Can the Springboks finally win a ‘full’ Rugby Championship in 2024?
Has the Rugby Championship schedule presented the Springboks with their best chance of winning the tournament in its double round format.
The Springboks haven’t displayed the kind of mastery they show in Rugby World Cups when it comes to the Rugby Championship.
Their only triumph since the tournament added Argentina in 2012 came in a truncated tournament in 2019.
In 2024 the tournament returns to double rounds with a mixture of home and away fixtures but that schedule has been reasonably kind to the Springboks.
FACING THE ALL BLACKS AT HOME IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE SPRINGBOKS
The Springboks will play both their matches against bitter rivals New Zealand in South Africa. They will also play the Wallabies twice in Australia and Tests against the Pumas will be split between Mbombela and Argentina.
Rugby Australia have yet to announce the venues for those two Tests but the Springboks will be out to improve a pretty poor recent record in Australia when one considers the Wallabies’ general struggles.
The Springboks have won just one of their last nine Test matches against the Wallabies in Australia.
That leaves us asking if the benefit of playing the All Blacks twice in South Africa is counterbalanced by having to play twice in Australia.
The All Blacks schedule also seems to be intriguingly balanced as they don’t have to travel to Argentina at all, playing their double home round against the Pumas.
This does mean that the All Blacks have quite a simple travel schedule starting at home against the Pumas in Wellington and Auckland.
Travelling to the Highveld to face the Springboks at Ellis Park two weeks later will be a key moment for the All Blacks.
Scott Robertson said: “We are playing up on the Highveld at Ellis Park and then down to Cape Town – they are iconic Tests and I know a lot of Kiwis will be excited about that.
“It is a great chance to find out about ourselves against the world champions. It’s a chance to support us locally but also internationally. It’s also a chance to get behind this team and experience it with us, which is the exciting thing about it. And be proud to wear your All Blacks jersey no matter where we go.”
The All Blacks round off their campaign with matches against the Wallabies in Sydney and then return to Wellington’s Sky Stadium to end their Rugby Championship campaign on the spot they began.
Under Joe Schmidt the Wallabies will start their campaign with a couple of home Tests against the Springboks before they double up in Argentina and then return home to face New Zealand in Sydney.
The Pumas start away in New Zealand, return home to face Australia twice and then the Springboks once before they travel to Mbombela to conclude the Rugby Championship.
CAN THE SPRINGBOKS FINALLY WIN A ‘FULL’ RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP?
It will be hard work for the Springboks to set up those home Tests against the All Blacks as being decisive as they will need to match the All Blacks results against Argentina when they face the Wallabies.
While they may not mount serious title challenges, Argentina and Australia are both capable of taking a match or two off the more fancied Springboks and All Blacks.
The All Blacks have seemingly always found a way to finish the Rugby Championship well on top, winning 10 of 12 editions of the elite competition.