Saru confirms Bok schedule to 2015

Saru has confirmed the Springboks’ home fixtures up to the 2015 World Cup and that it will be taking over the running of Test matches in South Africa.

The Boks will face their 2015 World Cup Pool B opponents, Scotland and Samoa (as well as Italy), in a new tournament featuring double-header Test matches in 2013.

According to a statement from Saru, fans will be able to watch two Tests for the price of one after a decision of the Executive Council (Exco) overhauled the way that Tests are run in South Africa. For the first time in Springbok history, Tests will be solely hosted by the mother body.

The decision was taken by the Exco after consulting the 14 member provinces. The Exco also took the unique step of announcing the Test schedule for the next three seasons – featuring Tests in Nelspruit for the first time.

However, Saru cautioned that all matches were subject to conclusion of commercial terms with planned hosting venues.

‘Saru was the only major union in world rugby that didn’t properly own its own Test matches,’ explained CEO Jurie Roux. ‘The decision by the Exco now gives ownership to Saru.

‘The key benefits will be in allowing us to plough a share of the profits back into all the provincial unions and, that by controlling the ticket office and all commercial activity in the stadium, we will be able to provide an experience for our stakeholders on a par with what we experience when playing overseas.’

The Saru statement says that the existing model had seen rugby’s governing body effectively ‘sell’ Springbok Test matches to the major provinces. The Test-hosting unions paid a rights fee (the amount of which was dependent on the stature of the opponent) and then set ticket prices and kept all receipts as well as commercialising aspects of the match as they saw fit.

‘This is a major change in how rugby is run and will present challenges,’ said Roux. ‘But the major effect is that it has placed Springbok Tests in the ownership of the mother body, for the benefit of all rugby’s stakeholders.

‘We are taking the Springboks to a new venue in 2013 and have an exciting new competition format for the June Tests – by coincidence against two of our World Cup opponents of 2015. We have also been able to map out a home fixture schedule for the next three years – something the provinces had also wanted.’

The new-look quadrangular tournament for 2013 is between the Springboks, their 2015 opponents, Scotland and Samoa, as well as Italy.

The tournament – which will be played on a log basis over two rounds to determine finalists – will open at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on 8 June.

BOKS’ 2013 HOME FIXTURES

QUADRANGULAR TOURNAMENT
Saturday, 8 June (Mbombela Stadium): Scotland vs Samoa; Springboks vs Italy
Saturday, 15 June (Kings Park): Samoa vs Italy; Springboks vs Scotland
Saturday, 22 June (Loftus Versfeld): Team 3 vs Team 4; Team 1 vs Team 2

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday, 17 August (Free State Stadium): Springboks vs Argentina
Saturday, 28 September (Newlands): Springboks vs Australia
Saturday, 5 October (Ellis Park): Springboks vs New Zealand

BOKS’ 2014 HOME FIXTURES (dates TBC)

INCOMING TOUR
Springboks vs Wales (Johannesburg)
Springboks vs Wales (Nelspruit)
Springboks vs Scotland (Port Elizabeth)

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
Springboks vs Argentina (Pretoria)
Springboks vs Australia (Cape Town)
Springboks vs New Zealand (Johannesburg)

BOKS’ 2015 HOME FIXTURES (dates TBC, no incoming tour)

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

Springboks vs Argentina (Cape Town)
Springboks vs Australia (Durban)
Springboks vs New Zealand (Johannesburg)