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Springboks ace Lood de Jager open to idea of switch to Six Nations

Lood de Jager

WORLD CUP-winning lock Lood de Jager is open-minded about South Africa moving away from the Rugby Championship to join an expanded Six Nations.

Sale signing De Jager says the players will fall into line whatever the outcome, as reports surfaced in February of the Springboks joining the Six Nations at the start of its next commercial cycle in 2024.

Being just two hours ahead means the time zones would not be that much of an issue for broadcasters, who are key stakeholders in the game.

“As a player you just play where they tell you to play, we don’t make the decisions,” the 45-cap Springbok said.

“Obviously the time differences and travel in the Rugby Championship takes its toll. Travelling would be easier in the Six Nations.”

Incorporating a non-European team into the Six Nations, a competition based around traditional rivalries, would be a controversial move.

But with so many South Africans playing in the UK and Ireland, there is already a strong alignment, and having the world champions on board – whether it is as a seventh team or instead of Italy – would undoubtedly raise the quality of play.

“In terms of playing standards, I wouldn’t say one is tougher than the other because I haven’t played in the Six Nations. But I really enjoy watching it and it looks like a pretty tough competition,” the Sharks lock said.

“But it would also be sad if the Rugby Championship disappeared because I’ve really enjoyed playing against some of the top teams in the world.

“Change isn’t always a bad thing. As long as I get to play for the Springboks, I am pretty happy.”

JON NEWCOMBE

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