The Springboks will return to Buenos Aires for the first time in 10 years when they face Argentina in a special round of matches in preparation for the Rugby World Cup following the Rugby Championship, rugby body Sanzar announced on Monday.
With the 2015 Rugby World Cup looming large, the four Rugby Championship teams will play an additional round of international matches on Saturday, August 15, following the conclusion of the competition a week earlier.
This round will see New Zealand host Australia at Eden Park in Auckland, while the Springboks will battle it out with Argentina in Buenos Aires – a venue they last visited in 2005 when they defeated Argentina 34-23. The venue and time of the Springboks’ match will be announced in due course.
Meanwhile, the Springboks will begin their Rugby Championship campaign against Australia at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday, July 18, before returning to South Africa for back-to-back Tests against New Zealand and Argentina respectively in Johannesburg (July 25) and Durban (August 8).
New Zealand and Australia will kick off the condensed tournament in Christchurch on Friday July 17, while the clash between South Africa and Argentina at Kings Park will conclude the tournament. Each team will face each other only once in this format, with the winner crowned following the match in Durban.
Interestingly, the opening match will serve as AMI Stadium’s debut match in the Rugby Championship, although the temporary Addington Christchurch venue previously hosted the All Blacks on two occasions (a 22-19 victory over Ireland in 2012 and a 30-0 whitewash of France in 2013).
The Rugby Championship will commence a fortnight after the Super Rugby final on July 4 with the last round of matches concluding on August 15, giving teams just over a month before launching their Rugby World Cup campaigns.
The 2015 Rugby Championship schedule (All times CAT):
Friday, July 17: New Zealand vs Argentina – AMI Stadium, Christchurch – 9.35am
Saturday, July 18: Australia vs South Africa – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane – 12.05pm
Saturday, July 25: South Africa vs New Zealand – Ellis Park, Johannesburg – 5.05pm
Sunday, July 26: Argentina vs Australia – Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza – 12.40am
Saturday, August 8: Australia vs New Zealand – ANZ Stadium, Sydney – 12.05pm
Saturday, August 8: South Africa vs Argentina – Kings Park, Durban – 5.05pm
Additional week (not for competition points):
Saturday, August 15: New Zealand vs Australia – Eden Park, Auckland – 9.35am
Saturday, August 15: Argentina vs South Africa – Venue TBC, Buenos Aires – TBC