The Springboks will feature in the premier division of a biennial mini World Cup, according to reports that World Rugby is planning to introduce a global competition in 2026.
The Times reports rugby bosses are set to meet in Dublin to discuss a two-tier, cross-hemisphere competition comprising 12 teams in the top division and 12 in the second division.
Dubbed the “Nations Championship”, the competition would run biennially in “even years” to avoid clashing with the Rugby World Cup and British & Irish Lions tours.
The Times reports a 12-team top division would likely start in 2026 and consist of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy from the Six Nations, as well as South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Fiji and Japan from the southern hemisphere.
The second division will feature Samoa, Tonga, USA, Canada, Uruguay, Chile, Namibia, Georgia, Romania, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.
According to the report, the emerging nations are already on board, having agreed to sacrifice annual fixtures against top-ranked teams in order to form the “Challenger Division” in 2024.
In the top division, each northern-hemisphere team would play a southern-hemisphere rival once, either home or away.
The Six Nations teams would play away games in July, before hosting the southern-hemisphere teams in November.
After the six fixtures, the top-two teams would meet in a grand final, while there would also be two relegation playoffs against leading teams from the second tier.