Six Nations organisers claim there have been “no discussions” about South Africa joining the tournament.
A report in the Daily Mail said that negotiations had been going on for some time and that there was “a sense of inevitability” about the world champions joining in time for the 2024 championship.
It was claimed that the competition would become a seven-team tournament, rather than the Springboks replacing Italy, who have struggled to make an impression in recent seasons.
However, a Six Nations spokesperson told Sky Sports News: “Six Nations Council has had no discussions regarding South Africa’s inclusion in the tournament.”
The Springboks currently play in the annual southern hemisphere Rugby Championship against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.
Adding the Springboks to the Six Nations would change the dynamic of the tournament. The odd number of teams would mean a free week for one of the nations on each match weekend. It would also increase significantly the travelling for players and supporters.
The plan would likely run into opposition from the club game, with the extra fixtures having an impact on the domestic game.
The private equity company CVC is keen to buy a 15 per cent stake in the Six Nations in a deal that is reportedly worth £300 million.
It was reported this week that the deal is being held up over the home unions’ insistence that the tournament should remain live on terrestrial television.