South African director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has explained why he has arranged for the Springboks to play a pre-Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Argentina before they head to Europe to round off their preparation ahead of France 2023. The reigning world champions kick off their finals campaign with a September 10 pool match versus Scotland in Marseille.
Before that opener in France, the Springboks have a six-game build-up – three matches in the shortened Rugby Championship and another three that are classed as warm-up fixtures.
The August 25 meeting with the All Blacks in London will be the Springboks’ final hit-out before they travel to their World Cup team base camp in Toulon. However, it is another build-up match that stands out for Erasmus in their preparation – the decision to play Argentina away in South America the weekend after they will host the Pumas in Johannesburg in the final round of the Rugby Championship.
It’s a journey that, on paper, sounds like an unnecessary slog but DoR Erasmus has explained why the fixture in Argentina is very important as regards the Springboks’ ambition to retain the World Cup.
He said: “Playing against Argentina in South America is unique as they have a very passionate home crowd that brings the best out of their team, so that environment will serve as good preparation for our team with an eye on the Rugby World Cup, especially after getting a taste of the atmosphere we can expect at the international extravaganza in our match against France in Marseille last November.”