Photo: Siphelele Dludla/ANA

International rugby will return to SA's football hot-bed Soweto after a seven-year absence when the French Barbarians play there in June.

The Baabaas play the second and final match against South Africa A at Orlando Stadium on June 23, the national rugby union announced Wednesday.

The Bulls staged their Super Rugby semi-final and final in Soweto when they won the 2010 competition as their ground in Pretoria was unavailable.

The matches marked a high point in South African racial relations with near 40 000 mainly white Bulls supporters travelling to the black township on successive weekends.

Traditionally a sport played and watched largely by whites in South Africa, rugby has been growing in popularity among blacks, who comprised a third of the Springbok Test team last season.

Orlando Stadium was the home of South African football during the apartheid era and now hosts Orlando Pirates, one of the best-known clubs in Africa.

The French Barbarians begin their two-match tour in Durban on June 16 at Moses Mabhida Stadium, another venue used mainly for football.

France also tour South Africa during June to play Tests in Pretoria, Durban and Johannesburg.