STATEMENT: All Blacks to face Springboks in the UK next summer - Ruck

STATEMENT: All Blacks to face Springboks in the UK next summer

Rugby heavyweights New Zealand and South Africa are set to go toe-to-toe in an historic fixture at Twickenham Stadium on Friday, 25 August (KO 7.30pm). The hotly anticipated match will form part of their final preparations for Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2023, which kicks off just two weeks later with the All Blacks facing hosts France in Paris.

The two rivals have only previously played each other once at the home of rugby, a tense 20-18 victory for the All Blacks in the semi-final of RWC 2015, where the mercurial Beauden Barrett’s late try proved the difference.

Of the seven editions of RWC in which South Africa has participated, they have encountered New Zealand on five occasions, the most significant being their inaugural tournament victory in 1995, in front of a watching Nelson Mandela and galvanised nation. With the two sides tied on three RWC tournament wins each, they will both be gunning for victory in France to become the most successful nation in the RWC’s 36-year history.

In the most recent Rugby Championship, New Zealand pipped the Springboks to the title although honours were split between the teams with one victory apiece when they faced each other in the first two rounds of the tournament.

With many of the world’s leading players set to grace the Twickenham turf, this is expected to be a white-hot ticket for rugby fans eager to see the players in the flesh ahead of the World Cup.

Jacques Nienaber, the Springbok Head Coach, said: “We’re excited to play this vital fixture before the Rugby World Cup at the iconic Twickenham Stadium.

“There is a large contingent of passionate expats and Springbok supporters in London, and we have no doubt they will come out in numbers and give us a lift before we attempt to defend our World Cup crown.”

SA Rugby Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, was equally excited about the fixture and said: “The Springboks and All Blacks share one of the greatest rivalries in rugby, and to face them at Twickenham will be an exciting experience for the players and our fans. I have no doubt it is going to be an epic encounter.”

All Blacks’ Head Coach Ian Foster added: “This match will form an important part of our preparations for Rugby World Cup. Matches against the Springboks are always hard-fought and we are expecting nothing less than a titanic battle on this unique occasion.”

Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO commented: “We are looking forward to welcoming two powerhouses of global rugby. Both nations have sizable ex-pat communities in London and beyond, who will no doubt contribute to what is set to be an electric atmosphere at Twickenham Stadium.”

Tickets on sale from 10am, 27 October via Ticketmaster and the RFU. Secure your seats early and be part of this historic match from £55 for Adults and £28 for Under-16s (Booking Fees apply).

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LIST | The top 5 rivalries in world rugby ranked

Matches between rivals are some of the most enthralling on the calendar. But, what is the biggest rugby rivalry in the world?

We have put our necks on the line and attempted to rank them, from five down to one.

5. Georgia vs. Russia

Glasnost is put on the back-burner and though not a high profile as some Test matches, there’s very little love lost in the 18 games these two have played since their inaugural clash in 1993. It gets violent at times.

Before the end of the Soviet Union many of the early clashes involved team-mates but it didn’t prevent frequent bouts of fisticuffs and to date Russia have just one win and 21 defeats to their name against the Georgians.

Games attract crowds in excess of 50,000 and with Russia ploughing more money into developing rugby, don’t expect the rivalry to end any time soon. Keep an eye on this one!