Boks to replace Japan in upcoming European tournament?
Bernard Laporte, vice chairman of World Rugby, has confirmed that South Africa could possibly replace Japan, who have now officially withdrawn from the proposed end of year Eight Nations Tournament.
This weekend while he was attending the general assembly of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes where he was to thank and congratulate the outgoing President Patrick Celma for his service to French Rugby, Laporte confirmed the “withdrawal” of Japan from the tournament organized for November with the Six Nations Teams as well as Fiji.
“The Japanese will not come to Europe, he said. We are looking for a nation to replace them. We are in advanced discussions with South Africa. It would be great to be able to face the Springboks, world champions, in the title, but it’s not yet done.”
Group 1 was reportedly to consist of England, Ireland, Fiji and Wales, while Japan were set to join Scotland, Italy and France in Group 2. The current World Champions joining the Eight Nations tournament would certainly be a huge drawcard for fans in Europe.
The Springbok involvement would cast further doubt on their own involvement in the Rugby Championship.
Former Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White cast doubt on the Springboks involvement in the Rugby Championship. The Bulls Director of Rugby White, in his weekly ‘No Holds Barred’ interviews series on the Bulls social media applications, hinted that the Boks may not be involved in the Rugby Championship.
He was asked what his plans are for rotating players and covering injuries and said he will look at the schedule and make assessments before deciding on a strategy.
“There was a feeling that the Springboks would be leaving to play [in the Rugby Championship] overseas,” White said. “That hasn’t been confirmed either.”
“It could be that [players like] Duane Vermeulen and Trevor Nyakane could be available for the entire Currie Cup season.
“If that is the case it has an impact on how you rotate the players.”
What Stadiums will host “Les Bleus” for the tournament?
As to where the six matches due to be played by the French XV are to be hosted and which fans they will cater to, well that’s back up in the air again.
On the first point Laporte originally planned for two games to be played at Stade de France and possibly a third at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in St Etienne, which was to have first hosted the Georgians then followed by the Japanese in November but with the late withdrawal of Japan all programming needs to be reviewed.
Stade de France
However it seems France is likely to go ahead and host Ireland on 31 October while it tries to catch up with the outstanding games in the Six Nations Tournament. Laporte also let it be known that they will also host Wales in a preparation match on 24 October and perhaps South Africa too if negotiations and timing pans out.
He was wary of committing to the second point as well.
“We asked for an exemption to host matches at the Stade de France in front of 55,000 spectators but we recently met with Prime Minister Jean Castex. He made us understand that it would rather be an amount of around 5,000 but we may also be forced to organize these matches behind closed doors if the health situation were to deteriorate ” specified Laporte, before adding:” In any case, these matches will be played! ”
Source: Le Progres