Boks set to join Six Nations from 2025

Boks set to join Six Nations from 2025

For quite some time, it has been believed that the Boks will eventually join an expanded Six Nations, or maybe replace one of the current northern hemisphere nations – most likely Italy.
The Sanzaar governing body announced around the end of 2020 that the Boks will compete in the Rugby Championship until at least 2030 as part of a new 10-year plan, but it was verified this week that any “promise” now only lasts until 2025.
Last year, SA Rugby reminded their Sanzaar partners that they were “exploring their options,” implying that a transfer to the Six Nations is only a matter of time.
South Africa’s four leading franchises – the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions – have already headed into northern hemisphere competition with the start of the United Rugby Championship.
And according to the Daily Mail, South Africa are accelerating their move to join the Six Nations, something that is supported by investors CVC, and which looks most likely to happen in 2025.

“Last year, CVC bought a one-seventh stake in the competition, in return for an investment of ‘up to £365million’,” the Daily Mail report states
“It is understood that, behind the scenes, the private equity firm are acting as a driving force in promoting talks aimed at ensuring South Africa join the Six Nations. They are said to believe that significant commercial gains can be achieved only by fundamental upheaval and reform.
“South African rugby has been gradually aligning with the North — shifting away from the traditional ties with Southern Hemisphere partners in very different time zones. Their provincial sides are now in the United Rugby Championship (URC) with Welsh, Scottish, Irish and Italian teams, and from next season they will take part in European tournaments.
“The country has a deep-rooted rugby culture, providing commercial clout which has propped up the Sanzaar (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina) alliance for years.
“Their ability to generate broadcast revenue was a major appeal to European unions, leading to the creation of the URC.”

The Sanzaar partnership has appeared to be increasingly strained over the last couple of years, with cracks appearing ever since New Zealand were seen to have unilaterally decided that they would be leaving Super Rugby after the pandemic threw the competition into disarray.
Some reports have suggested this dramatic move could take place straight after the 2023 World Cup, but Sanzaar announced on Wednesday that NZ Rugby, Rugby Australia, SA Rugby and Argentina Rugby had all committed to the Rugby Championship until 2025, in line with existing broadcast agreements.
Yet, Sanzaar chief executive Brendan Morris has told Stuff.co.nz that the long-term strategy has already had to be revised, and plenty of developments are sure to take place over the next couple of years.

“They [South Africa] did put us on notice they were exploring their options, that was well before Christmas,” Morris said.
“We debated whether we do an announcement around the extension of the joint venture [until 2025]. But it’s purely a document that allows us to operate the business structure that we have.
“We’ve got a number of international and local broadcast deals that are extended to 2025. There was never any cause for alarm that we were never go to meet those obligations.
“But, at the end of the day, it’s about getting the partners together to create a fit-for-purpose strategy.”

Some talks suggest the Boks could participate in both the Rugby Championship and Six Nations

Morris also noted that the financial impact of Covid-19 made it necessary for all unions to consider what competition structures best suited them commercially.

“Where is the Rugby Championship going? Are we looking at expanding? Are we looking at staying the same? Are there potential window opportunities to align with the global season?
“Some of that work now needs to come in and that’s why it’s great the joint-venture partners are all committed to 2025, and looking at what the future is.
“I don’t think we should read too much into, ‘all bets are off, South Africa are exploring their options’.
“It’s about sitting down with them, and all the partners, and saying, OK we had a vision until 2030 with Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship, we now need to amend that vision’.”

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