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'Devastated': Former All Black on if the Springboks leave the Rugby Championship

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

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Former All Black hooker James Parsons says he would be ‘devastated’ to see the Springboks leave the Rugby Championship in 2025, with rumours circulating that South Africa could attempt to join the Six Nations then.

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Having just re-confirmed their commitment to the Rugby Championship until 2024, suggestions about a move for the Springboks to Europe after that remain a possibility.

The impact would be felt heavily in Southern Hemisphere rugby, with the fallout having severe consequences for the All Blacks and Wallabies. On this week’s Aotearoa Rugby Pod, the panel discussed the possibility of a future split happening.

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Aotearoa Rugby Pod | Episode 2
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Aotearoa Rugby Pod | Episode 2

“Personally, I hope not because of the history we have,” James Parsons said.

“The best example of it, in our chat about most feared opponent or players we enjoyed coming up against the most, they were all Springboks or South African Super Rugby players.

“I think that shows the level of admiration and respect we have for their brand of footy.

“I believe it is speculation at this stage. My hope is they remain in the Rugby Championship.”

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Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall said the move would be a major problem for Southern Hemisphere, without the Springboks involved the remaining nations would find it hard to evolve and get better.

Hall conceded that based on recent results and the form of the European teams, the Six Nations is ‘the best rugby played’ anywhere on the globe at the moment.

“I think it would be a massive loss for us. The rivalry, the history throughout the years, it’s a massive game for us. They are our foe,” Hall said.

“If you look at the Six Nations at the moment, there are five teams that can win that competition.

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“The level of consistency in that group, there is a high level about it every week. It’s a doozy of a game.

“If you lose the Springboks, unfortunately we are going to lose that ability to play a high tier match, at that intensity level. I think we need play them consistently, to evolve and get better.

“That’s probably where the best rugby is played at the moment, in the Six Nations. How they are playing at the moment, you look at the European tour last year, how successful they were against the Southern Hemisphere teams.

“It will be massively tough for us if we lose them. I hope it is just speculation.”

The reasons for South Africa’s interest in the move aren’t difficult to understand, with the timezone, travel and finances all attractive selling points.

“I suppose the timezone and travel suits, all those factors and I suppose money does play a part, of course,” Parsons said.

“It is a business these days. I just it hope it doesn’t happen, I don’t know if it is or it isn’t, or the reasons they are looking at it.

“I’ll be devastated.”

Should the Springboks leave, it would reduce the number of clashes against the All Blacks. They two teams could potentially schedule a one-off test each November on the All Blacks end of year tour, or South Africa could tour New Zealand in the June window.

“Glass half-full, it would open up the possibility of them touring in that June series and have the old-school three match test series,” Parsons suggested.

“There potentially might be the opportunity for us to go the other way, I don’t know.”

Although that remained an option the panel discussed with other Six Nations teams scheduling June tours, it would be difficult for the Springboks to tour that often.

With the challenges of the Northern Hemisphere club game, it would remain to be seen just what state the touring squad arrived in.

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