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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    South Africa leaving the Southern Hemisphere to join the Seven Nations?

    Not sure if April 1st or not.

    South Africa to join the Six Nations after next World Cup as plans are outlined to create seven-team event

    South Africa are on course to join the Six Nations after the next World Cup, in a move which will radically alter the international rugby landscape.
    Sportsmail has learned that negotiations have been going on behind the scenes for some time and there is now a sense of inevitability that the
    Springboks will take their place in Europe's annual Test tournament in 2024. One source told this newspaper: 'Things are falling nicely into place.'
    It is understood that the plan in principle would involve expanding the championship to a seven-team event - rather than South Africa's entry coming at the expense of struggling
    Italy. That would create pressure on an already congested calendar, but the rewards are regarded as too enticing to ignore.

    The Boks won the World Cup last November, beating England 32-12 in Yokohama. Adding such a powerful nation to the tournament would be a stunning coup for the northern unions and although the time frame is not finalised, the indications are that the change would take place in 2024.
    There will be many profound repercussions. South Africa play in the southern hemisphere's Rugby Championship, along with Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. Their departure would leave a gaping hole, but it may allow for the integration of Japan, whose exploits at their home World Cup have led to demands for them to be accommodated in one of the two regular international competitions.
    In recent months, there has been speculation linking Japan and Fiji with entry into the Six Nations, but Sportsmail sources claim this is unlikely.

    South Africa are believed to be working on an equity injection which would give additional credibility to their arrival at Europe's top table, and complement the on-field kudos of being the holders of the Webb Ellis Cup. Joining an expanded Six Nations would allow them to align with countries far closer to their own time zone.
    It would also increase the value of the Six Nations' television rights, both in Europe and their homeland, with kick-off times far more attractive to a domestic audience. With private equity eager to move rugby to satellite television, the arrival of the Springboks would give them an exciting new product to market.
    The Rugby Championship TV rights in contrast are propped up by New Zealand, with interest in the tournament dwindling in Australia and South Africa.
    Rugby has always been divided on hemisphere lines, but this has condemned the Springboks to gruelling travel demands while taking part in the Rugby Championship, which means players are left to cope with jet-lag. In contrast, flights to Europe would entail no more than a two-hour body-clock adjustment.
    South African players have often voiced their desire to be involved in the north's blue-riband event. Many exiles from the country are employed by clubs in the European leagues and London in particular has a vast South African community.

    There has been an increasing shift in the global balance of power along economic lines, with the southern unions scrambling to prevent an exodus of their leading players to France and England. New Zealand have preferred to allow their stars to enjoy lucrative stints in Japan, which would make integration with the Far East nation a logical step.
    In contrast, South Africa already have two provincial teams in the Pro14 league, along with teams from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy, and they have had designs on greater ties with Europe for some time.
    On Friday, the Six Nations announced details to bundle together commercial arrangements and media rights for the men's and women's championships, autumn Tests and other senior and Under 20 games.
    Negotiations over new broadcast deals will now begin in earnest. They may soon become more attractive with South Africa on board.

    South Africa to join the Six Nations after next World Cup | Daily Mail Online

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Signed agreements': NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson rubbishes report claiming South Africa will join Six Nations

    New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson has rubbished reports that claim South Africa are set to leave the Rugby Championship to join the Six Nations.
    The news that one of the All Blacks' greatest rivals would be leaving the competition sent shockwaves across world rugby, and if true, has the potential to have huge knock on – and potentially detrimental – effects on the future of the game here in New Zealand.
    According to the Daily Mail report, behind-the-scenes negotiations have taken place and there is a "sense of inevitability" that the Springboks will drop out of the Rugby Championship which they currently compete in against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina – a move that could leave the state of the Rugby Championship in crisis.
    One source told the newspaper that "things were falling nicely into place" with South Africa set to take part in Europe's premier competition in 2024, making the Six Nations a seven team tournament.

    However, Robinson – who recently took over from Steve Tew as NZ Rugby boss – wasn't buying the report, saying that South Africa are contracted with Sanzaar (the body which oversees Super Rugby and Rugby Championship) through broadcast deals until 2025.
    "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," Robinson said in an interview with Radio Sport's Jim Kayes. "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.
    "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."

    When pressed further, Robinson confirmed that South Africa are in fact in a contract with Sanzaar until 2025, which would dispute the reports that the Boks could compete in the newly formed Six Nations in 2024.

    "Our broadcast deal from Sky is from 2021 to 2025. South Africa are in the same space," Robinson said.
    "This is really a conversation for South Africa to go into that level of detail. But as it stands, we've put ourselves in that situation. We're committed to the international calendar we have that we were working through in our domestic and our cross-water competitions.

    "South Africa are in a very similar situation. There will be opportunities for them to review certain things within that but overall they've got that commitment."
    South Africa Rugby Union, like many unions in the Southern hemisphere, is feeling the economic pressures of the sport, especially in the face of the relative financial power of the North. And a potential move to a competition like the Six Nations could prove to be a valuable – even necessary – move if the current state of the game in the South doesn't change.
    South Africa has already seen two club sides, the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings, drop out of Super Rugby and join the Pro14, which is contested between teams from Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

    Robinson says that one of the ways Sanzaar and its member nations are looking to combat that is by expanding the Rugby Championship to include emerging nations like Japan and Pacific Island countries.
    "We're very committed to looking at opportunities in those areas," said Robinson. "The Sanzaar conversations that I referred to, we were talking about ways in which we can look for emerging nations to have more opportunity to play in competitions, be that in the Rugby Championship or in a promotion/relegation sort of system in the Rugby Championship.

    "We've been very consistent on the fact that it's the right thing for rugby in terms of growing it globally. And it's the right thing to do in terms of growing opportunities for things like extra revenue into the game and building a truly global game."

    While he admits that those conversations are still in its infancy, Robinson believes it is something that has to be done with "urgency".
    "I think it's critical. We would like to bring a sense of urgency to that in the next little while. And we're certainly actively engaged with those unions at the moment around those sorts of opportunities.
    "We're at the early stages of these conversations. So there's a number of options we're looking at. And it really depends once we get all the people in the room and they can sort of give us a sense of what their expectation is of being able to come into those conversations and be competitive. Balance that with the current joint venture parties of Sanzaar and see how that looks.
    "There are ideas floating around but probably too early to say anything publicly in that space. But we are engaged and very genuine in trying to make this happen."

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
    sabang's Avatar
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    Today @ 05:16 AM
    Can't blame them sadly. Australian rugby is a mismanaged mess, and Sky have just pulled out of their TV contract with the ARU. Argentina is, well Argentina- and bloody hard and gruelling to get to. Nz & Oz ain't exactly centre of the earth either. Plus, it's a better competition in the north really. More money in it too. Europe closer, & compatible time zone. Surprised it took this long.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    Plus, it's a better competition in the north really
    Eight of nine World Cup winners are from the SH, SH teams habitually top the rankings, the Player of the Year award is dominated by SH players, and NH teams all actively recruit for SH players. So no not really.

    Can't see it happening anyways. Who does the average Bokke fan want to see their team play: the All Blacks or England.

  5. #5
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Way, Way South of the border now - thank God!
    Quote Originally Posted by AntRobertson View Post
    Can't see it happening anyways. Who does the average Bokke fan want to see their team play: the All Blacks or England.
    Double-edged sword there . . . everyone's least favourite team is England, so much more fun to beat . . . and the Boks don't fare as well against the ABs

    It makes as much sense as Australia being in the Eurovision Song Contest

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