Dates and venues for 2018 Rugby Championship announced

JOHANNESBURG — Durban, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria host the home Test matches in next year’s Rugby Championship, with Loftus Versfeld named as the venue for the biggest of the games – the Test against the All Blacks. South Africa and New Zealand have met only five times at Loftus, with the All Blacks winning four and the Springboks one. The Loftus games include two infamous battles. The first-ever Test between the two old rivals at Loftus was in July 1970, with the Springboks winning 17-6 thanks to sheer physical intimidation. First lock Frik du Preez left NZ scrumhalf Chris Laidlaw concussed, and then centre Joggie Jansen pole-axed his opposite number Wayne Cottrell. Jansen’s tackle was so brutal that it was widely regarded as having had a psychological effect on the New Zealanders. The Springboks won the series 3-1. In 2003, Loftus was the venue for one of the worst Springbok defeats by the All Blacks, 16-52. At the time, it was South Africa’s biggest defeat on home soil. Since then, coach Allister Coetzee has guided the Boks to two worse defeats against the All Blacks – 57-15 in Durban (2016) and 57-0 in Albany (2017). Here’s hoping Loftus won’t prove to be another unhappy venue for the coach – if he’s still in charge by October next year. – David O’Sullivan

From SA Rugby

The Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship home fixtures for 2018 were confirmed on Monday with matches scheduled for Pretoria, Durban and Port Elizabeth in the 22nd edition of the Southern Hemisphere championship.

The Wallabies will face South Africa in Port Elizabeth for the first time in more than half a century when they take on the Springboks in the Eastern Cape on 29 September, while the All Blacks return to Pretoria for the first time in more than a decade when they play at Loftus Versfeld on 6 October.

Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria, South Africa.

Meanwhile the Pumas will have happy memories for their return trip to Kings Park in Durban. On their last visit in 2015 they recorded their first victory over South Africa (37-25).

The Wallabies made the last of their four appearances in Port Elizabeth in 1963 (losing 22-6) while New Zealand’s last match at Loftus was in 2006 when they won 45-26.

Tickets for the matches at Loftus Versfeld and Kings Park will be available through the Blue Bulls and Sharks respectively. Details of ticket sales for the match at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium will be announced in the New Year.

Springbok Castle Lager Rugby Championship Fixtures 2018 (kick off times to be confirmed):

  • 18 August: Springboks v Argentina – Kings Park, Durban
  • 25 August: Argentina v Springboks – TBA
  • 8 September: Australia v Springboks – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  • 15 September: New Zealand v Springboks – Westpac Stadium, Wellington
  • 29 September: Springboks v Australia – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • 6 October: Springboks v New Zealand – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria