SA could host RWC 2023 'tomorrow'

Cape Town - There are just six weeks to go before World Rugby votes on the host of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, but South Africa's bid's strength is that the country is already equipped to host the tournament.

South Africa’s bid team told World Rugby recently in London that the country was ready to deliver a Rugby World Cup tomorrow because of the existing infrastructure, the host cities, the government support, and because of the people’s love for rugby in this country.

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, in addressing World Rugby’s Council, reaffirmed the government’s absolute commitment to making the tournament a spectacular success. He emphasised the government’s commitment was borne out in a financial tournament guarantee of £160 million, that was £40 million in excess of the required £120 million.

‘The people and government of South Africa are wholeheartedly behind SA Rugby’s bid. We have proven we can deliver.'

Sports Minister, Thulas Nxesi, said: ‘South Africa’s bid is simple. We promise a tournament 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.’

The World Rugby (bid) seven-priority objectives are:

1. Venues and infrastructure commensurate with a top-tier major event

2. Comprehensive and enforceable public and private sector guarantees

3. A commercially successful event with a fully funded, robust financial model

4. Operational excellence through an integrated and experienced delivery team

5. A vision that engages and inspires domestic and international audiences and contributes to the growth of rugby at all levels

6. An enabling environment of political and financial stability that respects the diversity of Rugby’s World Cup’s global stakeholders

7. An environment and climate suited to top-level sport in a geography that allows maximum fan mobility

South African Rugby Union Chief Executive and bid team leader Jurie Roux detailed South Africa’s existing infrastructure and super stadia as among the country’s many bid advantages.

‘Our stadia allow us to place more tickets on sale than ever before; a South African Rugby World Cup would make available 2.9 million seats - 400 000 more than the highly successful England 2015 tournament.

‘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.

‘Most importantly this will be the most player-centric tournament ever; it will be unprecedented in comfort, convenience and support.’

South Africa, as a country would also prosper commercially, financially and in terms of job creation and global profile.

South Africa 2023 would have a R27 billion direct, indirect and induced economic impact on South Africa; R5.7 billion would flow to low-income households; 38 600 temporary or permanent jobs would be sustained and there would be an estimated R1.4 billion tax benefit to the government.