NZR boss calms fears of South African rugby exit: 'People that we trust'

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson has moved to calm any fears that South Africa will leave the Rugby Championship, following reports that the Springboks will join the European Six Nations from 2024.

Faf de Klerk. Source: Photosport

As the Daily Mail reported yesterday, South Africa are said to have already held discussions to leave the Rugby Championship after the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, joining an expanded European Test competition.

However, speaking to Radio Sport this afternoon, newly appointed CEO Robinson revealed that the current SANZAAR broadcast deal will keep South Africa in check through until 2025 at the earliest.

"Like us, they've signed agreements with their broadcasters through 2025 to be involved with SANZAAR," Robinson said.

"And as recently as this week we were on calls talking about the future of our competitions at Super [Rugby] level and international level.

"They are people that we trust, they are very honest and they've been great partners over the last 25 years. We would like to think that we would be privy to those sorts of comments or conversations if they had been had."

There is already precedent for South African teams playing in Europe, with both the Cheetahs and the Kings playing in the Pro 14 after their expulsion from Super Rugby.