Irish pundit calls for Italy to be axed from Six Nations to make way for South Africa
The manner of conceding nearly 100 points was proof that Italian rugby is no longer fit for purpose in Europe’s premier international rugby competition.
Italy has just 13 victories from 120 Six Nations appearances since joining the competition in 2000 and often go long stretches without wins.
They were able to break a seven-year losing streak in 2022 when they beat Wales 22-21 for their first victory since 2015, but ended up with the wooden spoon again in 2023 with another winless campaign.
Cahill wrote it was “only a matter of time” before South Africa takes Italy’s place in the Championship. He believed there wasn’t room for both teams due to the demands of the annual calendar.
Only a matter of time before South Africa replace Italy in 6N’s. Rugby calendar won’t allow seven teams. Love Italians and everything about the country, but professional rugby there has not evolved or progressed to a sufficient degree. Tonight is the proof.
— Hugh Cahill (@hughcahill7) September 29, 2023
But breaking into the Six Nations at Italy’s expense would be difficult with the ownership structure in place. The six national unions and private equity arm CVC all have equity stakes in the competition.
Won’t happen without Italian approval – they are an equal shareholder in 6Ns with the other teams and CVC. Detailed in the tournaments governing documents published when CVC bought in…..
— John Butler (@jgabutler) September 30, 2023
Those against Cahill’s proposal were quick to point out Italy’s success at age grade level.
Italy’s U20 side has offered some promise in recent seasons, finishing third in 2023 and fourth in 2022 in the U20 Six Nations.
They also produced a historic result at this year’s U20 World Championship beating hosts South Africa by 34-26.
The national side may benefit from this promising crop over the next few seasons and boost Italy’s competitiveness.
Have you bothered to watch the u20s rugby championship? They’ve been competitive at that level for a few years which is probably why they’ve advanced at senior level.
— Eoghan Jennings (@JenningsEoghan) September 29, 2023
South Africa would bring one of the world’s most physical teams into the mix that would upend the competition.
Along with the current top two ranked sides Ireland and France, adding South Africa would create a super league.
But success for the Springboks would not be guaranteed given the strength of European rugby and how difficult it is to win away.
The Springboks would find it very tough to win the Six Nations if they joined. Going 0/3 vs Ireland & France since last November proves as much. Equally, European sides wouldn’t find much success against the Boks in SA, but it’s all about the away games for silverware.
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