Springboks to close out Rugby Championship with 2 away Tests in New Zealand

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All Blacks v Springboks. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
All Blacks v Springboks. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
  • The Springboks will conclude the 2021 Rugby Championship with two Tests against the All Blacks in New Zealand.
  • The world champions open their account with two matches at home against Argentina and will also play two games against the Wallabies in Australia.
  • It's a tough conclusion to the competition for the Boks, who will have played four consecutive away Tests against the Wallabies and All Blacks.

The Springboks will close out the 2021 Rugby Championship with two matches against the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Tournament organisers Sanzaar confirmed the schedule on Friday, with the Boks to play two home matches against Argentina in August, before embarking on a four-match tour of Australasia.

This year's 12-match tournament will see two matches played in South Africa, five in Australia and five in New Zealand.

The Tests in South Africa will see Argentina play the Springboks twice before both teams head to Australia and New Zealand for the remainder of the tournament.

The world champions will play two Tests against the Wallabies in Australia - on 11 September at a yet-to-be-determined venue and Perth on 18 September.

The Boks then face the daunting task of facing their arch-rivals, the All Blacks, in Dunedin (25 September) and Auckland (2 October).

This means the South Africans will play four consecutive away Tests against the Wallabies and All Blacks.

It was hoped that the Rugby Championship would comprise the four national teams playing each other on a home or away basis through a new mini-tour match schedule.

However, the coronavirus pandemic makes this impossible at present and as a result, the 12-match tournament will be played in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, with the Springboks making their return to the competition after missing out in 2020, when all the matches were hosted in Australia.

Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby's director of rugby, said in a statement that playing the All Blacks in New Zealand would be a "massive challenge".

"Following the unfortunate Covid-related disruptions of last year, we are very much looking forward to resume playing against the Pumas, Wallabies and the All Blacks," said Erasmus.

"There is a great rivalry between us, but we also have a lot of respect for each other and have built good friendships over many years of southern hemisphere competition.

"Playing the All Blacks in their backyard is a massive challenge, Argentina showed their growing stature last year while the Wallabies are always tough opponents, especially on their home turf."

Following two home internationals against Georgia and the three-Test British & Irish Lions series, the Tests against Argentina will give Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber his first bite of southern hemisphere action.

"The two Tests against Argentina take the number of Springbok home matches this year to seven, which makes it an exciting but challenging home programme for us," said Nienaber.

"We are grateful to all involved, at Sanzaar and SA Rugby, for the hard work being done to make this all possible, keeping in mind all the current pandemic difficulties." 

Sanzaar CEO Brendan Morris explained the current competition format was agreed upon by members with the restrictions as a result of the pandemic in mind.

"We have worked tirelessly with the national unions through the continued difficulties associated with the pandemic," said Morris.

"This includes ongoing international border travel restrictions, quarantine protocols and player welfare concerns. Therefore, we have been unable to roll out the previously agreed mini-tour format as we simply cannot play matches in Argentina at present due to the impact of the pandemic."

Morris added: "The exciting news is that we do welcome back South Africa to the Rugby Championship after a difficult 2020 when the pandemic made it impossible for them to participate.

"The Springboks are the reigning world champions and it will be fantastic for rugby fans to see them play once again in this prestigious tournament. As last year the Pumas will play all their matches away from home and we thank them once again for their understanding in this regard."

2021 Rugby Championship schedule:

Saturday, August 14

- Springboks v Argentina in South Africa

Saturday, August 21

- Argentina v Springboks in South Africa

- Australia v New Zealand in Perth

Saturday, August 28

- New Zealand v Australia in Wellington

Saturday, September 11

- New Zealand v Argentina in Auckland

- Springboks v Australia in Australia

Saturday, September 18

- Argentina v New Zealand in Wellington

- Australia v Springboks in Brisbane

Saturday, September 25

- New Zealand v Springboks in Dunedin

- Australia v Argentina in Australia

Saturday, October 2

- Springboks v New Zealand in Auckland

- Argentina v Australia in Australia

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Having lost the first Test against the British & Irish Lions, can the Springboks recover to win the series?
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