Cape Town - All Blacks coach Ian Foster has come out strongly against the idea that the Springboks could leave SANZAAR to join a newly-expanded Six Nations.
A bombshell report published in the Mail Online website on Saturday claimed talks were already ongoing for the Boks to join a newly formatted 'Seven Nations' in 2024.
However, Six Nations tournament organisers have moved quickly to dispel the rumours, saying that no such talks are in the pipeline, while New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Mark Robinson also refuted the claims, saying that the South African Rugby Union has television agreements in place with SANZAAR until 2025.
And now new All Blacks coach Ian Foster, who replaced Steve Hansen after the World Cup, believes it would be a travesty if the Boks and All Blacks' rivalry was lost.
"My initial reaction was thank goodness it was written in an English newspaper because I don't believe most of that stuff," Foster said.
"There's been a little bit of smoke around this for a while - the reality is our board has to make sure it has a strong relationship with South Africa and is talking, which I know they have been.
"If you take the politics out of it I can't imagine an All Black year not playing the South Africans. If you just think about it, historically they are our greatest foe.
"We need them in our competition, they are a fantastic group of people, fantastic country, and we need them to play here. We know they are committed to do that for the next cycle, we've just got to make sure we've got a working relationship with them and deal with things.
"One thing we can't solve is the economy there and I don't know if South Africa would really want to go north but they've got other pressures which are playing with their game.
"Any visit over there in a black jersey is special, simply because of the respect we have for them. It must continue."
- TEAMTalk Media