South Africa commit to Rugby Championship till 2030

The Springboks pulled out of this year's Rugby Championship citing a lack of match practice due to the coronavirus pandemic, shortly after withdrawing most of their club teams from Super Rugby and seeking places in Europe's Pro14 competition.

FILE: South Africa's Eben Etzebeth competes for the ball against his New Zealand opponent during their Rugby Championship match at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 27 July 2019. Picture: @Springboks/Twitter

SYDNEY - South Africa have committed to the Rugby Championship until 2030, organising body Sanzaar said on Wednesday, after the World Cup holders' absence from this year's edition sparked speculation they may shift to Europe.

"The southern hemisphere rugby powers have recognised the need for change in these difficult times and have committed to an international rugby future through to 2030," Sanzaar said in a statement.

The "Sanzaar entity" and domestic and provincial tournaments will also undergo "restructuring", the statement said, after the disintegration of the provincial-level Super Rugby competition.

The Springboks pulled out of this year's Rugby Championship citing a lack of match practice due to the coronavirus pandemic, shortly after withdrawing most of their club teams from Super Rugby and seeking places in Europe's Pro14 competition.

But Sanzaar said the Rugby Championship, rebranded as the Tri Nations this year and featuring just New Zealand, Australia and Argentina, will remain intact.

"The Rugby Championship will continue to be the flagship of southern hemisphere rugby for the next decade and as in the past will be the key driver and pathway for the unions' continued success at the highest levels of the game including the Rugby World Cup," Sanzaar said.

"The joint-venture members Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are committed to the Championship and to its continued evolution where future growth and expansion form part of a revised 10-year plan."