Six Nations tap up Springboks and Japan for blockbuster ‘Festival of Rugby’

The Six Nations group are reportedly considering inviting the Brave Blossoms and the Springboks to take part in a festival of rugby in the 2020/21 season.

It is believed that the event could be staged entirely in London and would feature two pools of four teams with each featuring three sides from the Six Nations and one invited guest.

Springboks and Japan could join Six Nations teams for festival

The proposed event might give SA Rugby the opening they need to explore an expanded relationship with the Northern powers, which has been encouraged by ex-players, coaches and pundits.

A global pandemic might ultimately reshape the face of the future of international rugby and open up a lucrative relationship between South Africa and Europe.

RFU Chief Executive Bill Sweeney told the Daily Mail: “There’s another option of possibly bringing in additional invitational sides. It’s an opportunity to be creative and maybe create some type of festival of rugby.” 

77089239 springboks festival of rugby - Six Nations tap up Springboks and Japan for blockbuster ‘Festival of Rugby’
Springboks in festival of rugby: South Africa’s Makazole Mapimpi (L) tackles on of Japan’s Saffas Kotaro Matsushima during the friendly rugby match between Japan and South Africa at the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in Kumagaya on September 6, 2019. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

England were slated to travel to Japan for a two-Test tour in October but the logjam created by the suspension of the July international window and the postponement of the Rugby Championship has thrown those in doubt.

The Springboks Tests against Scotland were tentatively rescheduled for an October international window.

These elements have come together to create the possibility of an eight-team ‘Festival of Rugby’ which would exclude the All Blacks and the Wallabies.

All Blacks and Wallabies

The Trans-Tasman rivals could be the first to stage international rugby, but the fates might conspire to ensure that the two nations look to form relationships with their Pacific island neighbours.

New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Australia had been scheduled to visit England in November, but all four could be left on the out if the proposed festival goes ahead.

Of the Southern powers, South Africa play the game in a way that is closest to the fashion of the North. South Africans are littered across all the major leagues in Europe and Japan.

The Lions Tour in 2021 provides further motivation for Ireland and the home unions to want to get a closer look at the World Champion Springboks.

The Brave Blossoms and the Springboks were the big winners at the 2019 World Cup. The hosts were an unstoppable force in the group seeing off three teams who may reasonably have seen Japan as the weakest team in the pool. That force ultimately ran into Rassie Erasmus’ immovable objects. Despite the scoreboard showing a comfortable win for the Springboks the match was one fraught with tension with Japan seemingly coming within one pass of cracking open the Bok defence.

There is no denying that a ten-team tournament would go a long way towards quenching rugby fans desire for something a little bit different as the international game resumes.

Jamie Joseph’s Japan are a team that everyone wants to play against because of the incredible brand of rugby they have played, and the Springboks are the heavyweight prizefighters of the sport with Bill in their clutches.

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