Former England coach Clive Woodward has argued that bringing South Africa into the Six Nations could result in British & Irish Lions tours losing their value.
There has been plenty of talk over the last week after the Daily Mail reported that negotiations had been going on for some time that could see South Africa join the northern hemisphere competition after the 2023 World Cup in France.
Meanwhile, speaking to Sunday newspaper Rapport, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander suggested the article was pure speculation, but did admit the reports are also ‘not too far from the truth because there is a lot of disruption in rugby right now’.
The reality is that SA Rugby is said to be tied into a deal with broadcasters to remain involved in Sanzaar competitions through to 2025.
Writing in his regular column for the Daily Mail, Woodward slammed talk of the Springboks joining the Six Nations and instead suggested that European rugby would be better served by promoting emerging nations like Georgia and Spain.
‘It would be a textbook example of possible short-term financial gain superseding the far greater need to develop European rugby,’ Woodward wrote.
‘We should be making the Six Nations a properly structured, coherent, continental championship with promotion and relegation. It could and should become an integral part of a European structure of international rugby that would see huge development in the game, ultimately producing many more players and teams.
‘As reigning world champions, South Africa do, currently, bring a good deal to the table and perhaps are trying to use that as leverage while they can — but rugby needs to take a long-term strategic view.
‘Has anybody other than the number-crunchers really thought this through in terms of player welfare and the huge dent it would make in supporters’ wallets?
‘With all these annual fixtures against the Springboks, November Tests and summer tours would also become redundant and Lions tours to South Africa will be old hat with no novelty value.’
Photo: Gallo Images
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