The Springboks will make their much-anticipated return to international action in two July Test matches to warm up for the British & Irish Lions series.
SA Rugby on Monday confirmed that the Boks will host Georgia in a historic two-match series, which is part of a bumper World Rugby mid-year Test schedule.
The series marks the first time Georgia will tour South Africa, while the two Tests are also the first time the two countries will meet again since their only previous clash at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia.
It means Jacques Nienaber will make his debut as Springbok head coach on the weekend of 2-3 July, with the second clash set for one week later on the weekend of 9-10 July.
Those are the same weekends the Lions will be facing the Stormers and Sharks, respectively. SA Rugby will confirm the exact dates, venues and kick-off times in due course.
SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said the two-Test series against Georgia will offer the Springboks a very good opportunity to prepare for the much-anticipated Lions series.
‘Nothing beats a full-blooded international to test your skill set, readiness and ability under pressure, and we are delighted to have this opportunity before the Lions series,’ said Erasmus.
‘Jacques [Nienaber], his coaching staff and management have been working around the clock to get the team as well prepared as possible, and the Georgia series is a much-needed opportunity.’
The Springboks have not been in action since the 2019 World Cup final and withdrew from the 2020 Rugby Championship due to complications around player readiness.
‘The confirmation of the Georgian Tests, and the announcement of the Lions squad last week, have caused a lot of excitement and I am sure it will lift the spirit of the players – we can now accelerate our preparations for our return to Test rugby,’ Nienaber said.
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