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Boks get Millennium Stadium Wales rematch

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The South African Rugby Union on Tuesday confirmed that the Springboks will take part in a showcase international rematch of the first game ever played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff when they take on Wales in a specially arranged celebration fixture on June 5.


The match is a repeat of the June 1999 match to formally open the Millennium Stadium when Wales recorded their only victory over South Africa (29 points to 19) in 23 meetings between the nations since 1906.


“As we opened the stadium ten seasons ago, it was only appropriate that the Springboks should be the nation to mark the anniversary,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union.


“Wales were very keen that we should share this day with them and although it is a break with the traditional shape of our domestic season I am sure it will be a momentous rugby occasion – the kind of event that Test rugby is all about.”


The Test is the first of a run of four on successive Saturdays for the Springboks.


They face France in Cape Town a week later before Tests against Italy. Wales face a more gruelling travel schedule: the day after taking on the Springboks, they fly around the world for two Test matches against the All Blacks on June 19 and 26.


The Group Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, Roger Lewis, and WRU Chairman, David Pickering, made a whistlestop visit to Cape Town last month to close the agreement for the special game.


Mr Lewis said: “I am delighted the Springboks have agreed to come to Wales in June to celebrate ten great seasons of rugby at the Millennium Stadium.


“It shows how much respect the South Africans have for Wales in that they are prepared to break new ground in agreeing to this fixture.


“This will undoubtedly be the showcase rugby occasion of the summer in the northern hemisphere and is a great coup for Wales.”


Mr Hoskins added: “Our rugby nations share a deep passion for the game, matched by few countries. We have a long and rich history of meetings and June’s Test will add another chapter to that story.


“Obviously we are aware acutely aware of the player management issues that this Test presents but I am sure that the Springbok selectors will look at this as an opportunity to Test combinations.”

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