SA Rugby on Tuesday confirmed the venues for the SIX Springbok home Tests in 2022 – and there was one big-name casualty.
Mzansi has four ‘main’ rugby venues and cities: Pretoria (Loftus Versfeld), Johannesburg (Ellis Park), Durban (Hollywoodbets Kings Park) and Cape Town (Cape Town Stadium).
So whenever there are more than four Tests scheduled for any given year, the scramble is on for other venues to say ‘pick me’!
The four abovementioned stadiums will all get to host matches this year and the remaining two Tests have been allocated to the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein (second Test v Wales) and Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium (1st Rugby Championship Test v All Blacks).
That leaves the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha as the biggest absentee from the list of venues in the coming months.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium did host back-to-back Rugby Championship Tests last year against Argentina and hopefully it won’t be too long before they are back on the rotation.
In a press release on Tuesday, SA Rugby confirmed that the Springboks are scheduled to face Wales in three Tests in July, before hosting the All Blacks and Argentina in the Rugby Championship in August and September
The away leg of the Rugby Championship will comprise of three Test matches – two against Australia, and one against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
Wales are set to return to South Africa for the first time since 2014 as the Springboks kick off their 2022 season with three Tests against the Dragons – at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on 2 July, Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein (9 July) and the Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town (16 July).
The Springboks will then launch the home leg of their Rugby Championship campaign three weeks later with back-to-back home Tests against the All Blacks – at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on 6 August, and a week later at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 13 August.
They will then depart for Australia for the away leg of the competition where they will meet the Wallabies on 27 August and again a week later, on 3 September (both venues to be confirmed), before their third away match against Argentina at Vélez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires on 17 September.
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The Springboks will conclude their Rugby Championship campaign with a home Test against Los Pumas at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban on 24 September.
Springbok mid-year fixtures (kick-off times TBC):
Saturday, 2 July: Springboks v Wales – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Saturday, 9 July: Springboks v Wales – Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Saturday, 16 July: Springboks v Wales – Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Rugby Championship fixtures (kick-off times TBC):
Saturday, 6 August: Springboks v New Zealand – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Saturday, 13 August: Springboks v New Zealand – Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Saturday, 27 August: Springboks v Australia – venue TBC
Saturday, 3 September: Springboks v Australia – venue TBC
Saturday, 17 September: Springboks v Argentina – Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
Saturday, 24 September: Springboks v Argentina – Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban