Sport

Boks in back-to-back matches against All Blacks in Rugby Championship

Boks in back-to-back matches against All Blacks in Rugby Championship

A touch of familiarity was restored to the Springboks’ playing roster when the Rugby Championship fixtures were unveiled on Thursday.

They will again open their tournament against Argentina, but this time in Brisbane.

Usually that fixture is played on South African soil but this year’s tournament will take place in its entirety in Australia due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Boks will engage Los Pumas in an ‘away’ match in Queensland before they tackle the Wallabies in what will be considered a ‘home’ match in Sydney.

Of course, the Boks’ participation in the event still has to be confirmed but Sanzaar has revealed the intended playing schedule for the 12-match, six-week tournament, which will take place in Australia (in Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney) between November 7 and December 12.

The Springboks are due to play back-to-back matches against New Zealand. They play ‘away’ in Sydney before ‘hosting’ the same opponents in Newcastle before the tournament returns to Sydney for the final two rounds.

The last time the Boks played New Zealand on Australian soil, they suffered an ignominious Rugby World Cup exit in Melbourne in 2003.

SA Rugby said in a statement South Africa’s participation remains conditional on the relaxation of the government’s current ban on international sporting participation and the outcome of assessments of high performance and player welfare issues.

Sanzaar explained the incoming teams (Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa) would be required to observe all health regulations around their squads as imposed by the New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland governments.

The teams will be kept separate by operating within a ‘bubble’ during this period with all teams operating in clean environments controlled by NSW police. The wellness of the squads will be continually monitored in line with NSW heath requirements.

Sanzaar chief executive Andy Marinos said: “It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but we are delighted that we can now confirm the match dates and venues for The Rugby Championship 2020.

“The Rugby Championship is one of the game’s showpiece events and includes some of the best rugby talent in the world.

“The six double-header Saturdays are a first for the tournament and will produce an exciting feast of rugby for spectators at the venues who will actually be getting two world-class international Tests for the price of one entry ticket.

“Thanks to our committed family of broadcasters this action will also be delivered to the living rooms of our overseas rugby fans providing a rugby feast similar to what we experienced a year ago with the Rugby World Cup,” added Marinos.

Kick-off times for the double-header matches will be announced in due course.

The Rugby Championship 2020 fixtures

Round One – Saturday, November 7

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Argentina v South Africa

Australia v New Zealand

Round Two – Saturday, November 14

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

New Zealand v Argentina

South Africa v Australia

Round Three – Saturday, November 21

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

New Zealand v South Africa

Australia v Argentina

Round Four – Saturday, November 28

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Argentina v Australia

South Africa v New Zealand

Round Five – Saturday, December 5

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

Argentina v New Zealand

Australia v South Africa

Round Six – Saturday, December 12

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

South Africa v Argentina

Australia v New Zealand