With the news that the Scotland Rugby team is scheduled to face South Africa and New Zealand in 2020, it will bring a fresh challenge for the Scottish Rugby Union.
That will also mean that Scotland will be the first Tier One nation to face the Rugby World Cup champions – weeks before the 2020 Rugby Championship pits the Springboks against the All Blacks.
Scheduled to play two tests against the Springboks in South Africa on July 4 and 11; with the locations to be confirmed, is a huge task. These will be followed by a third and final away test against New Zealand on Saturday, July 18, making it arguably Scotland’s toughest tour schedule of the modern era.
This will be the first time in several years that a Scotland rugby team has played the leading southern hemisphere sides on their own soil. They last faced the Springboks in Port Elizabeth in 2014, and have not challenged New Zealand in some 20 years. A formidable challenge, but one that can be used a rebuilding phase, if Scotland wishes to return to the heights of the past.
Scotland Rugby team scheduled to face South Africa in 2020
With the World Cup staying in the Southern Hemisphere, for any future-driven test nation, they must travel ‘downunder’. Gregor Townsend will use this as the second step in a plan, that begins with the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.
Meeting the World Champions will be the sixth, of 11 matches that the national team will play. In November, the Scotland rugby team play Argentina, Japan, and New Zealand for a second time. The competition is invited, as Scotland must further develop and build confidence. Rebuild, as much was lost, as the team departed Japan with their heads bowed.
Defeated by Japan; who took their opportunity, again the scots were denied a berth in the quarterfinals.
How the 2020 season pans out for players like Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, and Jonny Gray, is yet to be known. However, building confidence that they can compete against the best (South Africa) is the goal.
By July, the Scotland rugby squad selected to tour must be fit, and have full confidence in their ability. Anything less might be fodder for the World Champs to feast on.
South Africa v Scotland – July 4 (first test) and July 11 (second)
South Africa to invite Georgia into their den
As well as meeting Scotland, the Springboks are scheduled to play Georgia. In what will be a historical, first-ever test match against Georgia on home soil, it also invites competition for the leading Tier Two nation.
The Springboks and Georgia have met only once before – in a pool match at the 2003 World Cup in Sydney – when South Africa won, 46-19.
In that match-up, the Georgian rugby team were seen as ‘minnows’. The scoreline then was close to 50 points, yet fans should expect a much closer affair when the sides meet next year.
Developing countries must be encouraged, and with Georgia being a regular at the last Rugby World Cup tournaments, it is a boost for that nation’s ambitions to reach higher levels. The match will be beneficial for each country but, it is probably the first time since Georgia’s RWC match against New Zealand in 2015, when the small union has faced a number one ranked team.
In terms of rugby credibility, it doesn’t get any better than that.
South Africa v Georgia – Saturday, July 18 (venue to be confirmed)
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