FRESH REPORTS have emerged today claiming that Southern Hemisphere side and World Cup holders South Africa are ready to replace Italy in the Six Nations in 2025.
The Books pledged their allegiance to the Rugby Championship until 2025, where they play New Zealand and Australia every year on Wednesday afternoon.
But reports from several outlets have refuted that claim and are now claiming that South Africa are to set to join the other format in 2025.
Six Nations upheaval on the cards as South Africa set to join from 2025, with most likely scenario involving the Boks replacing Italy, rather than an expansion to seven teams. Story for @MailSport … https://t.co/IvoztC0GAf
— Chris Foy (@FoyChris) February 16, 2022
The Guardian for example mentions that the Six Nations insisted its focus remains on revamping the July and November Test windows with key talks to take place next month. Those discussions could result in a new‑look world competition to be held every two years from 2024.
The world champions have slowly been aligning themselves with northern hemisphere rugby: their franchise teams — the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions — joined the United Rugby Championship this season, which also features teams from Ireland, Scotland, Italy and Wales/
Italy have become the whipping boys of the tournament for many years and talk of teams going up and down started to emerge with the likes of Georgia replacing them.
Former Wales captain spoke about previously about it and said;
“If Italy come bottom [again] and Georgia win, at the next international window Georgia should travel to Italy, so [Italy] still get home advantage, but then you have a playoff game to get into the Six Nations."
The plans for South Africa to enter the Six Nations are said to be backed by CVC, the private equity firm who have bought a £365million stake in the Six Nations and the United Rugby Championship. They see the monumental shift as a financial benefit
Brendan Morris, the Chief Executive of the National Rugby Unions of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia (Sanzaar) said that plans had been put on the table before Christmas
“South Africa did put us on notice they were exploring their options – that was well before Christmas,
“We’ve got a number of international and local broadcast deals that are extended to 2025. There was never any cause for alarm that we were never going to meet those obligations."
Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel says he is “extremely cautious” about expansion, but CVC are said to feel South African involvement would bring enormous commercial gains and make an already legendary tournament even greater.
🗣️ South Africa are basically one foot already in the Six Nations 🏉
Eoin and Ger look at the Springboks potentially joining the tournament from 2025. 🇿🇦#OTBAM with @gilletteuk | #BestFaceForward
Full chat - https://t.co/fSIt9FYBe6 pic.twitter.com/3mipwX17mB
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) February 17, 2022