Wed, 20 Jan 2021

SA Rugby said on Wednesday it welcomed Sanzaar's announcement in confirming a refreshed approach for the four-team Rugby Championship.

The southern hemisphere governing body announced that the tournament would 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 via a press statement.

SA Rugby recently announced that its Super Rugby franchises would be playing in Europe from next year.

This fuelled speculation that the Springboks could leave the Rugby Championship for good and join the Six Nations, however Wednesday's announcement sees South Africa committed to the southern hemisphere event until 2030.

"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," Roux continued.

"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."

Andy Marinos, CEO of Sanzaar, added: "The re-commitment by the four unions to the long-term future of the international game is an important start as we embark in a new direction for both the unions and the organisation over the coming years."

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

Source: News24

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