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Springboks fly out Thursday for first away matches in 22 months

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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The Springboks, the 2019 Rugby Championship title winners, will fly to Australia on Thursday to prepare for their first away matches next month since being crowned World Cup champions in November 2019. South Africa took the world by storm in Japan nearly two years ago but the pandemic has meant that the six Test matches they have played since then have all been at home against Georgia, the Lions and Argentina. 

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Having opted out of last year’s Rugby Championship, which was staged in Australia, due to fears about their players not being conditioned enough after the sport in South Africa had ground to a halt due to the pandemic, the Springboks are now more than ready to complete a 2021 campaign that commenced in recent weeks with back-to-back wins over Argentina in Port Elizabeth. 

Amid continuing concerns over Covid-19 and travel restrictions, SANZAAR decided that the remaining four rounds of the Championship would be best played in the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Townsville.

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The Springboks, who haven’t played an away match in the Rugby Championship since defeating Argentina in Salta in August 2019 to win that year’s title, will kick off the away leg of their 2021 campaign against Australia on Sunday, September 12, in the Gold Coast which will be followed by another match-up between the teams in Brisbane six days later. 

These fixtures will be followed by back-to-back matches against New Zealand on Saturday, September 25, in Townsville and Saturday, October 2, in the Gold Coast. The matches were initially scheduled to be hosted in Sydney, Brisbane, Dunedin and Auckland respectively.

Each round will feature a double-header of matches between the four participating teams at the same venue – and fans will be allowed to attend the matches. “We’re pleased that the Castle Lager Rugby Championship match schedule has been finalised and we are looking forward to continuing our campaign in Australia,” said Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber.

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“We can now continue our planning to ensure that the players are ready for the next four matches from a physical and mental point of view and we are excited about facing our old foes Australia and New Zealand again after kicking off the tournament well against Argentina.”

The Springboks and Pumas will travel to Australia together on Thursday afternoon and both teams will be placed in quarantine for two weeks before taking the field, after which they will then operate normally in Australia with no restrictions being placed on their movements.

Despite being in quarantine, the Boks will be allowed to train as they have been in South Africa since the start of the Lions series. “The two-week quarantine period means we will be on tour for just under six weeks, but we are looking forward to experiencing normal life after a year-and-a-half of living under several forms of adjusted Covid-19 restrictions in South Africa,” said Nienaber.

“This will certainly assist in ensuring that the players are fresh mentally when they take the field, which is essential for them to peak in form.” The Springboks have had Monday and Tuesday off to rest and recover from the physically and mentally taxing schedule of the last two months.

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UPDATED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Round One – August 14
New Zealand 57 Australia 22 (Eden Park, Auckland)
Springboks 32 Argentina 12 (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Nelson Mandela Bay)

Round Two – August 21
Argentina 10 Springboks 29 (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Nelson Mandela Bay)
TBC: Australia v New Zealand (Optus Stadium, Perth)

Round Three – September 12 (CBUS Super Stadium, Gold Coast)
New Zealand v Argentina
Springboks v Australia

Round Four – September 18 (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane)
Argentina v New Zealand
Australia v Springboks

Round Five – September 25 (QLD Country Bank Stadium, Townsville)
New Zealand v Springboks
Australia v Argentina

Round Six – October 2 (CBUS Super Stadium, Gold Coast)
Springboks v New Zealand
Argentina v Australia

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Springboks fly out Thursday for first away matches in 22 months

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