The Springboks are likely to be beneficiaries of a favourable programme, including playing the All Blacks on South African turf only, when a slashed Castle Rugby Championship is contested in 2015.
Given the global priority of the World Cup towards the end of the year, hosted by England, the Championship will be reduced by half to a single round of matches, making it more like the northern hemisphere’s Six Nations for once in character.
The Boks, currently second to World Cup holders New Zealand on the International Rugby Board rankings, play only four games next year ahead of RWC 2015, in stark contrast to this year’s much more cluttered programme of 14.
It gives coach Heyneke Meyer 18 games in total – starting with the World XV clash at Newlands this Saturday – to fine-tune his game-plan and resources for the global get-together: South Africa will kick off their World Cup campaign against Japan at Brighton’s Community Stadium on September 19 next year.
Wales are set to play on a plastic pitch at the Millennium Stadium in a ground-breaking move being proposed by the Welsh Rugby Union.
Roger Lewis, the WRU’s go-ahead chief executive, has revealed behind closed doors talks have taken place about implementing the artificial surface at the home of Welsh sport.