England confirm mid-week fixtures during tour of South Africa


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The Independent Online

England's three-Test summer tour of South Africa will include midweek matches in Kimblerley and Potchefstroom against SA Barbarians teams, it was confirmed today.

Stuart Lancaster's squad will tackle the Springboks in their first ever three-Test series in June, with the matches to be played in Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

England will meet an SA Barbarians South team in Kimberley on the afternoon of Wednesday June 13 and an SA Barbarians North team in Potchefstroom, the following Tuesday evening.

The SA Barbarians teams will be selected from the eight teams in the first division of the Currie Cup, South Africa's domestic competition.

Lancaster said: "This will be a massive and exciting challenge for us.

"England have never had a three-Test series in South Africa and, with two midweek games against opponents who will be desperate to impress, these five games gives us a great opportunity for a wider group of players to put their hat in the ring and gain international experience.

"We were pleased with the progress we made in the RBS 6 Nations and this tour is another important step on the journey towards 2015."

Lancaster is due to name his provisional touring squad on May 8, after the final round of regular season Aviva Premiership matches.

England will warm up for their tour with a traditional fixture against the Barbarians at Twickenham on May 27 and they are scheduled to arrive in South Africa on May 31.

"I think all rugby fans will be excited by the idea of having England on tour in South Africa for five matches over three weeks," said South Africa Rugby Union chief executive Jurie Roux.

"South Africa has not hosted a three-Test tour against a single nation since the visit of New Zealand in 1996, so this will be a special occasion for all of us.

"The Rugby Football Union has also agreed to two midweek matches, which gives us the opportunity to take international rugby away from the major metropolitan centres.

"It also presents a chance for players outside of the Springbok and Vodacom Super Rugby camps to demonstrate their ability against top-flight international opposition."

England tour schedule to South Africa:

Saturday, June 9: South Africa v England (King's Park, Durban (kick-off 16h00 BST)

Wednesday, June 13: SA Barbarians South v England, GWK Park, Kimberley (kick-off 13h30 BST)

Saturday, June 16: South Africa v England Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg (kick-off 16h00 BST)

Tuesday, June 19: SA Barbarians North v England, Profert Olen Park, Potchefstroom (kick-off 18h10 BST)

Saturday, June 23: South Africa v England, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth (kick-off 16h00 BST)