South Africa are still waiting to host the Rugby World Cup after their 1995 triumph. Photo: AFP
South Africa are still waiting to host the Rugby World Cup after their 1995 triumph. Photo: AFP

It’s just not fair for South Africa to wait so long to host Rugby World Cup again

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Nov 26, 2021

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Cape Town - AT the moment, it seems as if even Mongolia – who became a full member of World Rugby yesterday – will host a men’s Rugby World Cup before South Africa.

Yes, I am being flippant, as the governing body announced yesterday that Australia have been chosen as the preferred candidate for the 2027 World Cup, while they have entered into “exclusive targeted dialogue” with the United States to host the 2031 tournament.

It still rankles that the 2023 World Cup will be held in France and not South Africa, despite the Rugby World Cup Limited board recommending SA to the World Rugby Council “following detailed consideration of the comprehensive host candidate evaluation report”.

Chairman of the World Cup and the Rugby World Cup Limited, Bill Beaumont, said in a statement on October 31, 2017: “This is the first Rugby World Cup host selection to take place following a complete redesign of the bidding process to promote greater transparency and maximise World Rugby’s hosting objectives.

“The comprehensive and independently scrutinised evaluation reaffirmed that we have three exceptional bids, but it also identified South Africa as a clear leader based on performance against the key criteria, which is supported by the board in the recommendation.

“I would like to congratulate South Africa on a superb bid, and all the bid teams for their dedication and professionalism throughout the process to date.

“Our colleagues on the World Rugby Council will now meet on 15 November in London to consider the board’s recommendation and vote to decide the host of Rugby World Cup 2023.”

But when the World Cup Council voted, France were the winners ...

All sorts of wheeling and dealing were rumoured to have taken place, but that is now all in the past, and considering what World Rugby have said this week, Australia and the US are unlikely to be blindsided as SA were for 2023.

“The World Rugby Council has approved revisions to the Rugby World Cup host selection process

... The reforms follow a full review of the host selection process, the objectives for Rugby World Cup and the current global environment to ensure the international federation is in step with a rapidly changing world,” World Rugby said.

What are the chances of SA having a chance to host the event again for the first time since 1995, though? Well, not good, at least for the next decade or so.

With France, Australia and the US set for the next three tournaments, the next available men’s Rugby

World Cup is in 2035 – that’s a long, long time away.

Surely SA should then be in line for that competition? There have been comments on social media that perhaps Mzansi is actually better off without the responsibility of hosting the 2023 World Cup in particularly, considering the current economic climate, political uncertainty and Covid-19 issues.

But I have to disagree with that. The SA Rugby Union had received government support for the 2023 bid, and the Springboks are the current world champions, and had won two titles when the decision was made in 2017. SA have only hosted the event once, as far back as 1995.

It’s not fair that we have to now wait at least 40 years for the Rugby World Cup to be played on African soil once more, while England have been hosts or joint-hosts in 1991, 1999 and 2015, Australia in 1987, 2003 and now 2027, New Zealand in 1987 and 2011, and France in 1991, 1999, 2007 and now 2023.

For the moment, SA have to be satisfied with the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens next September in Cape Town. Let’s hope that the 15s even lands in our shores in 2035 …

@AshfakMohamed

IOL Sport

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