SA Rugby has reportedly attempted to secure a Test match against the All Blacks as a warm-up for the upcoming British & Irish Lions series.
On Monday, SA Rugby confirmed that the Springboks will be hosting Georgia in a two-Test series in July.
It will be the first time the defending world champions are in action since 2019 and the Tests would be their final preparation for the Lions series.
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 World Cup in Australia.
Following the announcement, concerns were raised over whether 12th-ranked Georgia would provide the Springboks with enough of a test before the high-intensity series against the Lions.
However, according to a report in the Daily Maverick, SA Rugby was close to an agreement with New Zealand Rugby to have the Springboks face the All Blacks in Dubai.
The report states that the proposal was taken seriously by NZ Rugby, but ultimately fell through due to complications around the July Test schedule and quarantine restrictions.
The All Blacks are scheduled to face Fiji in a two-Test series starting on 10 July. New Zealand’s Covid-19 protocols would have require the All Blacks to quarantine for 14 days after returning to the country from their match against the Springboks, meaning that they would not have been able to fulfil their commitments to face Fiji.
SA Rugby also reportedly approached Japan, but they were already scheduled to face the British & Irish Lions in Edinburgh. With Australia, France and Argentina all also occupied during the July Test window, that left Georgia as the only available option left to face the Springboks.
On the plus side for the Springboks, a number of Georgia players – especially their props – are highly valued in Europe and currently play in France’s Top 14 or ProD2. The Boks could expect their set piece to be put through a rigourous acid test before coming up against the Lions.
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