Former Test hooker Naka Drotske would like to see the Springboks stay in the Rugby Championship as reports of a potential move to Europe and the Six Nations gain momentum.
A report in the Mail Online over the weekend claimed that SA Rugby were in advanced negotiations and considering joining the European tournament following the completion of the 2023 World Cup.
There have also been suggestions that the South African franchises are plotting an exit from Super Rugby to follow in the footsteps of the Cheetahs and Southern Kings and join northern hemisphere competition.
While the financial incentives of improved broadcast deals and appearance fees might make these moves attractive for the SA Rugby bosses, Drotske is concerned.
“I would like to have the Springboks keep on playing against the All Blacks,” he said.
“South Africa and New Zealand, along with England, are the best teams so I wouldn’t like to not see enough Tests between the Boks and New Zealand.
“I would like to keep those clashes in the Rugby Championship.”
Drotske would also prefer to see Super Rugby thriving with South African participation, though he does acknowledge that the relocation to join the Pro14 saved the Cheetahs and the Kings at the time.
“I thought it was actually good for South African rugby that we didn’t lose the Kings or Cheetahs completely,” he said.
“If the Cheetahs didn’t get that lifeline from the Pro14 then by now, financially, we would have been ruined.”
“I like the current structure and I would keep it like it is now with two teams in the northern hemisphere and four in Super Rugby with the Springboks playing in the Championship.”
“It’s all about money and I don’t know what the consequences are. Will SA Rugby be getting much more money in the northern hemisphere? I don’t know. That will be the deciding factor.”
Drotske coached the Cheetahs between 2007 and 2015 before they eventually joined the Pro14 in the 2017/18 season.