Bernard Laporte has confirmed they are in advanced negotiations with SA Rugby to have the Springboks replace Japan in the Eight Nations competition later this year.
The tournament, with the teams divided into two pools, is set to start on 14 November following the conclusion of this season’s delayed Six Nations.
Initially, the contesting teams were the Six Nations sides along with Japan and Fiji, because New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina were not available to participate in the competition, as they are provisionally scheduled to play the delayed Rugby Championship in October.
But since Japan’s abrupt withdrawal from the eight-team tournament as confirmed on Thursday, organisers are looking at South Africa to come on board in terms of participation.
‘The Japanese will not come to Europe,’ Laporte told French news outlet Le Progres.
‘We are looking for a nation to replace them. We are in advanced discussions with South Africa. It would be great to be able to face the world champion Springboks in this championship, but it’s not yet done.’
Laporte’s announcement that SA Rugby is even considering competing in the Eight Nations, could imply that the Boks may not play in the Rugby Championship or even that the tournament will not go ahead as planned.
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