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100 Years Test Game of All Blacks v Springboks in Townsville

All Blacks v Springboks
Photo by The Daily Rugby

New Zealand first played South Africa in a Test on 13 August 1921. Will Evans charts the controversy around the century-long rivalry . 

100 Years of All Blacks v Springboks in Queensland will host Rugby Championship games in a series of double-headers with matches to be played in Brisbane, Townsville and on the Gold Coast.

“Loyalty begets loyalty. So they say. I wonder.” So mused George Nēpia, the nonpareil of All Black full-backs, in his 1963 autobiography I, George Nēpia.

Nēpia was lamenting the New Zealand Rugby Football Union cowing to the South Africa Rugby Board’s directive that no black players be chosen in the All Blacks squad to tour the racially-segregated nation – the third time the NZRFU had ceded to its hosts’ demand. Nēpia was among the first group of Māori rugby stars prohibited from touring South Africa in 1928.

This year marks a century since the Springboks’ maiden tour of New Zealand, launching one of the most revered, dramatic and problematic international rivalries in the sport. It’s also the 40th anniversary of another visit by the South Africans, which was marred by civil unrest and violent clashes.

The centenary test between the All Blacks and Springboks will be played at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville on September 25.

With South Africa and Europe considered as possible hosts for the remainder of the four-nation competition, the new schedule sees games played in Queensland over four weekends from September 12 to October 2.

Rugby Australia hopes to confirm this week that the Wallabies’ postponed Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship test against New Zealand in Perth will be played in the WA capital on September 4.


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