The Springboks will kick off a bumper 2023 season against Australia in Pretoria in July in the opening round of the shortened Castle Lager Rugby Championship and will face Argentina in Johannesburg in their final match on home soil before the build-up to their Rugby World Cup defence starts.
In August, the Boks will travel to Argentina to take on the Pumas before facing Wales and the All Blacks in Rugby World Cup warm-up matches in Cardiff and London in the final build-up to the global showpiece in France, which kicks off on the second weekend in September.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber’s charges will kick off the international season on Saturday, 8 July, with their opening Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, before travelling to New Zealand to face the All Blacks on Saturday, 17 July.
They will return to South Africa to wrap up their campaign against the Pumas at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg two weeks later, on Saturday, 29 July.
This will mark the first time since 2016 that the Boks host Australia in Pretoria, and the first time since 2013 that they take on Argentina in in Johannesburg, with South Africa having won both those fixtures, by 18-10 and 73-13 respectively.
The away match against Argentina is scheduled for Saturday, 5 August before they take on Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, 19 August, and a second Test against New Zealand at Twickenham on Friday, 25 August.
South Africa will launch their Rugby World Cup title defence on Sunday, 10 September, against Scotland in Marseille, which will be followed by pool matches against Romania in Bordeaux (17 September), Ireland in Paris (23 September) and Tonga in Marseille (1 October).
The Rugby World Cup quarter-finals will be played on the weekend of 14/15 October, with the semi-finals on 20/21 October and the final on Saturday, 28 October.
“Loftus Versfeld and Emirates Airline Park are iconic stadiums, and we thoroughly enjoy the fanatic support from the home crowds at these venues, so we are thrilled to start off what is a vital season for the team at these stadiums,” said Nienaber.
“These Castle Lager Rugby Championship matches are going to be crucial as we look to get our Rugby World Cup season off to a good start and playing against New Zealand away and Australia and Argentina on the highveld will be ideal for our preparation.
“All three sides will enter the international spectacle in France among a handful of teams that will be considered potential contenders for the title, so we are expecting a thorough test throughout the campaign.”
SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus added that the match against the Pumas in Argentina ties in nicely with their RWC preparations: “Playing against Argentina in South America is unique as they have a very passionate home crowd that brings the best out of their team, so that environment will serve as good preparation for our team with an eye on the Rugby World Cup, especially after getting a taste of the atmosphere we can expect at the international extravaganza in our match against France in Marseille last November.”
Nienaber said the national coaches have been hard at work with their planning for the international season where they will look to build on an encouraging 2022 season: “The coaches have hit the ground running this year and we’ll continue to put in the hard yards as we attempt to ensure that we leave no stone unturned before the World Cup.
“We are on course in terms of finalising our planning for the season and we are excited about returning to the training field,” added the Springbok coach.
An announcement on the venues of the Tests in New Zealand and Argentina, as well as the Boks’ training camps will be made in due course.
Springbok 2023 fixtures:
Castle Lager Rugby Championship:
Springboks vs Australia – Saturday, 8 July | Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Springboks vs New Zealand – Saturday, 15 July | venue TBC
Springboks vs Argentina – Saturday, 29 July | Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
RWC warm-up fixtures:
Springboks v Argentina – Saturday, 5 August | venue TBC
Springboks vs Wales – Saturday, 19 August | Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Springboks vs New Zealand – Friday, 25 August | Twickenham, London
RWC pool fixtures:
Springboks v Scotland – Sunday, 10 September | Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Springboks v Romania – Sunday, 17 September | Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
Springboks v Ireland – Saturday, 23 September | Stade de France, Paris
Springboks v Tonga – Sunday, 1 October | Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Quarter-finals – Weekend of 14/15 October
Semi-finals – Weekend of 21/22 October
Final – Saturday, 28 October