Wales confirm Springbok Test
March 2, 2010
Wales will face South Africa in June at the Millennium Stadium © Getty Images
Wales will face South Africa at the Millennium Stadium on June 5 before travelling to New Zealand for a two Test series against the All Blacks.
The game will commemorate the June 1999 fixture between the teams, which opened the Millennium Stadium and also brought Wales' sole Test victory over the Springboks thanks to tries from Gareth Thomas and Mark Taylor.
Warren Gatland's men will leave for New Zealand the following day before playing Tests on June 19 and 26 as they begin preparations for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
"I am delighted the Springboks have agreed to come to Wales in June to celebrate ten great seasons of rugby at the Millennium Stadium," WRU chief Roger Lewis said. "It shows how much respect the South Africans have for Wales in that they are prepared to break new ground in agreeing to this fixture.
"This will undoubtedly be the showcase rugby occasion of the summer in the northern hemisphere and is a great coup for Wales. The Millennium Stadium crowd will also be able to give Wales a rousing send off for their summer tour to New Zealand. We are now seriously building towards next year's Rugby World Cup and Welsh fans can be certain that our international fixture list from now on will fully reflect the importance of that process. Warren Gatland wants his team to face the best and we have worked tirelessly to ensure we deliver on that wish in the months ahead."
The Springboks will fly to Wales for the game before returning to Cape Town to face France, with South African Rugby Union chief Oregan Hoskins pleased to honour the fixture but wary of the repercussions that the extra fixture, the 14th in the Boks' season, could have ahead of their Tri-Nations defence.
"We acknowledge that the clash is untimely given the tough Bok schedule in the build-up to the World Cup," he told Business Day. "But the Welsh Rugby Union begged us in honour of the Test 10 years ago in which the Boks opened up the Millennium Stadium. It means a lot to them and we didn't want to let them down."