Springboks break Rugby Championship hiatus against the Pumas
Argentina will be the opponents when the Springboks break their Rugby Championship hiatus in August.
The Boks‚ who did not play in last year’s abbreviated tournament that was hosted in Australia‚ will start with two home Tests against Los Pumas‚ before embarking on a four-match tour of Australasia according to the schedule announced on Friday.
The two Tests against Argentina will be the only Rugby Championship Tests played in SA in this year’s 12-match tournament. Argentina will not host any Tests while five each are earmarked for Australia and New Zealand.
The match schedule has been amended to accommodate the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic‚ including continued international travel restrictions and government quarantine protocols that exist within the member union territories.
It was hoped that the 2021 Rugby Championship‚ as announced last year‚ would comprise the four national teams playing each other on a home or away basis through a new mini-tour match schedule.
However‚ the pandemic makes this impossible at present.
According to the 2021 schedule‚ the Springboks open their campaign against Argentina on Saturday‚ August 14‚ a week after the conclusion of the series against the British & Irish Lions‚ before the second Test against the Pumas on August 21‚ thereafter travelling to Australia.
Next on the fixture list are the Wallabies‚ on September 11 and 18‚ before the Springboks conclude their commitments with two Tests against the All Blacks in New Zealand on consecutive weekends — September 25 and October 2.
Those Tests will mark 100 years of rivalry between two of the game's traditional foes.
Rassie Erasmus‚ director of rugby‚ said the Springboks are delighted at resuming combat with their southern hemisphere opponents.
“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‚” Erasmus said.
“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 back yard 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 series against the Lions‚ 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.”
All the match venues and kickoff times will be announced by the host nations in due course.
The 2021 Rugby Championship draw (host country in brackets):
- Saturday‚ August 14: Springboks v Argentina (South Africa)
- Saturday‚ August 21: Argentina v Springboks (South Africa)‚ Australia v New Zealand (Australia)*
- Saturday‚ August 28: New Zealand v Australia (New Zealand)*
- Saturday‚ September 11: New Zealand v Argentina (New Zealand)‚ Springboks v Australia (Australia)
- Saturday‚ September 18: Argentina v New Zealand (New Zealand)‚ Australia v Springboks (Australia)
- Saturday‚ September 25: New Zealand v Springboks (New Zealand)‚ Australia v Argentina (Australia)
- Saturday‚ October 2: Springboks v New Zealand (New Zealand)‚ Argentina v Australia (Australia)
* doubles as Bledisloe Cup Tests