Boks in plans for eight-team festival

Reports from the UK suggest that the Springboks and Japan are in the plans for an eight-team Festival of Rugby with the Six Nations.

According to the Daily Mail, continued border and travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic is causing uncertainty around the November Test matches in Europe.

Organisers are accordingly making contingency plans should those Test matches be unable to take place. One of the proposed plans could see the world-champion Springboks join Japan in an eight-team tournament with England, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy.

The London-based tournament would reportedly see the participants split into two pools of eight teams each, with Japan and the Boks in separate pools.

The primary option remains for the southern hemisphere nations to see their November tour to Europe through, but the festival is among the alternatives being planned.

England RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said another option was to have another Six Nations tournament played on a home and away basis, which would start in November and end between February and March.

‘There’s another option of possibly bringing in additional invitational sides,’ Sweeney added. ‘It’s an opportunity to be creative and maybe create some type of festival of rugby.’

SA Rugby is being increasingly linked to the possibility of exploring a move to northern hemisphere tournaments. Reports indicated that the South African Vodacom Super Rugby franchises could join the Pro14 to expand it to a Pro18 competition.

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