"When, not if" - Sir Ian McGeechan expects Six Nations to be expanded to seven - Ruck

“When, not if” – Sir Ian McGeechan expects Six Nations to be expanded to seven

Rugby legend Sir Ian McGeechan has called for a seventh team to be added to the Six Nations in the near future.

Although there has been a lot of fans calling for relegation to be introduced to the competition, McGeechan would rather add the world champions and keep the current closed shop format.

“The obvious next step is for some sort of integrated season which sees the Springboks join the Six Nations to make it the Seven Nations,” wrote McGeechan.

“Financially it is in the interests of everyone, and it will also be beneficial in terms of raising standards for England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy.

“The example of the British and Irish Lions shows it also has the potential to be embraced by supporters as well, with fans travelling down to South Africa for a long weekend.

“I have to admit that I’m biased and that it’s a prospect which excites me. I love South African rugby, and think it brings so much to the game. I’d love to see those links grow stronger still, although I can imagine it’s not a prospect that will be greeted enthusiastically in Auckland and Sydney.

“In the short term, I suspect the big winners of this growing closeness will be the Springboks in France in 2023 because when they play Ireland and Scotland in their pool games there will be none of the shock which the All Blacks experienced in Dublin and Paris this autumn. But, in the long term, it will raise the standards of European rugby and contribute to a more vibrant game, and that can only be a good thing.”

Sir Ian McGeechan facts:

  1. Born in Leeds, McGeechan represented Headingley as his only club during a 15-year club career, qualifying for Scotland through his father he played 32 times internationally for Scotland over 7 years and won 8 caps on two tours for the British & Irish Lions
  2. Upon retiring from player McGeechan began coaching, in a career spanning 26 years he coached the most recent Scottish side to win a grandslam in the 1990 Five Nations Championship, and won Premiership Rugby & the European Cup with London Wasps in 2008 & 2007.
  3. He was head coach on four tours for the British & Irish Lions spanning 1989 to 2009 and was an assistant to the 2005 tour as well.
  4. Although his family mostly played football, he took to rugby while in school

No room for Jonny Wilkinson in Sir Ian McGeechan’s dream rugby XV


Fullback: JPR Williams (Wales) – “Not a staggeringly original choice, I’ll admit. But to my mind the only one. If I’m going to be picking a dream XV over the next few days then I want JPR at the back. No question.”

Left-wing: Jonah Lomu (New Zealand) – “Illness and injury ultimately slowed him down. But his performances at the 1995 World Cup, just as the game was turning professional, will never be forgotten. The game needed a superstar, and it got one in Lomu. He was brilliant for rugby.”

Right-wing: John Kirwan (New Zealand) – “He had an all round game; he could carry the ball through heavy traffic, he could offload, he was like an extra back-rower at times. Plus, he had natural effortless pace. He ended up scoring 35 tries for the All Blacks and was instrumental as they went through their unbeaten spell of games between 1987 and 1990.”


Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland) – “His ability to get back on his feet after tackling to compete for the ball was extraordinary, and ensured he always had an impact on the game, whatever type of game it was. He was such a natural talent.”

Inside-centre: Philippe Sella (France) – “Sella and O’Driscoll were powerful men. They could stop a forward in his tracks. I think as a pair they would dominate any midfield and I like the thought of them together.”