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'Only logical step': South African journalist predicts when the Springboks will join Six Nations

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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South Africa’s four domestic teams joining the reformed United Rugby Championship is only the first step towards the ‘plan’ to have the Springboks move north says journalist Craig Ray.

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The South African teams found immediate success in the URC, with the Bulls and Stormers making the final before the Cape-based took out the inaugural title and will now compete in next season’s Champions Cup.

Speaking on Off the Ball’s Monday Night Rugby show, the rugby writer explained that discussions are ongoing about the Springboks joining as early as 2024, months after next year’s World Cup.

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Each step of the integration of South Africa into the European season has been a prelude to pave the way for the national side to join the Six Nations.

“It’s totally part of the plan,” Ray told Off The Ball.

“The plan is to be in Six Nations by I think 2025. Possibly as early as 2024 after the World Cup.

“And it’s certainly part of the discussions that are going on. Getting into the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup was the next step.

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“The only logical step from there is into the Six Nations.”

Whether South Africa’s inclusion would be at Italy’s expense is unknown, but Ray indicated that a ‘Sevens Nations’ tournament could include both of them.

Ray was confidence that the Springboks would playing in the tournament by 2025.

“What that’s going to look like, as far as I know it’s unclear. Maybe they have a better idea but I don’t think it necessarily means Italy are relegated. It can become a 7 Nations tournament.

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“But I think you can almost count on the Springboks being in it by 2025.

“I don’t think our relationship with New Zealand or Australia is going to completely fall by the wayside. I suspect it might be the best of both worlds.”

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