The Spanish Women’s team will visit South Africa later this year in a groundbreaking tour where they will provide stiff opposition to the Springbok Women, a South African Invitational XV and the Eastern Province XV in Port Elizabeth in September.
It will be the Spanish side’s first visit to South Africa and will culminate in a Test against the Springbok Women on Saturday, 21 September.
The visitors will travel to South Africa with a squad of 26 to 28 players, and will play the first two matches as a Spanish Invitational XV, and the Test against the Springbok Women as Spain. The match venues in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will be confirmed in due course.
The Test will be the first of three internationals in two weeks for Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer’s team.
Raubenheimer’s charges will host Scotland in back-to-back Tests at the City Park Sports Grounds in Cape Town on Monday, 30 September, and Saturday, 5 October in their other Tests.
The opening match of the tour will be on Saturday, 14 September, against the SA Invitational XV, which will be followed by a clash against the Eastern Province XV on Tuesday, 17 September. The Spanish and South African national teams will then battle it out in the grand finale of their tour.
Spain is no stranger to the Springbok Women, with the teams last crossing paths in November in Villajoyosa, where the South Africans went down 17-5, while they also met in the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup in France.
“We are excited about this opportunity to face Spain at home,” said Raubenheimer.
“The more internationals we play the better it is for the development of our players, while it will also be good to market the women’s game in different provinces, since we will be facing Spain in Port Elizabeth and Scotland in Cape Town.”
Raubenheimer said he is expecting a thorough Test against the Spanish: “They are an experienced Rugby World Cup team and we finished the game against in them November with a few good learnings, so it will be good to see how much we have developed since then when we meet here.
“Spain won the European Championship again this year after defeating the Netherlands, and we they have been together for a while as a squad. We haven’t defeated them yet, so it will be good to see if we can do it this time around.”
Raubenheimer was also pleased about the SA Invitational XV and Eastern Province XV receiving the opportunity to test themselves against international opposition and said: “These matches will serve as a good opportunity for some of the junior players and the Eastern Province provincial players, and it will give them an idea of what it takes to get into the senior national side. The intensity of the matches will be high, so it will be good for them to see if they can match that.”
Fixtures (match venues TBC):
Saturday, 14 September:
SA Invitation XV vs Spain Invitation XV
Tuesday, 17 September:
Eastern Province XV vs Spain Invitational XV
Saturday, 21 September
Springbok Women vs Spain