All Blacks withdrew proposal to play Springboks in Dubai - report

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All Blacks v Springboks. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
All Blacks v Springboks. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

SA Rugby was reportedly eager for the Springboks to face the All Blacks in a warm-up Test ahead of the British & Irish Lions series.

According to the Daily Maverick, the All Blacks were asked to play against the world champions in Dubai.

The report added that New Zealand Rugby seriously considered the proposal but due to New Zealand's strict Covid-19 restrictions, which require a 14-day quarantine upon return to the country, they opted against it.

Had they agreed to the Bok Test, the All Blacks would have been unable to fulfil their two-Test series schedule against Fiji starting on 10 July.

This follows Monday's confirmation that the Springboks will host Georgia in two Test matches in July.

It will be the first time Georgia tour these shores, and the first time the two countries duel since their only previous meeting at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, when the Boks won 46-19.

It will also be the world champions' first Test since beating England in the Rugby World Cup final in Japan on 2 November 2019, while Jacques Nienaber will also be in charge of his first Test as head coach.

SA Rugby said in a statement that the first Test will take place on the weekend of 2/3 July, with the second clash set for a week later (9/10 July).

The Daily Maverick report added that SA Rugby also approached Japan, but the Brave Blossoms were already scheduled to face the British & Irish Lions in Edinburgh on 26 June. With Australia, France and Argentina all also occupied during the July Test window, it left 12th-ranked Georgia as the only available option left to face the Boks.

South Africa's first Test against the British & Irish Lions is scheduled for 24 July in Johannesburg.

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