THE SOUTH AFRICAN Rugby Union has confirmed that the Springboks will kick off their 2014 international season with a clash against a ‘World XV’ in Cape Town on June the 7th.
Currently ranked second in the IRB’s official rankings, Heyneke Meyer’s side will take on a host of Northern and Southern Hemisphere stars in the fixture at Newlands Stadium.
The World XV will be coached by former ‘Boks boss Nick Mallet, while Toulon’s Carl Hayman and Munster tighthead BJ Botha are among the first confirmed participants for the once-off team.
James O’Connor, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell and former All Black Hosea Gear will also play for the World XV, while Steffon Armitage, François Trinh-Duc and Julien Bonnaire make up the early European contingent.
Further announcements on players to be involved in the fixture are expected in the coming weeks, but it would be exciting to see Irish influence among Mallet’s squad to play the powerful ‘Boks.
For his part, Meyer says this fixture is the perfect way to get South Africa’s season underway.
It’s always a challenge for the Springbok coach to prepare a team for the first test of the year as the squad only assembles in the week of the Test. There are certain goals I have set for the team this year and the match against the Samsung-sponsored World XV, is the ideal opportunity to start putting those plans in place.
“We enjoyed a relatively successful 2013 but we’ll be looking to step up a gear from the first minute of the first match of the year.”
If you had free rein to pick a World XV [including South African players], who would make your team? Which Irish players would be included if there were no limiting selection criteria or lack of availability? Let us know your World XV below…