Six Nations organisers rule out South Africa joining championship
"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"
Last Updated: 18/02/22 2:30pm
Six Nations organisers have sought to end persistent speculation over South Africa joining the championship by ruling out any changes being made to the existing participants.
Earlier this week the Springboks committed to remaining in the Rugby Championship until at least 2025, only for it to be suggested that they would align themselves with the northern hemisphere thereafter.
However, the Six Nations has denied there is any prospect of South Africa being added or Italy - who have lost 34 successive matches in the competition - being removed.
A statement read: "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.
"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."
The world champion Springboks have been consistently linked with becoming a part of European rugby's blue riband competition.
Four South African teams left the southern hemisphere's Super Rugby competition to join the United Rugby Championship, competing against sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
But the Rugby Championship will continue in its current form, with South Africa facing Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
Rugby Championship organisers SANZAAR said South Africa had 'put us on notice' and were exploring other options, but have committed until 2025.
"That was well before Christmas," said SANZAAR chief executive Brendan Morris.
"We've got a number of international and local broadcast deals that are extended to 2025. There was never any cause for alarm that we were never going to meet those obligations.
"We are coming out of the worst three years in living memory of financial impact.
"Everybody has to do their due diligence in exploring what competitions to be involved in and what provides the best opportunity for the best commercial outcome.
"The Six Nations, World Rugby, in all walks of life people are exploring their business models at the moment."