"Double Header" - Springboks, Wales, Fiji and Barbarians All Set for Twickenham Return this Summer - Ruck

“Double Header” – Springboks, Wales, Fiji and Barbarians All Set for Twickenham Return this Summer

Four heavyweights of world rugby will grace the Twickenham Stadium turf in an historic double header of fixtures on Saturday 22 June 2024, with a clash between South Africa and Wales (K.O. 2pm) now confirmed and to follow Barbarians vs Fiji (K.O. 5:15pm).

Back-to-back (or ‘Bokke-to-Bokke) World Cup champions South Africa have gone toe-to-toe with Wales at Twickenham Stadium only once before; with the Springboks edging a scintillating Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash 23-19 back in 2015, thanks to a late try from scrum-half Fourie du Preez. This will be the 42nd meeting in total between the sides, with South Africa victorious on 33 occasions so far.

For the world champion Springboks, it will be a first return to action since they lifted the Webb Ellis Cup at the Stade de France back in October, beating New Zealand 12-11 in a tense Rugby World Cup 2023 final. Rassie Erasmus’ side, who top the world rankings, will be preparing for a mouth-watering home series against Ireland in July.

The match against Wales also marks a return to Twickenham Stadium for South Africa, following the Springboks’ spectacular appearance at the venue last summer as they swept the All Blacks aside to claim the Qatar Airways Cup. South Africa were in imperious form on their last visit to HQ, warming up for their Rugby World Cup 2023 campaign in front of a capacity crowd with a 35-7 win to record their largest-ever victory over New Zealand.

Kurt-Lee Arendse of South Africa and Tupou Vaa’i of New Zealand chase down the ball during the Test Match between New Zealand and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on August 25th 2023. – PHOTO: George Beck/PPAUK

To add to the hype of this exciting summer Test match, Saturday 22 June 2024, is 50 years to the day since Willie John McBride’s British & Irish Lions beat the Springboks in the 2nd Test, of the famous undefeated Tour to South Africa. Welsh winger J.J Williams scored the game’s only two tries that day, in a team which featured the legendary Welsh fullback J.P.R. Williams, who passed earlier this year.

“We are thrilled to return to Twickenham in what will mark our first Test since the Rugby World Cup 2023 final in France,” said Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus. “We have very fond memories of the RWC 23 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.

Rassie Erasmus, South Africa Director of Rugby during the Test Match between New Zealand and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on August 25th 2023. – PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

“The fact that we’re facing Wales, who we have faced there before in an exhilarating Rugby World Cup 2015 Quarter-final, 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, so we are really looking forward to the match.”

Meanwhile, Wales will also be gearing up for their own summer tour, with Warren Gatland’s side heading Down Under to face Australia in July after taking on South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday 22 June.

Speaking about Wales’ summer schedule Gatland said: “I’m incredibly excited about the fixture list for Wales this summer.

“To have the opportunity for our young squad to test itself against the world champions at a neutral venue is an extremely important experience and something that we will relish. It should also be a great occasion for the fans and something a little bit different for them.

Warren Gatland, Head Coach of Wales is interviewed during the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Media Launch at County Hall, Lambeth, London on Monday 23rd January 2023 | Photo: James Fearn/PPAUK.

“We’re also excited for the opportunity we have with our two Tests in Australia in July. We know the Wallabies will be hurting after Rugby World Cup but Australia is a tough place to go and play rugby and we’re expecting a fired up side led by new head coach Joe Schmidt.”

The second edition of the Qatar Airways Cup will precede the clash between a Barbarians side led by Kiwi coach Robbie Deans, and the Flying Fijians, who set pulses racing with their high-octane style of play at Rugby World Cup 2023, on their way to a first quarter-final appearance in 16 years.

Caleb Muntz of Fiji kicks the ball out of play and celebrates with team mates the win over England during the Summer International match between England and Fiji at Twickenham Stadium on August 26, 2023 in London, England. ( Photo by Phil Mingo/PPAUK )

Ben Youngs, England’s most-capped male player of all time, has already been confirmed by the Barbarians, with a host of world stars to follow.

Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Thierry Antinori, said: “Following the success of the inaugural Qatar Airways Cup on the eve of Rugby World Cup 2023, we are thrilled to announce the second edition. Returning to the hallowed grounds, the home of rugby, we anticipate an electrifying clash as Qatar Airways Cup trophy holders, South Africa, defend their title against Wales – one of the most esteemed teams in rugby, boasting a rich history and tradition in the sport.

Ben Youngs of England Rugby during the Six Nations Championship, 127th Calcutta Cup match between England and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on February 6 2021. – PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

“At Qatar Airways, we believe in the power of uniting people through sport, and look forward to witnessing the unmatched passion of rugby fans and teams in this thrilling return of the Qatar Airways Cup.”