British & Irish Lions

Springboks' future in Six Nations AND Rugby Championship?

Eugene Henning (Gallo Images)
Eugene Henning (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The idea of the Springboks playing in the Six Nations and Rugby Championship should not be viewed as far-fetched.

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That is the view of Eugene Henning, chief executive of MyPlayers, the organisation which represents professional rugby players in South Africa.

"The idea is surely not for six, seven countries to play in a competition (Six Nations) while another competition (Rugby Championship) is weakened. Why can't the Springboks compete in both? It doesn't need to be one or the other," Henning said in an interview with Netwerk24.

Henning was responding to a report over the weekend on the Mail Online website which suggested the world champions could move to the northern hemisphere after the next Rugby World Cup.

The report added that negotiations have been going on behind the scenes for some time, with one source telling the British publication that "things are falling nicely into place."

The Six Nations would then become a seven-team event in 2024 instead of South Africa replacing the hapless Italy.

With so many top Springboks plying their trade overseas, Henning said it would make sense for the Springboks to also play in the Six Nations.

"Some of our Boks like Eben Etzebeth, Handre Pollard, Lood de Jager and Faf de Klerk would then be available to play for South Africa in a Seven Nations.

"As always, later in the year it would be the Rugby Championship, with the year-end tour falling away. So they wouldn't play any more Tests in a calendar year."

Henning's proposal would see the Seven Nations overlap with Super Rugby but he noted that many of South Africa's top players do not feature in Super Rugby anymore.

The benefits of the potential South African move north include an improved TV deal, easier travelling demands on players and similar kick-off times.

The Boks have participated in the Rugby Championship since 1996, when it was known as the Tri-Nations, and have won the event four times.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert

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