The Six Nations and rugby in general needs to be wary taking short-term decisions for financial reasons, according to RTÉ analyst Donal Lenihan.

The former Munster, Ireland and Lions lock was reacting to reports that South Africa are set to join an expanded Six Nations.

The World Champions could be added to the Northern Hemisphere in 2024, with others reports suggesting the tournament may not be broadcast on free-to-air television.

Lenihan can see the immediate rugby benefits to bringing South Africa into the European competition, but is cognisant of the global implications.

"South Africa have been looking to get into Northern Hemisphere rugby for a long time. The travel and associated difficulties with playing rugby in New Zealand and Australia is creating problems.

"They have been in Southern Hemisphere rugby for over 100 years and there are big implications if they were to leave. Australia are struggling financially at the moment," said Lenihan, who has observed recent developments with some trepidation.

"I would be worried. There is so much money coming into the game, talk about the Six Nations selling a portion of the rights to CVC, the venture capitalists.

"You can't take short-term decisions for financial reasons without seeing what the overall implications for the game is.

"I think this one has a long way to run yet. The easy decision to is so say 'Great, we'd love to have them', but you have to seek out all the long term implications of this move."