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Six Nations chiefs rule out South Africa switch

Six nations international rugby captains, France's Charles Ollivon, Scotland's Stuart Hogg, England's Owen Farrell, Wales' Alun Wyn Jones, Italy's Luca Bigi and Ireland's Jonathan Sexton pose with the Six Nations trophy

FILE - Six nations international rugby captains, France's Charles Ollivon, Scotland's Stuart Hogg, England's Owen Farrell, Wales' Alun Wyn Jones, Italy's Luca Bigi and Ireland's Jonathan Sexton pose with the Six Nations trophy. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP

Published Feb 18, 2022

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London — Six Nations organisers have quashed persistent speculation over South Africa joining the championship, ruling out any changes to its make-up.

Earlier this week, the Springboks committed to remaining in the Rugby Championship until at least 2025, only for it to be suggested they would align themselves with the northern hemisphere after that.

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However, Six Nations chiefs on Friday denied there is any prospect of South Africa being added or Italy — who have lost 34 successive matches in the competition — being removed.

ALSO READ: Springboks participation in the Six Nations is a game changer

The other teams involved are England, France, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

"Six Nations Rugby, comprising the six unions and federations and (equity firm) CVC, wish to confirm that they are not entertaining any discussion nor developing any plans to add or replace any participating union," a statement said.

"All its energy is focused on the current strategic discussions regarding the July and November international windows and structure of the global season, and to ensure a positive outcome for the development of the game."

ALSO READ: The Springboks should not snub the All Blacks as SA rugby push for Six Nations inclusion

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South Africa, who play in the annual Rugby Championship alongside Australia, New Zealand and Argentina, have long been linked with a move to the Six Nations.

It was suggested that the entrance of South African provincial teams into European competition would act as a catalyst.

Japan have also been mooted as a possible future addition.

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ALSO READ: Springboks set to play in Six Nations - report

But the Six Nations is committed to maintaining the status quo, in the process ruling out promotion and relegation as a viable option in the hope that Italy will improve.

France lead the 2022 Six Nations after starting with wins against Italy and Ireland.

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AFP

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SpringboksRugby

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