'Six Nations and Rugby Champs': Jean on the perfect scenario
SPOTLIGHT: Former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers would like to see South Africa in the Six Nations, but doesn’t want them to completely cut ties with New Zealand and Australia.
There has been growing speculation that the Springboks will join the Northern Hemisphere tournament, especially after the Stormers, Lions, Bulls and Sharks left Super Rugby to join what is now known as the United Rugby Championship (URC).
Speaking during a media round table organised by the URC, De Villiers believes it would be ideal if the Springboks get the best of both worlds going forward.
“Do we go full steam ahead only into Europe or is there still a connection with Australia and New Zealand?” said De Villiers.
“From a South African point of view, if we lose that [SANZAAR] connection it could be dangerous for South African rugby.
“But it could be a perfect situation for South African Rugby as well if we enter the Six Nations and you are still involved with Rugby Championship.
“Being a South African, I think that could be a perfect scenario. But would that ever happen? I got no idea.
“It does change. It was the Four Nations, then Five Nations and now Six Nations, so it has changed over time and the inevitability of it changing again is probably pretty strong.
“The question will always be what is the reason for the change. If it’s only commercially driven, then it will probably happen.
“If you want it to stay what it is now then it probably wouldn’t be on the cards to have the Springboks join.”
Impact on the B&I Lions tour
Former Scotland international Jim Hamilton does not want the Boks in the Six Nations but believes the move might be inevitable.
“I am a complete traditionalist,” said Hamilton.
“I am a romantic around the Six Nations and as much as I love South Africa, I don’t want to see them in the Six Nations.
“But I think it will happen.
“It’s the inevitability of the commerciality of the game with the way we see the URC happening now and the European aspect of it, which would add another dynamic.
“I genuinely think there is an inevitability to this. I think in the next couple of years the momentum will start gathering.
“Watching as a kid and as a player, Super Rugby was so strong.
“Watching the [Rugby] Championship and the Tri-Nations, for me, I can’t get my head around that looking any different and the Six Nations being any different with games in Rome. Paris, Dublin, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.
“These are fantastic places. Not that South Africa isn’t, but in my mind, I can’t get my head around it.”
Hamilton believes that if Boks move to the Six Nations it will destroy the British and Irish Lions Tour.
“You completely take the romance out of the British and Irish Lions tour if they [Wales, England, Ireland and Scotland] are playing South Africa every season,” Hamilton added.
De Villiers agreed with Hamilton.
“I would be so saddened to see the Lions tour not happen if this decision is made,” said De Villiers.
“The Lions tour, as a South African, is one of the most special things ever.
“It is something that we should never let go.”
*Jim Hamilton as Premier Sports analyst and Jean de Villers as SuperSport analyst