Boks add URC giants to November tour schedule
NEWS: Another midweek game has been added to the Springboks’ itinerary for their November tour with the announcement that the SA Select XV will face Munster in their first of two non-Test matches.
The Springboks will play four Tests on the tour, against Ireland (in Dublin on November 5), France (in Marseille on November 12), Italy (in Genoa on November 19), and England (in London on November 26), while the SA Select XV will line up against up against Irish giants Munster on Thursday, November 10, at a venue yet to be determined, a week before they face the Bristol Bears (November 17) at Ashton Gate in important midweek games.
This will be the first time in the professional era that Munster face a South African touring side, with the last encounter between the sides taking place back in 1970. Interestingly the teams have only met three times, with the South Africans having won all those matches.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber was delighted about the announcement of the fixture against Munster, who he has an intense familiarity with having served as a member of the team’s coaching staff with SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus between 2016 and 2018 before returning to South Africa.
“Munster are a giant force in Ireland, and they will offer the SA Select XV exactly the type of test we need to build combinations and player depth as we prepare for the Rugby World Cup next year,” said Nienaber.
“We have been working with a large squad this year so that we can give an expanded group of players a chance to stake a claim for places in the Rugby World Cup and beyond, and by facing top opposition such as a Munster and Bristol, I have no doubt we will get some of the answers we need with the international extravaganza about a year away.”
Nienaber said while they will work out the specifics about how to manage the team effectively between the midweek matches and the Tests, the opportunity to play these matches will benefit the coaches and players.
“We haven’t had a proper rugby tour with midweek games in several years, so we are very excited about this opportunity,” said Nienaber.
“We will obviously have to be creative in how we split our management staff and players so that the Test team and SA Select XV will have everything they need to be as prepared as possible for their respective matches, but the benefits of this tour is going to massive in the development of our coaches and players.
“Obviously we will continue with our collaborative approach as management staff, and the fact that we can have virtual meetings will simplify that process.
“The most important aspect, however, is that we will be able to give most of the players that have been within our system and possibly a few who have been knocking on the door an opportunity to show what they can do while continuing to build their familiarity with our systems and coaching staff.”
Munster Rugby CEO Ian Flanagan was equally excited about the match and said: “We are delighted to welcome South Africa back to the province for the first time in over 50 years and we are grateful to the Irish Rugby Football Union and SA Rugby for all their assistance in making this happen.
“Munster Rugby has a proud tradition of hosting major touring sides and to face the SA Select XV during this Autumn Series will be a hugely exciting prospect for the club and our supporters. Now that we have the opposition and date, we are exploring venue options and will finalise supporter and ticket details as soon as possible.”
Springbok year-end tour fixtures:
Saturday, November 5: South Africa vs Ireland (Dublin – Aviva Stadium)
Thursday, November 10: SA Select XV vs Munster (venue TBC)
Saturday, November 12: South Africa v France (Marseille – Stade Vélodrome)
Thursday, November 17: SA Select XV v Bristol Bears (Bristol – Ashton Gate)
Saturday, November 19: South Africa v Italy (Luigi Ferarris Stadium, Genoa)
Saturday, November 26: South Africa v England (London – Twickenham)