Boks and All Blacks set to clash in Nelspruit and Johannesburg in 2022

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Boks and All Blacks set to clash in Nelspruit and Johannesburg in 2022
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The All Blacks will return to South Africa for the first time in four years to take on the world champions Springboks in two clashes as part of the 2022 Rugby Championship in August.

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The Springboks, currently ranked as the world’s No 1 team, will face the All Blacks in Nelspruit and Johannesburg on 6 and 13 August. It’s the first time since 2018 the All Blacks will play in South Africa.

The 6 August clash at the Mbombela Stadium, will be the first time that rugby’s two superpowers meet in Nelspruit. In an unprecedented sequence, the last three meetings between the Boks and All Blacks have been in Yokohama, Townsville and Gold Coast. The Nelspruit Test will be the first time since Wellington in 2019 that either side has played at home.

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The Boks have only played three previous Tests at the Mbombela Stadium, winning them all, against Scotland in 2013 (30-17), Wales in 2014 (31-30) and Argentina in 2016 (30-23).

The international season starts with a three-Test tour by Wales to the country in July. The Dragons have never beaten the Springboks in South Africa in 10 previous meetings but came agonisingly close on their last visit in 2014 when a last-minute penalty try rescued the Boks in Nelspruit.

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The three Tests against Wales will take place in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town on 2, 9 and 16 July. It will serve as a tough precursor to the Rugby Championship and in particular, the two-Test visit by the All Blacks.

The Rugby Championship continues after New Zealand’s visit with further matches in Australia and Argentina. The Boks face the Wallabies twice in venues yet to be decided, before flying on to Buenos Aires to meet the Pumas at the Velez Sarsfield Stadium where they have met three times previously. The Boks have won each of those clashes.

Argentina then comes to South Africa for one match at King’s Park in Durban to conclude the 2022 Rugby Championship.

While there is relief that SA Rugby were able to reveal such a strong home schedule, chief executive Jurie Roux did so with caution.

“It’s exciting to announce such a strong list of Springbok fixtures this season after a successful 2021 season for the team, and I have no doubt that Jacques Nienaber (Springbok coach), his management team and the players will do their best to build on those achievements this season,” said Roux.

“Pending the return of crowds to our Tests and with the Covid-19 pandemic still presenting challenges throughout the world, we understand the fluid nature of match schedules. But it is important for us that the team face quality opposition as we gear up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.”

Nienaber was equally excited about the season and said: “It’s a massive honour to represent our country, and the fact that we will be facing such tough competition this season has certainly sparked excitement among the coaches and the players alike.

“We are well underway with our planning for the year, and our knowledge of these teams after facing all of them last season will be vital as we forge ahead in this regard in the next few months.

“Wales, the All Blacks and Australia tested us well last season, and Argentina have proven to be a force to be reckoned with, both at home and away, so although we are expecting a challenging season, we realise the importance of laying a solid foundation as we build up toward next year’s Rugby World Cup.”

The Springboks defeated Wales 23-18 in the opening match in Cardiff last year, while they had mixed results against the All Blacks, going down 19-17 in Townsville before registering a 31-29 victory in their final Rugby Championship match in Gold Coast.

Nienaber’s charges won both matches against Argentina in the competition — by 32-12 and 29-10 in Nelson Mandela Bay — but they went down to Australia last year (28-26 in Gold Coast and 30-17 in Brisbane).

Incoming Series fixtures (kick-off times TBC):

Saturday, 2 July: Springboks v Wales — Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Saturday, 9 July: Springboks v Wales — Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein

Saturday, 16 July: Springboks v Wales — DHL Stadium, Cape Town

Rugby Championship fixtures (kick-off times TBC):

Saturday, 6 August: Springboks v New Zealand — Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Saturday, 13 August: Springboks v New Zealand — Ellis Park, Johannesburg

Saturday, 27 August: Springboks v Australia — venue TBC

Saturday, 3 September: Springboks v Australia — venue TBC

Saturday, 17 September: Springboks v Argentina — Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires

Saturday, 24 September: Springboks v Argentina — Kings Park, Durban

DM

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