Over the past few weeks, fresh reports have once again surfaced about a possible Springboks move to the Northern Hemisphere. While nothing has been confirmed, speculation is rife that change is in the air.
A move North makes a lot of sense for the Springboks. They would play matches in the same time zones, which would increase television viewer numbers. Shorter flights to Europe, compared to long treks to Australia, New Zealand and Argentina, would certainly translate into stronger performances too.
And of course, more money. Much, much more.
Of course there are many questions that arise, such as what would happen to the Rugby Championship? Perhaps we will see Japan finally take their place in the top echelon of international rugby? Fiji, Samoa and Tonga would definitely has something to say about that.
Australia are in a crisis of their own, and would welcome more games for the Wallabies in friendly time-zones. New Zealand will prefer South Africa stay purely because of the traditional rivaly and to keep testing themselves against top opposition. But should South Africa move, it would not be the end of the world for them.
This week at the Laureus awards in Germany, rugby legend Sean Fitzpatrick has come out and said exactly what most of us are thinking. Having a Southern Hemisphere country playing in the Six Nations is intriguing, but something about it just doesn’t feel right.
“I want South Africa in the southern hemisphere. I can appreciate the commercial significance of them playing in the northern hemisphere, but if you look at the Six Nations, it’s just not right.
“It (Six Nations) is the greatest competition in the world and I absolutely love it. I love being at Cardiff and at Twickenham … but I just can’t envisage going to Cardiff and watching South Africa play Wales in the Seven Nations.
“That’s not right.”
An extraordinarily large number of South African professional rugby players are currently plying their trade in the Northern Hemisphere, including most of their World Cup stars. a Springboks move to Northern Hemisphere will happen eventually.