Wales to play ‘home’ match at Twickenham because of Taylor Swift and the Foo Fighters

Wales players singing their national anthem before a Six Nations match at Twickenham
Wales' players will be making more than one visit to Twickenham this year - PA/David Davies

Taylor Swift and Dave Grohl have forced Wales to relocate to Twickenham this summer where they will face world champions South Africa on June 22.

Warren Gatland’s side are unable to play the fixture at the Principality Stadium, which is hosting gigs for Swift on June 18 and then Grohl’s Foo Fighters on June 25. Wales will return to Twickenham, where they lost 16-14 to England on Feb 10 in the Six Nations, to take on the Springboks, who will playing their first match since winning the World Cup.

The match will be part of a double-header with the Barbarians, featuring England’s most-capped male player Ben Youngs, taking on Fiji later in the day. Wales will then head to Australia for a two-Test series against Australia, who will be coached by Joe Schmidt for the first time.

“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,” head coach Gatland said. “It should also be a great occasion for the fans and something a little bit different for them.

“We’re also excited for the opportunity we have with our two Tests in Australia in July. We know the Wallabies will be hurting after the Rugby World Cup but Australia is a tough place to go and play rugby and we’re expecting a fired-up side led by new head coach Joe Schmidt.”

Twickenham has generally been a happy hunting ground in recent years for the Springboks, who thrashed New Zealand 35-7 there in a World Cup warm-up last year and defeated England 27-13, which brought the curtain down on Eddie Jones’s reign as head coach in 2022. Yet with Rassie Erasmus stepping back into the role as South Africa head coach following the departure of his right-hand man Jacques Nienaber to Leinster, the Springboks will be going through a considerable transition ahead of hosting Ireland in their summer series.

“We are thrilled to return to Twickenham in what will mark our first Test since the Rugby World Cup 2023 final in France,” Erasmus said. “We have very fond memories of the RWC 23 warm-up Test we played against the All Blacks at Twickenham last year. The atmosphere and occasion were truly remarkable, and we are expecting a very similar experience in June.

“The fact that we’re facing Wales, who we have faced there before in an exhilarating Rugby World Cup 2015 quarter-final, will bring back plenty of other memories as well.

“We may be playing on foreign territory, but we enjoy fantastic support from the expat community in London and its surrounds, so we are really looking forward to the match.”