All Blacks head coach Ian Foster says his team is keen to test themselves against the reigning world champion Springboks after not facing the South Africans since 2019.
The Springboks and All Blacks will square off twice in the now Queensland-hosted Rugby Championship. The first of those fixtures will be the 100th Test between the two teams, on 25 September in Townsville.
It will be the first time the old rivals will play against each other since their pool-stage match in the 2019 World Cup, as the Springboks had to withdraw from the 2020 Rugby Championship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There were also no fixtures between New Zealand and South African teams on a domestic front, as the 2020 Super Rugby tournament had to be called off. New Zealand Rugby then opted to form a new Super Rugby tournament with Australia, forcing South Africa to take their teams to the northern hemisphere.
Speaking after signing a new contract which will have him coach the All Blacks through to the 2023 World Cup, Foster said his team cannot wait to test themselves against the No 1-ranked team in the world.
“I understand the question about South Africa. We’re really excited about challenging ourselves against them, and hopefully on the northern-hemisphere tour against their teams,” Foster said. “That’s the bit that’s missing for us at the moment, but we can only do what we can do with the opposition we get.”
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