The Castle Lager Test clash between South Africa and England taking place in Bloemfontein on Youth Day is regarded as a special occasion of not only enjoying the presence of the national side in the province, but also welcoming Rassie Erasmus back to ‘the house that built him’.
The Springboks host Eddie Jones’ Lions in three-matches starting that started last Saturday, 09 June, in Johannesburg before heading to Bloemfontein on Saturday, June 16. The Test decider will take place in Cape Town on June 23.
The Boks head to the City of Roses where their mentor, Erasmus, a former Cheetahs’ player, made a name for himself during his playing days. During his stint in Bloemfontein, Erasmus captained the team and also went on to win the Currie Cup on two occasions, a contribution highly commended by Free State Rugby president, Jerry Sekgwaba.
“We know Rassie, not only a Springbok coach, but as a son of the soil. He’s one of us in the Free State. This Test will again give us, the people of Mangaung, Free State, an opportunity to welcome him back,” he said.
He added: “He’s been a great asset for the Springboks so I think it’ll be a good welcome from us and we can only do that if we fill up the stadium.”
Meanwhile, the Cheetahs duo of Oupa Mohoje and Ox Nche will have to wait for another time to impress in their own territory in the green and gold colours of the Boks. The match will also be of great significance to forward, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, who is set to become only the sixth player to feature in 100 matches for the Boks.
This will be England’s first visit to SA in six years, having last visited in 2012 for the three-match series which the host won. The last time these nations met in the City of Roses was back in 2007 in a match that convincingly went to the hosts (58-10).
The City of Roses last hosted the Boks in September 2017 in a Rugby Championship clash with Australia.