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South Africa ‘set to replace Italy in the Six Nations in 2025’

17 Feb 2022 3 minute read
Six Nations trophy / South Africa celebrate winning the 2019 world cup (Credit: Creative Commons)

South Africa are set to replace Italy in the Six Nations in a move which would see the Springboks remove themselves from the Southern Hemisphere Rugby Championship.

South Africa’s switch to the Six Nations is very much on with talks continuing about the Springboks joining Europe’s showpiece tournament from 2025, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

While South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina this week committed to the Southern Hemisphere’s annual Rugby Championship for three more years, the South African rugby union informed the southern hemisphere’s governing body Sanzaar, that they are exploring their option of joining the Six Nations after 2025.

The move comes with the country’s provincial sides now competing in the United Rugby Championship (URC) with Welsh, Scottish, Irish and Italian teams, and from next season they will take part in European tournaments.

The South Africa paving stone outside the Principality Stadium (Credit: Creative Commons)

It’s believed that investors CVC are a ‘driving force’ behind the idea after buying a £365m stake in the competition, a deal which was announced in March 2021.

CVC is a Luxembourg-based international private equity investment firm that have invested in a number of sports globally including cricket, football, Formula 1 and rugby

The newspaper reports that the most likely plan is for the six team format to be retained at the expense of a weaker Italy team, rather than any expansion of the championship.

Spectacle

When he was asked last year about the option of expanding the tournament, Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel said: “The Six Nations have added to and reduced its teams very few times in its 140 years, so it’s something we’d be very cautious about doing. We’re pretty happy with what we have, but we’re pretty sure it could be improved.”

When the CVC investment in the Six Nations was announced last March, the company issued a mission statement which read: “The objective is to enhance the sporting spectacle of all the tournaments, teams and brands; and to build broader commercial capabilities to support these ambitious plans.

“These steps will ensure continued development for the benefit of fans, and to attract a new more diverse and global fan base.”

Today’s report will only heighten debate about whether South Africa competing in the Six Nations at the expense of Italy is a giant leap forward or a step too far.


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Dave
Dave
7 months ago

make it the 7 Nations, I love going to Rome for the Rugby but Ellis Park every other year is pricey

Paul
Paul
7 months ago
Reply to  Dave

6 nations is better than 5 or 7 nations. It means that every team gets a game every week.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
7 months ago
Reply to  Dave

What matters is the competitiveness of the tournament – not people having a good p*** up in rome or anywhere else

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
7 months ago

I see the 6 nations as a European event. I feel that this move is for making money rsther than for the love and development of the game.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
7 months ago

I agree. And it undermines the Southern hemisphere competition. And the well established concept of the contest between Northern and Southern hemispheres in the RWC.

Last edited 7 months ago by Cai Wogan Jones
david hagger
david hagger
7 months ago

The Covid pandemic has shown us its better to stay local. The Climate Crisis means we have to travel less. This plan is not progress for the World.

Rob
Rob
7 months ago

If any country is going to be added to the Six Nations then it should be Georgia. It took France 50 years to win its first championship. Perhaps the Italians would be incentivised to improve if we had promotion and relegation to the Rugby Europe Championship.

The Rugby Championship should be expanded to include Fiji and Japan, and a Championship B tournament should be established involving Tonga, Samoa, USA, Canada, Uruguay and Namibia with promotion and relegation.

Rugby needs to expand globally and not be a closed shop, run by amateur dinosaurs, motivated by self interest.

Last edited 7 months ago by Rob
GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
7 months ago

It’s insular enough not having promotion and relegation and now they do the dirty on Italy like this? What a self serving sport.

defaid
defaid
7 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Self-serving private equity investment firm.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

Football in Europe has recently introduced the nations league, with promotion and relegation, and Cymru now sit at the top table. A decade ago we were ranked 117 we are now 20th in the world. Rugby need to follow this lead to grow the sport and give Italy and others the chance that Uefa gave to Cymru and other smaller nations.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Agree 100%. If football was as insular and imperialistic as rugby there would barely be any national teams at all. We have benefitted massively from football being availiable to every country and even giving nations like San Marino a chance at the top table if they improve. This is how all international sports should be.

Matt
Matt
7 months ago

Well it’s no surprise CVC is driving this. As they showed in Formula 1 they care not one jot for the sport, as long as they are raking in the cash.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
7 months ago

There are double the amount of national teams in football than there is in rugby. Being insular doesn’t make the sport popular worldwide.

Cynan
Cynan
7 months ago

Cr@pping on Italy? The individual Unions (especially the WRU) and the 6N tournament itself is rotten. I’ve been moving away from it for years. I think I’m done with this “sport” now.
Let them wear their silly hanoverian feathers. Not my sport!

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
7 months ago

Italy have lost 34 consecutive 6 nations games, in any other meaningful competition they would have been relegated and replaced by a second tier ranking team in europe long before now. It’s frankly a scandal that the door remains firmly shut to europe’s second ranking rugby nations and the IRB should have insisted long ago on a route into the 6 N for the likes of georgia or romania etc.

Rob
Rob
7 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Italy are still miles above Georgia and Romania, but I agree that they should be given an opportunity. Promotion and relegation would force Italy to pull their socks up as well as incentiving lower tier nations. An annual playoff match could take place between the 6N wooden spooners and the REC winners to determine if promotion/relegation occurs.

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