The Springboks, winners of the World Cup, have a confirmed rival for their return to the international plane when facing the United States, in a match of preparation for the series of three tests against the British and Irish Lions.
The Eagles, who like South Africa, have not played a test match since the 2019 World Cup due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will also be rivals in Great Britain, if the eight-match tour scheduled by South Africa, change headquarters.
Gary Gold, the USA coach., confirmed the plans before heading from his home in Cape Town to the United States to prepare for the start of the new Major Rugby League season. That’s the league that will provide at least half the US roster to face the Springboks.
The rest of the team will draw on key players playing in Europe, including AJ MacGinty (Sale), Will Hooley and Ruben de Haas (Saracens), Paul Lasike (Harlequins), Greg Peterson (Newcastle), Titi Lamositele (Montpellier), Joe Taufete’e (Lyon) and David Ainu’u (Toulouse).
Gold will also turn to the American sevens team that has been competing in Madrid to supply players, including Martin Iosefo and Ben Pinkelman, who were part of the 2019 World Cup squad in Japan.
“I approached the Springboks and they were in a similar position to us and they said they might be looking for games,” Gold told RugbyPass.
“Hopefully we’ll fill a Springbok need by removing some rust and also getting some playtime ourselves. “The plan is to play the Springboks there if the tour takes place in South Africa or if not, we could go to the UK.
“We will play them pretty much anywhere and I am very optimistic the tour will continue, but the pendulum is swinging slightly towards the UK due to the implementation of vaccination in the UK. It makes sense to go to a country that is more compatible with Covid-19. “