A South African Rugby World Cup in 2023 would be an unbeatable triple-win, the World Rugby Council was told in London on Monday 25 September when SA Rugby made their case to host the 10th Rugby World Cup tournament.
A South African Rugby World Cup would be a win for the sport, a win for supporters and most importantly a win for the players, delegates were told in a 50-minute presentation led by the Deputy President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, and including the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Thulas Nxesi.
“South Africa ticks every single box of the financial, commercial and logistical requirements of the host, but we go way beyond the minimum requirements to set us apart as a candidate,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“We were asked to provide a minimum guarantee of £120m but with unqualified support from our government, we are offering an extra £40m. We were asked to provide eight venues, the smallest of which must have a minimum capacity of 15,000, but we offer eight venues – purpose-built for rugby and requiring no upgrading – with the smallest one offering a fully seated capacity of 43,500. And we will host the largest-ever Rugby World Cup final with 87,436 fans at the National Stadium in Johannesburg. Our stadia allow us to place more tickets on sale than ever before; a South African Rugby World Cup would make available 2.9m seats – 400,000 more than the highly successful England 2015 tournament.”
“But, most importantly,” said Roux, “this will be the most player-centric tournament ever; it will be unprecedented in comfort, convenience and support. The player performance will be optimal, given the ideal playing conditions, world-class match venues and training facilities and a match schedule with low travel impact – 85% of pool matches will be played in a team’s home base; the longest trip to a training venue will be 17 minutes. Thirdly, the travelling fans would enjoy unique experiences as well as the benefit of a favourable exchange rate.”
“Iconic venues in iconic locations – whether it be on the fringes of the Kruger National Park, in the vibrant heart of the country in Gauteng, or in the Mother City of Cape Town – South Africa will offer visitors an unrivalled experience in a country that will guarantee a tournament like no other,” said Roux. “Visitors can enjoy breakfast with great white sharks; have lunch in the vineyards and take dinner on a game drive – all on the same day.”
Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, spoke to the World Rugby Council of the power of rugby to unite peoples: “In 1995, the Rugby World Cup cemented the bonds between our diverse people,” he said.
“In 2023, we hope to use the Rugby World Cup to inspire and unite not only South Africans but the global community of nations. In a world facing the threat of polarisation, intolerance and indifference, South Africa is best poised to demonstrate that rugby can break barriers, create hope and unite humanity. The people and government of South Africa are therefore wholeheartedly behind SA Rugby’s bid. We have proven we can deliver.”
Sports Minister, Mr Thulas Nxesi, said: “South Africa’s bid is simple. We promise to make World Rugby proud by hosting an unforgettable celebration of rugby that delivers on every single bid requirement.
“We don’t need to build new stadia or upgrade old ones; we don’t need to find hotel rooms and you don’t need to worry about the guarantees. We don’t need to pass new legislation. Every last detail of the required specification is already in place. We have a deep and burning desire to host this tournament – not just for South Africa but for rugby. We want to share our passion with the world and provide the sport with a carnival that’s vibrantly African, which will engulf our country, capture a continent and inspire the world.”
South Africa is bidding against Ireland and France for the rights to host the tournament. Rugby World Cup Ltd will announce their preferred candidate on 31 October. That recommendation will be put to a vote of the World Rugby Council on 15 November.