Springboks: Premiership side Bristol Bears to face the world champions in November

Colin Newboult

English Premiership side Bristol Bears will take on the defending World Cup winners South Africa in the tourists’ end-of-year series.

In a match which harks back to the midweek games of yesteryear, Bristol will face a South Africa XV on Thursday, November 17.

The last time the Springboks faced English club opposition was in 2009 when they succumbed to both Leicester Tigers and Saracens.

That Leicester team featured a young Ben Youngs, Manu Tuilagi and Dan Cole while Sarries, who were coached by Brendan Venter, contained a number of South Africans.

And exactly 13 years after that loss to the Londoners, the Boks will face another Premiership side in the shape of Bristol.

Massive opportunity

Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam said: “This is exactly one of the goals that Steve (Lansdown) and Chris (Booy) had for the Bears and our supporters at Ashton Gate – to have an opportunity to play a world-class international team. Why not start with the current world champions?

“This is a massive opportunity for all our players to test themselves against one of the best; for our staff to put on an amazing unforgettable event and for our incredible supporters to welcome and host South African supporters from all over the world to Bristol and Ashton Gate. November 17th will be a memorable night make sure you lock it in to be there.”

Chairman Chris Booy added: “This is a significant milestone for the club and really underlines how we far have come as the Bears. To host the world champions at our home is incredibly exciting and it will be an event that will go down in the history books.

“South Africa are one of the world’s most iconic international teams with a vibrant and passionate fanbase. We’re grateful to the South Africa Rugby Union, Premiership Rugby and World Rugby for their support and co-operation in helping us to deliver this unique and historic fixture.”

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