South Africa rugby is in its best form with the Springboks winning the Rugby World Cup 2023, but not before giving Ireland and France a good run. South Africa has made a mark for itself in rugby in the world as reigning champions.
And now there are talks that South Africa will be part of Europe’s rugby world – Six Nations – that boasts the best international rugby teams England, Wales, Ireland, France, Scotland and Italy. The Six Nations League is known as rugby’s greatest championship.
The South Africa Springboks has mainly played against teams in the southern hemisphere – New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina. But in recent years, it has joined the Pro-14 playing alongside Scottish, Italian and Welsh clubs in 2017. The European teams are keen to play more often with South Africa, and eager for it to join the Six Nations.
South Africa Has the Best
Jean de Villiers, former South African professional rugby union player, believes South Africa currently has both of the best worlds. “The Six Nations, what it stands for, the history of it, you need to ask those questions as well. How does it influence the history of the game and all of that. I think we’ve got the best of both worlds currently where we play our club rugby in the northern hemisphere and we play our international rugby in the southern hemisphere in the Rugby Championship. So you get the best of both worlds.”
Jean said if the South Africa Springboks were to move totally to the northern hemisphere, it has already seen the logistical challenges. “I think we’ll lose a big part of what South Africa rugby is all about, because we play New Zealand so much, because we play Australia and Argentina so much.” He believes moving away will be risky. “But a lot of decisions get made on a financial basis and not really on the rugby as such.”
Bryan Habana, South African former rugby union player, proposes a global calendar instead of South Africa having to move. “If we really want rugby to become a global game, the season needs to start in September, the Rugby Championship needs to move to the Six Nations window, then it’s a global calendar.”
South Africa Six Nations 2025
Craig Ray, South African rugby journalist, believes it has always been South Africa’s plan for the national team to join the Six Nations. “The plan is to be in Six Nations by I think 2025. Possibly as early as 2024 after the World Cup. And it’s certainly part of the discussions that are going on. Getting into the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup was the next step.” He said the only logical step from there is into the Six Nations.
But Ben Morel, the CEO of Six Nations, had rejected any plans to expand the championship back in May. Despite South Africa’s four franchises – the Stormers, Sharks, Bulls, and Lions – transitioned to club competitions in the northern hemisphere, he said there are no discussions as such.