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Springboks 'will definitely' join Six Nations

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Springboks are ‘definitely’ joining the Six Nations over the coming years, according to the chief executive of the Sharks.


South Africa’s franchises – the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers – already made their move to Europe’s United Rugby Championship (formerly the PRO14) following their departure from Super Rugby in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

SANZAAR announced last year that SA Rugby had committed itself to the Rugby Championship until 2030 after missing last year’s Tri-Nations due to concerns around the pandemic.

However, with the virus causing disruptions around the globe, whether that commitment will be upheld over the next nine years remains to be seen.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the Sharks CEO Ed Coetzee said South Africa’s move from the Rugby Championship to the Six Nations is inevitable.

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“I think it will definitely happen,” Coetzee said.

“I think if we asked them now, they would say never. But if we also asked them if we would play in Europe, they would have said never.

“So I think it is a natural progression – it’s bound to happen.”

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Coetzee suggested a promotion-relegation mechanism may be added to the Six Nations to allow for the inclusion of other teams such as Georgia.

He also said the rising financial investments of private equity firms in rugby means profitable and commercially sustainable tournaments will be appealing.

Consequently,  private equity investors would inevitably push South Africa towards Europe admit Coetzee

“I think there might be a promotion and relegation” Coetzee explained, adding: “I think Georgia are also pushing hard and Italy haven’t been great.

“You have the likes of private-equity guys, CVC, coming into rugby and they are not coming in to lose money. They want commercially sound, scalable competitions – it just makes sense.

“The only thing we have in common with New Zealand and Australia is that we are in the southern hemisphere. There is about a 15-hour journey to Sydney – how do you compete?”

The Springboks, meanwhile, will get a taste of some of the best the Six Nations has to offer when they take on the British and Irish Lions in the opening Test of their series in Cape Town on Saturday.

By Sam Smith, Rugbypass

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