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Springboks statement: Confirmed November tour match with Munster

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber are taking their Springboks ‘home’ to Ireland in November after a fixture between Munster and the touring South Africans was confirmed on Wednesday. The current SA director of rugby and the Springboks head coach headed up the Irish province for a season and a half before the call came from SA Rugby for them to take over the Springboks and revive their fortunes, an appointment that resulted in the 2019 World Cup glory in Japan.

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The Munster-South African link with the Springboks was added to in recent years with the signings of Damian de Allende (who has since moved onto Japan) and RG Snyman, who worked under Johann van Grann, the ex-Springboks 2015 World Cup assistant.

The coach has since moved onto Bath but that hasn’t stopped the Springboks from arranging a match with Munster as part of their extensive November tour schedule. Pairc Ui Chaoimh, the GAA ground in Cork, is the rumoured venue for the game.

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A South African Rugby statement read: “Another midweek game has been added to the Springboks itinerary for their November tour with the announcement that the SA Select XV will face Munster in their first of two non-Test matches on their trip to the northern hemisphere in an exciting year-end expedition.

“The Springboks will play four Tests on the tour, against Ireland (in Dublin on November 5), France (in Marseille on November 12), Italy (in Genoa on November 19), and England (in London on November 26), while the SA Select XV will line up against Irish giants Munster on Thursday, November 10, at a venue yet to be determined a week before they face the Bristol Bears (November 17) at Ashton Gate in important midweek games.

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“This will be the first time in the professional era that Munster face a South African touring side, with the last encounter between the sides taking place back in 1970. Interestingly, the teams have only met three times, with the South Africans having won all those matches. The venue of the match and ticket information will be announced in due course.”

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Springboks boss Nienaber said: “Munster are a giant force in Ireland and they will offer the SA Select XV exactly the type of test we need to build combinations and player depth as we prepare for the Rugby World Cup next year. We have been working with a large squad this year so that we can give an expanded group of players a chance to stake a claim for places in the Rugby World Cup and beyond.

“By facing top opposition such as Munster and Bristol, I have no doubt we will get some of the answers we need with the international extravaganza about a year away. We haven’t had a proper rugby tour with midweek games in several years, so we are very excited about this opportunity.

“We will obviously have to be creative in how we split our management staff and players so that the Test team and SA Select XV will have everything they need to be as prepared as possible for their respective matches, but the benefits of this tour are going to massive in the development of our coaches and players.

“Obviously we will continue with our collaborative approach as management staff, and the fact that we can have virtual meetings will simplify that process. The most important aspect, however, is that we will be able to give most of the players that have been within our system and possibly a few who have been knocking on the door an opportunity to show what they can do while continuing to build their familiarity with our systems and coaching staff.”

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Munster Rugby CEO Ian Flanagan added: “We are delighted to welcome South Africa back to the province for the first time in over 50 years and we are grateful to the Irish Rugby Football Union and SA Rugby for all their assistance in making this happen.

“Munster Rugby has a proud tradition of hosting major touring sides and to face the SA Select XV during this autumn series will be a hugely exciting prospect for the club and our supporters. Now that we have the opposition and date, we are exploring venue options and will finalise supporter and ticket details as soon as possible.”

Springboks year-end tour fixtures:
Saturday, November 5: South Africa vs Ireland (Dublin – Aviva Stadium)
Thursday, November 10: SA Select XV vs Munster (venue TBC)
Saturday, November 12: South Africa v France (Marseille – Stade Vélodrome)
Thursday, November 17: SA Select XV v Bristol Bears (Bristol – Ashton Gate)
Saturday, November 19: South Africa v Italy (Luigi Ferraris Stadium, Genoa)
Saturday, November 26: South Africa v England (London – Twickenham)

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