RWC 2023: South Africa bids for the rights

As hosts of the Rugby World Cup, the country would make rugby proud, the South African bid team told the sport’s world body. Revenue projects and fan numbers were also placed higher than those earned in England in 2015.

Deputy president Ramaphosa with South Africa’s two World Cup winning captains. (Image: SA Rugby)

Sulaiman Philip

Three years after South African rugby was welcomed back on to the international stage, the country hosted and, memorably, won the IRB Rugby World Cup. After three unsuccessful attempts, South Africa has again bid to host the 2023 World Cup.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa headed a delegation that included South African Rugby Union president Mark Alexander and CEO Jurie Roux, as well as Sport and Recreation Minister Thulas Nxesi. Ramaphosa said South Africa alone could host a tournament that would make rugby proud. “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.”

Speaking of the iconic moments in 1995, Ramaphosa reminded the adjudicating panel that the 1995 World Cup helped to bind South Africa into one nation. “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.”

South Africa’s bid will be judged against those from Ireland and Fance, both rugby-loving nations. However, just as it was for the FIFA World Cup 2010, awarding South Africa the sporting spectacular will allow World Rugby, the sport’s international governing body, to reach new fans across Africa.

The South African team believe the country can deliver a lucrative tournament that will beat income from the 2015 tournament in England, which doubled returns from the 2011 tournament, hosted by New Zealand.

England attracted 2.47 million ticketed fans while New Zealand hosted 1.6 million in 2011. The South African bid projections suggested 2.9 million ticketed fans across the eight stadiums earmarked as host stadiums in seven cities.

Brett Gosper, World Rugby CEO, said the 2015 tournament generated £250-million (R4.5-billion) in tickets revenues, with an £80-million surplus to World Rugby and £15-million surplus to the Rugby Football Union, England’s governing rugby body, to be invested in the development of rugby.

South Africa’s bid advances the world body’s intent to create a global sport for all, while remaining true to its values of discipline, integrity, respect, solidarity and passion. For South African school children, the bid aims to introduce a million children to the game through the governing bodies’ Get into Rugby programme.

The 2023 hosts will be announced on 15 November.

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