All Blacks to face Ellis Park hoodoo
THE Springboks will play the All Blacks at Ellis Park for the first time in nine years when the rugby superpowers meet in the final match of the Four Nations in October.
The Johannesburg stadium is New Zealand's least favourite venue in South Africa, which is why it remains a mystery that an entire generation of All Black players has yet to experience a Test against the Boks at the ground.
The SA Rugby Union has regained "ownership" of Test matches from the provincial unions after a decision by the executive council late last year and it wasted no time in bringing the world champions back to Ellis Park.
In the post-isolation era, the Boks have beaten the All Blacks four times and lost only twice in six meetings at Ellis Park.
This year will be the first time since 2004 that the clash will take place there.
The last contest at Ellis Park was when the Springboks secured a record 40-26 win over the All Blacks with centre Marius Joubert scoring a hat-trick. That win set the Boks on their way to the Tri-Nations title, which they claimed with a win over Australia in Durban a week later.
Saru also yesterday confirmed the venues for the new-look quadrangular tournament between the Springboks, their Rugby World Cup 2015 opponents, Scotland and Samoa, and Italy in June.
The first round of matches will be at Kings Park, in Durban, on Saturday, June 8, and the second at Mbombela stadium, in Nelspruit, a week later - the first-ever Test at that venue.
This change in venue has been made to avoid a clash with the Top Gear motoring event in Durban on June 15 and 16.
During the Four Nations, the Boks will face Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
Saturday June 8
Kings Park: Scotland vs Samoa; Springboks vs Italy
Saturday June 15
Mbombela stadium: Samoa vs Italy; Springboks vs Scotland
Saturday June 22
Loftus Versfeld: Team 3 vs Team 4; Team 1 vs Team 2
Saturday August 17
Free State stadium: Springboks vs Argentina
Saturday August 24
Mendoza: Argentina vs Springboks
Saturday September 7
Brisbane: Australia vs Springboks
Saturday September 14
Auckland: New Zealand vs Springboks
Saturday September 28
Newlands: Springboks vs Australia
Saturday October 5
Ellis Park: Springboks vs New Zealand
Saturday November 9
Cardiff: Wales vs Springboks
Saturday November 16
Edinburgh: Scotland v Springboks
Saturday November 23
TBC: France vs Springboks