In a significant announcement made last Friday, South Africa, the reigning world champions in rugby, are set to play an unprecedented Test match against Portugal. This historic encounter is scheduled to take place in Bloemfontein on July 20. It marks the first time these two teams will face each other in a Test match, highlighting a new chapter in the sport’s history.
Portugal’s Rising Profile in Rugby
The selection of Portugal as an opponent is noteworthy, considering their recent performance in international rugby. The Portuguese team, often overshadowed by more prominent rugby nations, has made headlines with their impressive display during the last World Cup. They managed to secure a victory against Fiji, who were quarter-finalists, in their final pool game. Additionally, their performances against Georgia, Wales, and Australia, although resulting in defeats, were commendable and showcased their growing prowess in the sport.
South Africa’s Home Test Schedule
The match against Portugal is a significant part of South Africa’s home Test schedule. The Springboks will commence their series with two back-to-back Tests against Ireland. These matches are set for Pretoria and Durban on July 6 and 13, respectively. Following the Ireland Tests, the team will gear up for the much-anticipated match against Portugal.
Upcoming Challenges for the Springboks
Post the Portugal Test, the Springboks have a challenging schedule ahead. They are set to compete against New Zealand in the Rugby Championship, with two Tests planned in Johannesburg and Cape Town on August 31 and September 7. Subsequently, the team will take on Argentina in Nelspruit on September 28.
A Statement of Pride and Anticipation
Rassie Erasmus, the Boks’ director of rugby, expressed excitement about the upcoming match in Bloemfontein. He stated:
“We are delighted that we will be returning to Bloemfontein for this historic match, and we are determined to continue to make our passionate supporters proud.”
This statement reflects the enthusiasm and anticipation surrounding this unique fixture in the rugby calendar, not just for the team but also for the supporters who eagerly await this historic sporting event.