Rugby: Taylor Swift concert forces Wales to 'host' South Africa at Twickenham

Taylor Swift.
Taylor Swift. Photo credit: Getty Images

Wales will meet world champions South Africa in a one-off test at neutral Twickenham on June 22, a first fixture for the Springboks since the return of Rassie Erasmus as head coach, after their Rugby World Cup triumph in France last year.

The test is scheduled to fall between two concerts at Cardiff's Principality Stadium, which is hosting Taylor Swift on June 18 and the Foo Fighters on June 25.  

Both sides could be severely depleted, as the game will fall outside World Rugby's international window and on the same day scheduled for the United Rugby Championship final.

The Springboks inflicted a record 35-7 defeat on the All Blacks in front of a sizeable expatriate crowd at Twickenham last August, when they first experimented with their 7-1 split between forwards and backs on the bench.

Depleted or not, they will use this test to fine-tune for two home fixtures against Ireland in July, where the No.1 ranking in the world could be on the line.

"We have very fond memories of the World Cup warm-up test we played against the All Blacks at Twickenham last year," said Erasmus.

"The fact that we're playing Wales, who we have faced there before in an exhilarating 2015 World Cup quarter-final, will bring back plenty of memories as well."

Wales coach Warren Gatland is rebuilding his squad with young players and sees the clash at Twickenham as an important steppingstone.

South Africa thumped the Welsh 52-16 in a World Cup warm-up game at Cardiff last August.

"To have the opportunity for our young squad to test itself against the world champions at a neutral venue is an extremely important experience and something that we will relish," said Gatland.

The match forms part of a doubleheader in Southwest London, as a the Robbie Deans-coached Barbarians side play Fiji later in the day.