Six Nations vice-president Bernard Laporte revealed this weekend that the Springboks are advanced talks to join the ‘Eight Nations’ tournament after Japan’s withdrawal from the one-off event.
Six Nations in talks to have Springboks replace Brave Blossoms
The Six Nations plans to stage an expanded tournament in the end-of-year international window were rocked by Japan’s decision not to send their team over virus concerns.
Fiji have agreed to take part in the event that is set to replace the November tours, but the Springboks would need to pull out of the Rugby Championship to take part.
Laporte confirmed Japan’s withdrawal while revealing that the World Champion Springboks could be set to replace the team that defeated Ireland and Scotland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The Springboks saw off Italy, Wales and England among the Six Nations powers on their way to Webb Ellis glory and every team in the North would like a crack at the top dogs.
“The Japanese will not come to Europe, he told us. We are looking for a nation to replace them. We are in advanced talks with South Africa. It would be great to be able to face the Springboks, world champions. in the title, but it’s not yet done,” Laporte told Le Progress in France.
Eight Nations vs Rugby Championship
If the Eight Nations takes place according to the original blueprints, the teams will split into two groups of four. In the initially proposed draw England, Ireland, Fiji and Wales made up Group 1 and Japan were set to join Scotland, Italy and France in Group 2.
Should the Springboks slot into Japan’s place they would presumably face Scotland, who had been scheduled to visit South Africa this year, France for the first time since 2018 and clash with Italy. The Springboks World Cup win over Italy came against 14-men with the Azurri lucky not to have two players sent off for a nightmare tip-tackle on Duane Vermeulen.
SA Rugby hope to get the Currie Cup off the ground by the third weekend of September. The organisation has been steered into dangerous waters by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown and may consider the Eight Nations payday over sticking to their Rugby Championship commitments.
The Six Nations might turn to Georgia should they be unable to lure the Springboks to the Northern Hemisphere in November. The Lelos have been a dominant force in Europe’s second-tier for some time.