Fitzpatrick: ‘Sad day’ when Boks leave Rugby Champs

Former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick has added his voice to those who would rue the Springboks leaving the Rugby Championship to join the Six Nations.

Despite committing to Sanzaar and the Rugby Championship until at least the end of 2024, suggestions are that the door is still open for the Springboks to join the Six Nations in 2025.

The Springboks have been involved in the southern-hemisphere tournament since it was first formed as the Tri-Nations in 1996, claiming their first title in 1998.

Their rivalry with the All Blacks is a highlight of the Test calendar, as the two teams have a history going back to 1921.

Former and current All Blacks have already spoken out against the Boks leaving the Rugby Championship.

During an online media conference ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards, Fitzpatrick, who led New Zealand in the All Blacks’ first series victory over the Boks in South Africa in 1996, also added his opinion about the potential move.

“I think it would be a sad day for rugby,” Fitzpatrick said. “There’s a lot of talk about it, in New Zealand and up here [in the UK]. But I think there’s a bigger question in terms of what competitions do we want?” Fitzpatrick said from Llanelli in Wales.

“The Six Nations is arguably the best competition in world rugby at the moment, outside of the World Cup. I think we’ve seen that in the first three rounds that it’s compelling viewing. Why look at something and adding something to it when it’s not broken, without question?

“I don’t personally like having a southern-hemisphere team in the Six Nations, because the history of the competition is northern hemisphere, basically. That’s not a great reason not to change it! But I just like the Six Nations as it is.

“In terms of the southern hemisphere, it will be devastating to the Championship if we lost South Africa out of that competition. So, no, I would not like seeing that happen [the Boks joining the Six Nations].”

Photo: Getty Images

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Dylan Jack