Cape Town — The Springboks will play their first Test matches since lifting the World Cup in November 2019 when they host Georgia for two Tests in July as a warm-up for the British & Irish Lions series, a major boost to new head coach Jacques Nienaber.

SA has been hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic among the world’s leading rugby nations, with limited domestic action and a national side that has been idle since the start of the global crisis.  

There were fears that they would go into the Lions series, which will feature three Tests from July 24 to August 7, without any international warm-up fixtures due to SA remaining on the “red list” for travel of a number of countries.

But they will host Georgia at the weekends of July 2-3 and 9-10, with the exact venues and dates to be announced shortly, SA Rugby said on Monday.

“Jacques, 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,” Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said.

The Boks and Georgia have only met once before in senior international competition, with the Boks running out 46-19 winners in the group stage at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia.

The teams had been due to meet in SA in 2020, but the match was cancelled due to the pandemic. 



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