JOHANNESBURG – The new-look Springboks, under new coach Rassie Erasmus, will kickoff their 2018 season with a one-off Test against Wales in Washington DC on June 2.
The historic occasion – which will see the Boks face Tier One opposition on neutral ground for the first time outside the Rugby World Cup – was confirmed by SA Rugby and USA Rugby on Monday evening.
The match will take place at the Robert F Kennedy Stadium, with kickoff at 5pm (11pm SA time).
It will be the first visit to the USA by the Boks since they faced the USA Eagles in a Test in Houston in December 2001.
Harry Viljoen’s team won 43-20 after battling to a 22-15 lead at halftime.
The Bok try-scorers that Saturday were Conrad Jantjes, who grabbed a brace, Dean Hall, André Vos, Lukas van Biljon and Pieter Rossouw.
Louis Koen kicked five conversions and a penalty.
This June’s Test will be the 34th between the Boks and Wales, with the South Africans having won 28 and lost four, while one encounter ended in a draw.
SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said the Boks were delighted to play against Wales on US soil.
“The match allows us to take rugby to America, and to potentially expand the team’s appeal to a very large audience.”
The stadium in Washington is located near the well-known US Capitol building, and has a seating capacity of 45 000.
The match will allow the new national coaching team to see the 2018 Boks in action before the visit by Eddie Jones and the England team a week later.
The three-Test series starts at Ellis Park on June 9, with the second and third Tests scheduled for Bloemfontein and Cape Town.
Erasmus, who was named SA Rugby’s director of rugby a few weeks ago, is expected to be unveiled as the Boks’ new head coach in the coming days, taking over from the now-departed Allister Coetzee.
Erasmus has been working hard behind the scenes since the turn of the year in an effort to change the Boks’ fortunes.
Under Coetzee, who was in charge during 2016 and 2017, they slipped down the rankings and are now in sixth place.
Wales are in seventh spot, but Warren Gatland’s side have won the last two meetings between the teams, both in Cardiff.