England Saxons will face South Africa ‘A’ in a two-match series in June.
The matches will be played in Bloemfontein’s Free State Stadium on Friday, 10 June, and Outeniqua Park in George on Friday, 17 June.
The Saxons last played in 2015 beating the Irish Wolfhounds 18-9 in Cork. The side featured Maro Itoje (Saracens), Luke Cowan Dickie (Exeter), Elliot Daly (Wasps) who all went on to feature in Eddie Jones’ grand slam winning England team last month.
It will be the first time since 2003 that the SA ‘A’ team will be in action in South Africa. On that occasion they drew 30-30 against Argentina in Wellington.
Ian Ritchie RFU CEO said: “We would like to thank SA Rugby for inviting the Saxons to tour South Africa this June. The two-match series will provide a fantastic experience for the squad to play against very strong opposition who will be extremely well prepared having worked alongside the SA senior side ahead of the matches.”
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said the decision to invite the Saxons to South Africa would provide the opportunity for a larger group of players than normal to line up against elite international opposition.
“The Saxons’ tour will coincide with Ireland’s three Test series against the Springboks and all players not involved with the Boks, will get the opportunity to take on top-ranked opposition during the same time, thereby exposing even more of our top players to international rugby,” said Roux.
“Providing international opposition for a bigger group of our players is important as we aim to improve the experience and depth of our player base. The Saxons’ tour will do just that.
“Looking at their results in recent years, it’s clear the two matches against the Saxons will be very tough for the SA ‘A’ team. Many of the current crop of England players, who dominated the Six Nations, came through the Saxons, so we can expect to face their next generation of Test stars.”
“The SA ‘A’ team and the Springboks will work closely together in the build-up to their matches in June,” said Roux.
“Under the guidance of the Rugby Department we will be able to select two very strong squads for these series and it will be great to welcome our friends from Ireland and England to South Africa.”
England Saxons tour to South Africa (tour subject to approval from World Rugby):
Friday, 10 June: SA A v England Saxons – Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Friday, 17 June: SA A v England Saxons – Outeniqua Park, George