Georgia to tour South Africa in major boost to rugby
The Springboks will return to International action in July against Georgia, after almost two years in the covid-19-enforced wilderness.
The World Champions have had plenty of time to bask in their status as the best in the business, despite last playing in November 2019, when they defeated England 32-12 in the final of the World Cup.
But the commitment from Georgia will see them tour South Africa for the first time for a two-match Test series, in what will be just the second time the two countries have played.
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While the exact dates are yet to be set in stone, Rugby South Africa said the first Test would be on the weekend of July 2, while the next match would be the following weekend.
The announcement of Georgia’s tour comes hot on the heels of the British Lions announcing their Test squad for the series against South Africa later this year.
Rugby South Africa director Rassie Erasmus said the two-Test series against Georgia offered the Springboks a 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 after such a long and unforeseen interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Last year, Nienaber was named as Springboks head coach, but the worldwide pandemic has prevented the Rugby World Cup champions from playing any Test matches since 2 November 2019, when they defeated England in the final in Japan.
“The confirmation of the Georgian Tests, and the announcement of the British & Irish 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,” he said.
There are no odds available for the South Africa v Georgia fixtures yet, with betting markets expected to be released by SA bookmakers when dates for the fixtures are announced.
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