Sean Fitzpatrick Six Nations Springboks

Ex-All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick says the Six Nations is the best tournament in the world, but is not wanting the Springboks to join. Photo: Laureus

‘Sad day for rugby’ if Springboks join Six Nations – Sean Fitzpatrick

Ex-All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick says the Six Nations is the best tournament in the world, but is not wanting the Springboks to join.

Sean Fitzpatrick Six Nations Springboks

Ex-All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick says the Six Nations is the best tournament in the world, but is not wanting the Springboks to join. Photo: Laureus

Legendary former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick says that while the Six Nations may be the best tournament in the world, he is not in favour of the Springboks joining.

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Fitzpatrick, the chairperson of the Laureus Academy, addressed an online press conference on Wednesday from Llanelli in Wales ahead of this year’s awards which are set to take place virtually in April.

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The former hooker said it would be a “sad day for rugby” if the Springboks were to leave the Rugby Championship and join the northern hemisphere’s Six Nations.

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Rumours of that happening continue to do the rounds despite the Six Nations’ organisers refuting any suggestions they plan on tinkering with the current format.

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Fitzpatrick was asked for his views.

“I think it would be a sad day for rugby. There’s a lot of talk about it, in New Zealand and up here (UK). But I think there’s a bigger question in terms of what competitions do we want?”

“The Six Nations is arguably the best competition in world rugby at the moment, outside of the World Cup. I think we’ve seen that in the first three rounds that it’s compelling viewing. Why look at something and adding something to it when it’s not broken, without question?

“I don’t personally like having a southern-hemisphere team in the Six Nations, because the history of the competition is the northern hemisphere, basically. That’s not a great reason not to change it! But I just like the Six Nations as it is.

“In terms of the southern hemisphere, it will be devastating to the Championship if we lost South Africa out of that competition. So, no, I would not like seeing that happen (the Boks joining the Six Nations).”

Fitzpatrick was adamant the Springboks should face the All Blacks on an annual basis.

“Without question! For the All Blacks and for the South Africans, if I can speak for them, personally it’s one of our great games.

“When the game went professional in 1996, everyone was saying we will lose that special factor between the Springboks and All Blacks because we are playing so often.

“I don’t think that’s changed at all. We are still hugely in love with playing each other, so that will continue. And I go back to what are good products? The All Blacks and the South Africans are great products, and if private equity is doing anything, they want good products.

“That’s hopefully what they will develop, to make sure that we have a product that people are going to want to consume.”

Fitzpatrick, now 58, played 92 Tests for New Zealand between 1986 and 1997 before a chronic knee injury forced him into retirement at the age of 34.

He scored 12 tries for the All Blacks.

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