SA Rugby has welcomed Sanzaar’s announcement confirming a restructured Rugby Championship, but have hinted ‘possible international expansion is on the cards’.
In the first part of a phased redevelopment within southern-hemisphere rugby, the Rugby Championship – the flagship of southern-hemisphere rugby – will be restructured to include a 12-match format with teams playing each other on a home or away basis through the new mini-tour match schedule that was adopted in 2019.
‘We welcome the changes announced to the Rugby Championship with our Sanzaar partners and we are looking forward to see what the new strategic plan for the competition entails, with possible international expansion on the cards,’ SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said.
‘Although we had to change our domestic focus, we still have a long history with the All Blacks and Wallabies as well as a long-standing friendship with the Pumas and we look forward to more world-class Test rugby.
‘Ever since the Tri-Nations was first contested in 1996, and more recently the Rugby Championship from 2012, a team from the southern hemisphere has won the Rugby World Cup five out of six times – which is testimony to the high quality of test rugby played on this side of the equator.’
Photo: EPA/Jan Touzeau