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Six Nations organisers refute reports of Italy being replaced by South Africa

It was reported this week that the Springboks could take the place of the Italians as soon as 2025.

The Italy team in a huddle during last weekend's Six Nations defeat to England.
The Italy team in a huddle during last weekend's Six Nations defeat to England.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE PROSPECT OF Italy’s place in the Six Nations being taken by South Africa is not currently up for discussion, according to competition organisers.

In a statement issued this morning, Six Nations Rugby dismissed reports that the world champion Springboks could replace the Italians as soon as 2025.

“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,” the statement reads.

“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.”

In recent times, South African rugby has been aligning itself increasingly with the northern hemisphere, with their leading franchises now part of the United Rugby Championship. South African club sides will also be playing in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup from next season.

Italy, who are winless in the Six Nations since defeating Scotland in 2015, play their next fixture against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium a week on Sunday.

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Paul Dollery

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