Springbok fixtures locked in: World champions face All Blacks twice before title defence

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Lukhanyo Am. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
Lukhanyo Am. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

The Springboks' fixture list for the 2023 season was finalised by SA Rugby on Wednesday.

The Boks will face arch-rivals New Zealand twice - away in the Rugby Championship and in a World Cup warm-up match in London.

SA Rugby also confirmed the Boks' home venues in a shortened Rugby Championship. The world champions will kick off their season against Australia on 8 July at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

They will then travel to New Zealand to tackle the All Blacks at a yet-to-be-determined venue on 15 July, before returning to South Africa to host Argentina at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 29 July.

READ | Etzebeth dissects Boks' World Cup prospects: 'If we bring our A-game, we'll have a big shot'

"Loftus Versfeld and Ellis Park are iconic stadiums, and we thoroughly enjoy the fanatic support from the home crowds at these venues, so we are thrilled to start off what is a vital season for the team at these stadiums," Bok coach Jacques Nienaber said in a statement.

"These Rugby Championship matches are going to be crucial as we look to get our Rugby World Cup season off to a good start and playing against New Zealand away and Australia and Argentina on the highveld will be ideal for our preparation.

"All three sides will enter the international spectacle in France among a handful of teams that will be considered potential contenders for the title, so we are expecting a thorough test throughout the campaign."

Nienaber's charges will also play World Cup warm-up matches away to Argentina (venue TBA, 5 August) and Wales (Cardiff, 19 August), before the second encounter against the All Blacks at Twickenham (25 August). 

SA Rugby's Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, added that the match against the Pumas in Argentina would boost their World Cup preparations.

"Playing against Argentina in South America is unique as they have a very passionate home crowd that brings the best out of their team, so that environment will serve as good preparation for our team with an eye on the Rugby World Cup, especially after getting a taste of the atmosphere we can expect at the international extravaganza in our match against France in Marseille last November," Erasmus said.

Nienaber added that the Bok coaches were already hard at work for the 2023 Test season

"The coaches have hit the ground running this year and we'll continue to put in the hard yards as we attempt to ensure that we leave no stone unturned before the World Cup.

"We are on course in terms of finalising our planning for the season and we are excited about returning to the training field," said the Springbok coach.

At the World Cup, the Springboks will contest Pool B alongside Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, and Romania.

Their first match is against Scotland in Marseille on 10 September, followed by games against Romania (Bordeaux, 17 September), Ireland (Paris, 23 September) and Tonga (Marseille, 1 October).

Springbok 2023 fixtures:

Rugby Championship:

Saturday, 8 July - Springboks v Australia (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)

Saturday, 15 July - New Zealand v Springboks (venue TBA)

Saturday, 29 July - Springboks v Argentina (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

RWC warm-up fixtures:

Saturday, 5 August - Argentina v Springboks (venue TBA)

Saturday, 19 August - Wales v Springboks (Principality Stadium, Cardiff)

Friday, 25 August - Springboks v New Zealand (Twickenham, London)

RWC pool fixtures:

Sunday, 10 September - Springboks v Scotland (Stade Velodrome, Marseille)

Sunday, 17 September - Springboks v Romania (Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux)

Saturday, 23 September - Springboks v Ireland (Stade de France, Paris)

Sunday, 1 October - Springboks v Tonga (Stade Velodrome, Marseille)

Weekend of 14/15 October - Quarter-finals

Weekend of 21/22 October - Semi-finals

Saturday, 28 October - Final

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