It is Mallett versus Meyer

Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:39
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Nick Mallett and Heyneke Meyer will go head-to-head in Cape Town on June 7 - when South Africa face a World XV.

Nick Mallett and Heyneke Meyer will go head-to-head in Cape Town on June 7 - when South Africa face a World XV.

The South African Rugby Union confirmed on Monday that Mallett will coach the World XV against Meyer's Springboks.

In another development it was also revealed that the match will now take place at Newlands, not the Cape Town Stadium as first reported.

SARU had discussed the idea with the City of Cape Town - with a view to them sponsoring the match and taking it to the purpose-built Greenpoint stadium - but they declined the opportunity.

The Boks will kick off the critical 2014 international season with this warm-up match at Newlands against a World XV packed with stars from Southern and Northern Hemisphere.

Meyer will have a full-strength squad available for the showdown against a team featuring some of the biggest stars playing in the major European leagues.

All Black legend Carl Hayman and Bok World Cup winner BJ Botha have been named as front tow forwards in the first release of confirmed participants named by organisers.

The backline will feature outstanding Wallaby talents in James O'Connor, Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell as well as All Black Hosea Gear in a team that is so far drawn from five nations.

France will be represented in the form of stylish No.8 Julien Bonnaire, and inside back François Trinh-Duc while Toulon-based England back row forward Steffon Armitage.

"This is an almost unique opportunity to see an international team playing in South Africa with the freedom of not needing a certain result," said SARU CEO Jurie Roux.

"We've all watched on TV those festival-style games in Europe at the end of the year, where great players combine their talents to produce some stunning rugby and provide a real challenge to the SANZAR nations on tour. We've now got one of those games on our doorstep.

"We're very excited about the players who will be turning out against the Boks at Newlands and we'll be releasing a lot more big names in due course."

The occasion is the start of the 18-match countdown that Meyer has in which to prepare the Springbok team for the 2015 World Cup in England.

The Springboks will play 14 matches in 2014 before a shortened, four-match Rugby Championship in 2015 - which is the final 'warm-up' before the team departs for the World Cup next year.

"It's always a challenge for the Springbok coach to prepare a team for the first test of the year as the squad only assembles in the week of the Test," said Meyer.

"There are certain goals I have set for the team this year and the match against the World XV, is the ideal opportunity to start putting those plans in place.

"We enjoyed a relatively successful 2013 but we'll be looking to step up a gear from the first minute of the first match of the year."