect launchpad for an exciting 2024 season.

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

“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 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.”

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Erasmus said the fact that Wales hit the ground running following their Six Nations campaign by the time the teams meet, 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,” said the former Springbok flank.

“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 toward the 2027 World Cup in Australia.”

Springboks 2024 Fixtures: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 16/17: England v SA (Twickenham, London – date TBC)

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