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Sam Warburton drives nail into Boks' Six Nations coffin

By Ian Cameron
Sam Warburton and Heyneke Meyer /Getty Images

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Former Lions skipper Sam Warburton has let rip on the idea of South Africa joining the Six Nations live on the BBC.

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Last week the Six Nations issued a statement that there was no current plans for anyone to either leave or join the competition. “Six Nations Rugby, comprising the six unions and federations and CVC, wish to confirm that they are not entertaining any discussion nor developing any plans to add or replace any participating union,” said a statement after speculation mounted following reports in the UK and in South Africa.

However, the discussion has rumbled on, with many not convinced that South Africa joining the competition isn’t something that is being looked at. Warburton addressed the issue, saying ‘absolutely not’ to the idea of Boks accession.

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“I love South Africa and I loved playing against them but absolutely not [when it comes to] the Six Nations,” he told the BBC prior to the Scotland versus France. “I understand there is talk about aligning rugby teams on time zones as opposed to hemispheres, and I can understand that because South Africa is out on its own a little bit.

“It’s in the same time zone as us and it’s miles away from counterparts in Australia and New Zealand.

“But the Six Nations, for me, has a responsibility to develop European rugby. It’s Europe, who is the best in Europe? It’s the European championship.

“Adding South Africa into that makes no sense whatsoever.

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“For me, we need to develop Europe. That’s bringing in promotion and relegation and it would take someone much smarter than me to figure out how it works.

“But whoever comes bottom of the Six Nations, we should never just drop them straight down because the standard coming up might not be good enough.

“There should be a play-off in the next available international window.

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“Let’s just say it was Italy and Georgia, if Georgia play Italy in Italy and win, then you know the standard coming up is better.

“We need to remove the glass ceiling and develop European rugby as a whole. That has got to be a priority.”

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