NZ Rugby CEO rubbishes reports of Springboks joining Six Nations

CEO Mark Robinson says that NZRFU have faith in SA Rugby’s loyalty to SANZAAR and the Championship.

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New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Officer Mark Robinson says there is no credence to claims that the Springboks will join the Six Nations in 2024.

Robinson laughed off the suggestion in an interview with New Zealand’s Radio SportHe referenced past claims that the likes of Japan and Fiji would join the Six Nations. 

New Zealand Rugby chief mocks ‘nine’ nations

04b7ac2c nz rugby mark robinson - NZ Rugby CEO rubbishes reports of Springboks joining Six Nations
TOKYO, JAPAN – OCTOBER 31: NZRU CEO Mark Robinson looks on during the New Zealand All Blacks captain’s run at at Tatsuminomori Seaside Park on October 31, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

“I think this is the third team now in the past month that there’s been reports out of the northern hemisphere that are going to join the Six Nations. By my count they are up to nine nations at some time in the next few years which we all know is simply not feasible,” Robinson said.

The reports first published by UK tabloid the Daily Mail, claim the Springboks could join the northern hemisphere’s Six Nations Championship as soon as 2024.

Robinson countered those claims by pointing out that Sanzaar have broadcast agreements in place up until 2025. The reports claimed that talks between SA Rugby and the Six Nations were in advanced stages.

The New Zealand Rugby Chief claims that the relationship between the Sanzaar unions is a strong one, despite suggestions from his own country that the Springboks should be dumped from the Rugby Championship.

“We’re very comfortable in our relationship and South Africa’s relationship with SANZAAR. Like us, they’ve signed agreements with their broadcasters through 2025 to be involved with SANZAAR. And as recently as this week we were on calls talking about the future of our competitions at Super level and international level. So SANZAAR and certainly South Africa were very engaged in those conversations.

“They are people that we trust, they are very honest and they’ve been great partners over the last 25 years. We would like to think that we would be privy to those sorts of comments or conversations if they had been had.”

SA Rugby have been repeatedly urged to seek an agreement with the northern powers given that involvement would not pose the same travel and time zone differences as Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship.

The Rugby Championship’s biggest draw is undoubtedly the Springboks rivalry with the All Blacks and losing SA Rugby would be a huge blow to the tournament as well as New Zealand Rugby and the other two unions.

Japan and Fiji are realistic candidates to join an expanded Rugby Championship which might help prevent the tournament from overexposing the All Blacks vs Springboks rivalry.

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