Free State Rugby ready for Springbok Test

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Springbok supporters during last year's Test between South Africa and Australia at the Toyota Stadium. PHOTO: NICOLETTE TALJAARD

It is less than a month before the Springboks host England in Bloemfontein in the second Test of the incoming series.

The English will be visiting South African shores for the first time since 2012 when they lost 2-0 to the Springboks in a three-Test series. The third and final Test in that series ended in a 14-14 Port Elizabeth.

The Test on 16 June in the City of Roses will only be the third time that these two proud nations will collide in the Free State.

The first time they met in Bloemfontein was on 24 June 2000, when the English edged the men in Green-and-Gold 27-22. On 26 May 2007, the Springboks truly set the record straight by thrashing England 58-10.

Eddie Jones has already announced his strong England team which will be touring South Africa for the three-Test series, while we’re still waiting to see what ace Rassie Erasmus will have up his sleeve.

In the meantime, the preparations for the highly anticipated Test next month are going full steam ahead.

The Free State Rugby laid a new pitch a day after the Toyota Cheetahs narrow defeat to Munster in the Guinness Pro14 on 13 April. This surface was tested on Friday evening when the Toyota Free State XV held on for a 12-10 win over the Sharks XV in round five of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge.

According to the Chief Operations Manager, Piet de Necker who is charge of the entire project, the ticket sales are doing well and he wants to encourage the public to buy their tickets.

“The ticket sales for the Test between the Springboks and England are doing really well. We would like to encourage supporters to buy their tickets as soon as possible in order to ensure good seats.”

De Necker added that they expect a very good playing surface on the day of the Test.

“The pitch at the stadium was totally redone about a month ago, and we are expecting a very, very good playing surface for the Test between the Springboks and England.”

The Springboks will be having an open training session on Thursday, 14 June, at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium, which will be open to the public.

Furthermore, the Free State Rugby will be celebrating Bok Friday on 1 June where participating business in Bloemfontein will be offering discounts and special offers when you show your Test ticket. More details on this can be found of the Cheetahs social media and their website.

The Test on 16 June at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein kicks off at 17:05. Tickets are available from the ticket office in Toyota Stadium or online at www.fscheetahs.co.za. – MORGAN PIEK