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All Blacks-Springboks tours back on the table from 2026

By Ben Smith
The All Blacks perform the Haka as South African players look on ahead of the Rugby Championship international rugby match between South Africa and New Zealand at the Mbombela Stadium in Mbombela on August 6, 2022. (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE / AFP via Getty Images)

NZR and SARU have agreed to resume All Blacks and Springboks tours every four years from 2026 according to South African newspaper Rapport.


The resumption of the old style touring model is expected to be a major boost to the coffers of the host nation, rivalling the same inflow as a British & Irish Lions tour.

The first planned tour is slated for 2026 where the All Blacks would travel to South Africa for three Tests and matches against the URC club sides, the Bulls, Sharks, Lions, Stormers and a South Africa A side.

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A fourth Test match in a neutral venue, similar to the Twickenham Test played last year, is also on the table.

The last All Blacks tour of South Africa came in 1996, where New Zealand claimed a historic 2-1 series victory on South African soil for the first time.

New Zealand would then host the Springboks four years later in 2030 where a similar tour would be taken, involving matches against the Super Rugby teams.

The Rugby Championship would be put on hold during those years, with Australia and Argentina expected to make their own arrangements during that period.


The shake-up would fit into the new international calendar around the proposed Nations Championship but not count as part of the competition.

The introduction of the professional calendar originally squeezed old school tours out of the calendar, with the exception of the British & Irish Lions, but as unions look to maximise revenues, this looks to be a winner for the two traditional powers who command a large audience.

NZR CEO Mark Robinson as recently as last month shared insight into a desire to have a tour of South Africa reinstated.

“There’s been some talk around All Blacks and Springboks tours. We’re continuing to talk about those opportunities,” Robinson told Newstalk ZB’s Rugby Direct podcast.


“It potentially has some impact around the nature of what a traditional Rugby Championship looks like, so how do we work through with all the partners involved to make sure something like that can be additive for all the teams across the Sanzaar joint venture.

“It’s definitely something that’s on the radar. There’s a bit more work to do at this stage.”


Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV


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David 26 days ago

what about tours of australia and argentina and making a trip to usa while in argentina

Stephan 26 days ago

Very much interested in this, however to not push the other SANZAAR partners away just play the truncated version of the Rugby Championship as is in a world cup year. Therefore the schedule will look something like this 3 test tour (last test to count for rugby championship) and 1 test against Australia and Argentina. That is a total of 5 tests compared to the normal 6 as we are used to so no problem for player fatigue/safety.

In this way the All Blacks will still have the last test as something to play for when they are 2-0 down in the test series to not make it a dead rubber…haha (respectful joking, do not take it personal please)

ClintP 26 days ago

Snore… S.A are boring to watch , stick with the Rugby Championship and bring a northern hemisphere team down for a tour instead, I’d much rather see Ireland ,England or France.

Shaylen 26 days ago

Absolutely shocking and selfish. Australia and Argentina are long time partners. I am all for these tours but with a professional calendar it is difficult and putting the Rugby Championship on hold for those years is just giving the middle finger to the other SANZAAR partners who will have no say at all. Surely they can do this without taking out The Rugby Championship for that year. It smacks of elitism and of entitlement. This will further the divide in SANZAAR and amongst the southern nations and will lead to even more difficulties for Australia and Argentina. It will also devalue The Rugby Championship and could lead to the rivalry becoming stale while other rivalries also stagnate.

MattJH 26 days ago

Epic. It might take a tour or two, but this will become a greater priority than the World Cup for both nations. Or at the very least, as important.

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