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South Africa A

South Africa 'A' are the second national rugby union team that represent South Africa. In order of hierarchy, they sit below the senior national team, the Springboks. They regularly represent South Africa in international tournaments and they also sporadically face sides touring South Africa, such as the British and Irish Lions.

Read on to discover even more about South Africa 'A', including the side's latest results and upcoming fixtures.

The South Africa A side has historically been a development team. However, established stars of South African rugby do still play for the side when they're returning from injury and looking for match practice.

Until 2018, South Africa A were under the South Africa Under-20 team in South Africa's rugby hierarchy. However, a change to World Rugby's regulations prohibited unions from designating an under-20 team as its second 15-a-side team.

That said, the team does have some experience playing against full national teams, noticeably doing so in the 2007 and 2008 Nations Cup. During these tournaments, they faced Namibia, Romania and Georgia, as well as Argentina, the Jaguares and Italy A.

There are no set criteria for deciding who represents South Africa A. However, the team is usually used to give potential Springboks a taste of international rugby. As a result, it's a great opportunity for up-and-coming players to represent their country and push for full international selection.

In the past, several established stars of world rugby have featured for South Africa 'A'. For example, in 2017, Makazole Mapimpi and Thomas du Toit both played for the side before they were selected in South Africa's 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning squad.

The upcoming South Africa 'A' side that will face the British and Irish Lions in 2021 remains unknown. However, because South Africa haven't played a test since the 2019 World Cup final, it's expected that several South African stars may feature for the side in order to gain match practice before the tests. 

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