The Springboks will kick off the critical 2014 international season at Newlands in June with a match against a World XV, sponsored by Samsung, packed with stars from southern and northern hemisphere rugby.
Tickets for the match – priced at R250 and R350 – went on sale today for the June 7 match from Postnet outlets nationwide, the Western Province ticket office and online from www.ticketpros.co.za.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will have a full-strength squad available for the showdown against a team featuring some of the biggest stars playing in the major European leagues.
All Black legend Carl Hayman and Springbok World Cup winner, BJ Botha, have been named as front rankers in the first release of confirmed participants named by organisers.
The backline will feature outstanding Wallaby talents in James O’Connor, Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell as well as All Black Hosea Gear in a team that is so far drawn from five nations.
France will be represented in the form of stylish eighthman, Julien Bonnaire, and inside back François Trinh-Duc while Toulon-based England backrower Steffon Armitage is part of a Six Nations triumvirate so far named.
“This is an almost unique opportunity to see an international team playing in South Africa with the freedom of not needing a certain result,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
“We’ve all watched on TV those festival-style games in the European winter where great players combine their talents to produce some stunning rugby and provide a real challenge to the SANZAR nations on tour. We’ve now got one of those games on our doorstep.
“We’re very excited about the players who will be turning out against the Boks at Newlands and we’ll be releasing a lot more big names in due course.”
Roux said that Western Province season ticket holders had the option of purchasing their seat for the match between today and May 7 when they will go on general sale.
The occasion is the start of the 18-match countdown that Meyer has in which to prepare the Springbok team for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. The Springboks will play 14 matches in 2014 before a shortened, four-match Castle Lager Rugby Championship is the final ‘warm-up’ before the team departs next year.
“It’s always a challenge for the Springbok coach to prepare a team for the first test of the year as the squad only assembles in the week of the Test,” said Meyer. “There are certain goals I have set for the team this year and the match against the Samsung-sponsored World XV, is the ideal opportunity to start putting those plans in place.
“We enjoyed a relatively successful 2013 but we’ll be looking to step up a gear from the first minute of the first match of the year.”
More details of the squad of the World XV, sponsored by Samsung, will be released in due course.
More information on tickets can be found on the Ticketpros website at www.ticketpros.co.za.