Former England coach Clive Woodward has slammed talk of the Springboks joining an expanded Six Nations in 2024.
Woodward, whose team won the 2003 World Cup, believes Europe would be better served by encouraging emerging rugby nations like Georgia and Spain.
‘I would ask the Six Nations and World Rugby authorities to please think again,’ Woodward wrote in his latest column for the Daily Mail. ‘It would be a textbook example of possible short-term financial gain superseding the far greater need to develop European rugby.’
Woodward said a promotion-relegation system is needed for the Six Nations and Rugby Europe Championship.
‘The great irony, of course, is that such a progressive Six Nations, embracing the rest of Europe with a vibrant powerhouse second division from which ambitious teams could be promoted, would in the mid and long-term be much more financially viable and lucrative than the proposed annexing of South Africa to the competition.
‘Europe is the bigger long-term market. We might have left Europe politically but in sporting and rugby terms we need to stay close.
‘Parachuting South Africa into the Six Nations after the 2023 World Cup would be a backward, counter-intuitive step and has the feel of something that has emerged from one of those blue-sky weekend get-togethers with “decision-makers”.’
Photo: Mark R Cristino/EPA