Springboks to host emerging Portugal in Bloemfontein in July
The Springboks will play their first ever Test against Portugal in Bloemfontein as part of their inbound series in July.
The back-to-back world champions will play at home for the first time since they claimed the Rugby World Cup (RWC) against Ireland in Pretoria on July 6 followed by the second Test in Durban a week later.
The last time they played in Bloemfontein, in 2022, they fielded an understrength team and Wales took advantage by recording their first ever win over the Boks on South African soil.
The Boks, who will have to start a rebuilding phase in preparation for the next RWC, will likely again deploy an experimental side to take on Portugal, who captured the imagination of the rugby world at last year's RWC.
They beat higher ranked Fiji and drew with Georgia in the pool stages of the tournament and delivered creditable performances against Wales and Australia, but it was their fearless, attacking brand of rugby that captured hearts and minds in France.
Portugal are expected to provide feisty opposition before the Springboks try to win the Rugby Championship for the first time since 2019.
“We are delighted we will be returning to Bloemfontein for this historic match, and we are determined to continue to make our passionate supporters proud,” said SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.
“With the venue confirmed we can go full steam ahead with our planning for the home Tests from an operational perspective.
“There’s no doubt it has added to the excitement for the season ahead, especially after capping off the 2023 season by defending the Rugby World Cup title.”
The Springboks will be away for two Tests in Australia in August and will also play Los Pumas in Argentina.
They then return home for Tests against the All Blacks in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
They close their domestic programme with a Test against Argentina in Mbombela.
Springboks’ home Tests:
July 6: SA v Ireland (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
July 13: SA v Ireland (Kings Park, Durban)
July 20 : SA v Portugal (Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein)
August 31: SA v New Zealand (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)
September 7: SA v New Zealand (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)
September 28: SA v Argentina (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.