Sharks CEO Ed Coetzee has claimed that South Africa joining the Six Nations is “bound to happen” as a result of of private equity company CVC Capital Partners.
South Africa’s four best franchises – the Sharks, the Lions, the Bulls and the Stormers – will all play in the United Rugby Championship next year, alongside the best sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
Coetzee was speaking to The Telegraph about what the future holds for South African rugby and argued that CVC, which has stakes in both the Six Nations and URC, will want to see the Springboks join Europe’s premier tournament.
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— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) July 22, 2021
Sharks CEO on the Springboks joining the Six Nations.
“I think it will definitely happen. I think if we asked them now, they would say never. But if we also asked them if we [South African clubs] would play in Europe, they would have said never,” Coetzee said.
“So I think it is a natural progression – it’s bound to happen. I think there might be a promotion and relegation. I think Georgia are also pushing hard and Italy haven’t been great.
“You have the likes of private-equity guys, CVC, coming into rugby and they are not coming in to lose money. They want commercially sound, scalable competitions – it just makes sense.
“The only thing we have in common with New Zealand and Australia is that we are in the southern hemisphere. There is about a 15-hour journey to Sydney – how do you compete?”
The Springboks’ plans for the future.
While South Africa’s best provincial sides will play in next season’s URC, and likely the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup the season after, the Springboks will remain playing in the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship for the time being.
SANZAAR announced last year that the Springboks has committed to the Rugby Championship until 2030, which includes Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
Super Rugby, which is also run by SANZAAR, only featured teams from Australia and New Zealand this year, although a Fijian side and joint Tongan-Samoan side are expected to join next year.