Cape Town - The Springboks will kick off their 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan with a blockbuster opening encounter against reigning champions, New Zealand, on Saturday September 21 in the International Stadium in Yokohama.
READ: Full RWC 2019 match schedule
World Rugby announced the draw for RWC 2019 in Tokyo on Thursday morning (SA time) - the tournament will start on Friday, September 20 with a match between the hosts, Japan, and a qualifier from Europe.
The tournament will culminate with the final on November 2, 2019 in Yokohama.
South Africa, World Cup champions in 1995 and 2007, face three-time winners New Zealand in the first of four matches during the pool stages of the tournament.
The last time the Springboks and All Blacks clashed at the World Cup was in 2015, when New Zealand defeated South Africa by two points in an epic semi-final match at Twickenham in London, England. The Boks then overcame Argentina in the Bronze Final to claim third spot.
Following their huge opening encounter against their traditional rivals, the Springboks’ next group match is against the top qualifying team from Africa, on September 28 at the City of Toyota Stadium.
In their third group match, the Springboks play Italy on Friday October 4 in the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa. Kick off, as in the case of the first two matches, is set for 18:45 local time (11:45 SA time).
The Springboks finish their group fixtures four days later in the Kobe Misaki Stadium against the repechage winner, with this match starting at 19:15 (12:15 SA time).
The quarter-finals are scheduled for October 19 and 20 (in Oita and Tokyo), followed by the two semi-finals on October 26 and 27 (both in Yokohama) and the bronze medal match on November 1 (in Tokyo).
Rugby World Cup 2019 pools:
Pool A: Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, Playoff winner
Pool B: New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, Repechage winner
Pool C: England, France, Argentina, USA, Tonga
Pool D: Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji, Americas 2
The Springboks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup match schedule (with local and SA times):
Saturday, September 21: South Africa v New Zealand, International Stadium - Yokohama (18:45/11:45)
Saturday, September 28: South Africa v Africa 1, City of Toyota Stadium - Aichi (18:45/11:45)
Friday, October 4: South Africa v Italy, Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa - Shizuoka (18:45/11:45)
Tuesday, October 8: South Africa v Repechage winner, Kobe Misaki Stadium - Kobe (19:15/12:15)