The Springboks and the British & Irish Lions arrived in Cape Town on Sunday for the eagerly awaited second stage of the Castle Lager Lions Series.
The Springboks took up residence in the City Centre while the tourists based themselves will split their time between the City and the Overberg as the teams prepare for the first of three Tests.
The British & Irish Lions take on the Springboks at Cape Town Stadium on 24 July – their first Test in the City since their Series-opening victory in 1997.
They also take on the South Africa ‘A’ team (14 July) and the DHL Stormers (17 July, TBC) and at the same venue in their final warm-up matches before the Test series begins.
“This first Test match has been on our minds almost since the day we won the Rugby World Cup, so to be here in Cape Town for the final preparations is really exciting,” said Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby.
“It’ll be the first Test match ever played at the Cape Town Stadium and it’s special to think that this group will be the trail blazers for the venue if you think of the century of tradition that was laid down at Newlands. It’s a new venue for us and it’s also the start of a new history.
“Cape Town is now home for many of the management and several players which also adds to the excitement of getting back here.”
Executive Mayor Alderman Dan Plato welcomed the team’s arrival in the City – although strict COVID compliance protocols meant it could not be in person.
“It is really a pleasure to welcome the Springboks as well as the British & Irish Lions to our beautiful city,” said Mr Plato.
“We look forward to giving them the world-famous Cape Town hospitality. We are proud to partner with SA Rugby for the Cape Town leg of the tour.
“As a rugby-loving city, we are disappointed that they will not be able to experience the atmosphere at a packed Cape Town Stadium but we promise to make their stay in Cape Town a memorable experience.”
The teams will spend two weeks in the City before they are scheduled to return to Gauteng for the final two Tests.