Rugby Championship organizer SANZAAR has confirmed world champions South Africa will continue to play in the annual competition until 2025.

The move ends speculation the South Africans were planning to leave the Southern Hemisphere championship, which also features New Zealand, Australia and Argentina, to join the Six Nations setup in Europe.

"The pandemic has created a very unusual sporting environment over the last two years with match and commercial delivery severely affected," said SANZAAR chairman Marcelo Rodriguez.

"This has seen the member unions work very hard to keep rugby alive and present during COVID and at times this has not been easy.

"Indeed there has been much speculation about the future but it is now great that all members have committed through until the end of 2025 as a minimum.

"This means we can concentrate on ensuring The Rugby Championship remains as one of the best rugby tournaments on the world calendar."

The impact of the pandemic meant the majority of the 2021 Rugby Championship was played in Australia, but SANZAAR remains confident the four nations will be able to host matches in the upcoming edition.

"Despite the lingering effects of the pandemic, it is planned that The Rugby Championship 2022 will be played in its entirety with a return to matches being played in all four countries," the organization said in a statement.

"Due to the pandemic the match schedule over the last two years has been severely affected with no matches played in Argentina and only a handful of matches taking place in South Africa and New Zealand.

"The full 2022 match schedule will be announced in due course."