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Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Picture: GONZALO FUENTES/REUTERS
Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Picture: GONZALO FUENTES/REUTERS

The Springboks will clash with Wales for a sixth time on neutral soil when they meet the Dragons in London in June.

The back-to-back world champions will return to the field for the first time since 2023’s Rugby World Cup final when they take on Wales at Twickenham for the 42nd time on June 22.

The match will serve as forerunner for the much anticipated two-Test home series against Ireland in July.

The Boks have met Wales at Twickenham before. It will be a repeat of the Boks’ 2015 World Cup quarterfinal at the same stadium, which SA won 23-19.

The Boks also played Wales in London in 1998 when the then Millennium (now Principality) Stadium was being constructed. The Boks have also met Wales in the New Zealand capital Wellington (in 2011), Washington (2018) and Yokohama (2019).

The last time the Springboks crossed paths with Wales, was in a World Cup warm-up match in Cardiff in August 2023, when they registered a record 52-16 victory.

It is the second year in a row the Boks will play a Test on neutral territory in London, after inflicting their heaviest defeat on the All Blacks with their 35-7 victory in front of an 80,827-strong crowd at Twickenham in their final World Cup warm-up match in August 2023.

The London Test will be followed by the series against Ireland in Pretoria (July 6) and Durban (July 13), and their first Test against Portugal a week later in Bloemfontein in the closing match of the incoming series.

We are thrilled to return to Twickenham in what will mark our first Test since the Rugby World Cup final in France,” said Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus.

Naturally he is excited to return to a stadium where the Boks have enjoyed spectacular recent success against England and New Zealand.

We have very fond memories of the World Cup warm-up Test we played against the All Blacks at Twickenham last year. The atmosphere and occasion were truly remarkable, and we are expecting a very similar experience in June.

Playing against Wales, who we have faced there before in an exhilarating 2015 World Cup quarterfinal, will bring back plenty of other memories as well.

We may be playing on foreign territory, but we enjoy fantastic support from the expat community in London and its surrounds, as we saw last year where most of the supporters donned green and gold, so we are really looking forward to the match.”

Though Wales suffered back-to-back defeats at the start of the Six Nations, Erasmus believes the close scorelines against Scotland and England gives the Dragons something to build on.

The Six Nations is an extremely competitive series, much like the Rugby Championship, and we have seen in the last few years what a force Wales can be,” said Erasmus.

Most of the matches between the sides dating back to 2008 have been decided by fewer than 10 points and some of those by fewer than five points. They also lost out narrowly against Scotland and England in their opening Six Nations matches, so they’ll come out guns blazing.

They are ranked eighth in the world, and progressed to the World Cup quarterfinal last year, so this will be the ideal preparation for us to switch into gear for the incoming series.”

Erasmus was pleased with the preparation behind the scenes by his new Bok coaching team and said they were raring to go. Everyone has been hard at work analysing the opposition for the international season after we finalised the new coaching team and we cannot wait to start the season.” 

Updated Springbok fixtures:

Saturday June 22: SA vs Wales (Twickenham, London)

Saturday July 6: SA vs Ireland (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)

Saturday July 13: SA vs Ireland (Kings Park, Durban)

Saturday July 20: SA vs Portugal (Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein)

Saturday August 10: Australia vs SA (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane)

Saturday August 17: Australia vs SA (Optus Stadium, Perth)

Saturday August 31: SA vs New Zealand (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

Saturday September 7: SA v New Zealand (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)

Saturday September 21: Argentina v SA (venue TBC)

Saturday September 28: SA v Argentina (Mbombela Stadium, Mbombela)

November 16/17: England v SA (Twickenham, London — date TBC)

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