Three very tough matches and one against a team that surprised them four years ago await the Springboks on their year-end tour to Europe.
According to the preliminary fixtures Italy, who shocked the Boks under Allister Coetzee in 2016 with their sole win in 15 matches between the two countries, are the Boks first stop on the weekend of 7/8 November.
Italy played the Springboks in last year’s World Cup when they were in the same WC pool. Italy were beaten 49-3 in a must-win match for Siya Kolisi’s men to ensure the Boks of a quarter-final place.
In their second match the following weekend (14/15 November) Ireland host the Boks in their Aviva Stadium. Ireland, even with a new coach and captain, will be a difficult opponent despite a number of player losses due to retirements.
In their third match, the Springboks will face a seemingly France, a rejuvenated team if their first two matches in the present Six Nations are anything to go by.
South Africa end their year of 13 tests against Wales at the Principality Stadium on 28 November. This one, too, should be a humdinger.
South Africa, after a run of losses against the Welsh, had to rely on a 76th minute penalty by Handré Pollard to beat Wales in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
The autumn test against Wales is outside the test window and the Boks will probably without a number of their stars currently playing overseas.
♦ The All Backs won’t have it any easier. They play England in what will be a revenge match for the Kiwis who were convincingly beaten (19-7) by England in the World Cup semi-final in their first year-0end match. They also have a test against Wales, the third time the two sides will have met this year as Wales play the All Blacks in New Zealand twice in July during the mid-year test matches.