According to reports, the Six Nations is set to unveil HSBC as the championship’s new title sponsor.
HSBC, which sponsored the 2009 and 2013 British & Irish Lions tours of South Africa and Australia respectively, is in line to replace NatWest after just one year.
NatWest was parachuted in for the 2018 Six Nations only after the organisers were forced into an embarrassing climbdown.
Following the 2017 championship, Six Nations Rugby cut ties with RBS after 14 years, rejecting the bank’s bid to extend its deal because it felt the rights were worth £100m over six years.
But with external factors such as Brexit creating uncertainty in the sponsorship market, no one was willing to pay such a price.
That forced the organisers into giving NatWest, an RBS subsidiary, a cut-price one-year deal for 2018, worth a reported £11m – considerably less than RBS’s previous offer to extend.