The Springboks are looking to play at least three Tests – perhaps four – ahead of next year’s British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa.
The reigning Rugby World Cup champions haven’t been in action since winning their third Webb Ellis Cup on November 2, 2019, and they have no Tests scheduled between now and when the British & Irish Lions arrive in mid-2021.
FREE STATE CAPITAL NOT ON LIONS ITINERARY
Reports on Sunday suggested that the Springboks could play two Tests in Bloemfontein next year in preparation for the series.
The Free State capital is not on the British & Irish Lions’ eight-match itinerary.
The Cheetahs and the Free State have reason to feel aggrieved by SA Rugby in recent years.
Not only were they overlooked to host a match against the British & Irish Lions, they weren’t part of the trophy tour of the country that the Springbok undertook after returning to the country as World Cup champions.
The Cheetahs then saw their participation in the PRO14 come to an abrupt end as SA Rugby elected to replace them – and the Southern Kings – with the four Super Rugby unions in an expanded PRO16 tournament from next season.
According to Rapport newspaper, Bloemfontein could also serve at the Springboks’ base as it has fewer distractions for the players.
As it stands, SA Rugby is awaiting World Rugby’s approval to host matches before announcing who those opponents will be.
At this stage it isn’t clear who has been extended an invitation, and who in these Covid-19 times could realistically commit to travelling to South Africa.