Rugby Championship
South Africa will quit Rugby Championship 'sooner or later'
ESPN Staff
May 16, 2014
South African television does not want breakfast-time away matches, Nigel Wray says © Getty Images

South Africa will quit the Rugby Championship to join a European-based Test tournament because of the commercial demands of television, Saracens chairman Nigel Wray believes.

Wray saidsuch a move is inevitable despite the pitfalls for southern hemisphere rugby because "whether you like it or not, TV is the master".

"Sooner or later, South Africa will play with France, England, Ireland etc. because we are in the same time zone," Wray said in an interview with Agence France-Presse. "At the moment, South Africa have to tramp over to a completely different time zone, which takes a long time to get accustomed to. They play their [away] games at the wrong time of day, at breakfast time [in South Africa], which is the worst TV time.

"I don't know when, but it is inevitable the game will go like that. It's just so logical."

Wray said that South Africa's inevitable move away from the Rugby Championship would be "a problem for rugby because that implies New Zealand and Australia will have to move towards Japan and Hong Kong to play in the same time zone, at the optimum television time".

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