“These are exciting times for rugby with a number of opportunities – as well as challenges,” says SA Rugby president Mark Alexander. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

SA Rugby Union president Mark Alexander says it is a “huge honour” after he was elected to the World Rugby executive committee on Wednesday.

Alexander joins the 12-person group, which also includes South African businesswoman Wendy Luhabe – who is an independent member of the executive – after he was chosen to fill the seat vacated by Pat Whelan of Ireland.

The executive committee is chaired by Bill Beaumont of England and runs the business of the sport.

The World Rugby Council, though, is the multi-national body of 31 delegates that makes the big decisions such as the host nation for the Rugby World Cup.

South Africa are represented by Alexander and chief executive Jurie Roux on the Council.

“It is a huge honour to be named on the executive body among a number of highly respected administrators in the game,” Alexander said in a statement from Dublin on Wednesday.

“South Africa has had a strong representation on the executive over time, and I am proud and humbled to follow in that tradition.

“These are exciting times for rugby with a number of opportunities – as well as challenges – and I am delighted to be part of this group that will be determined to continue the growth and interest in the game around the world.”

The local rugby public would hope that Alexander’s elevation to the executive may pave the way for South Africa to host the World Cup again in future after France beat them at the final hurdle for the 2023 edition last year.

Alexander’s predecessor as Saru president, Oregan Hoskins, was the World Rugby (then International Rugby Board) vice-president from 2011 to 2016.

World Rugby Executive Committee

Chairman: Bill Beaumont (England), Vice-chairman: Agustin Pichot (Argentina), Brett Gosper (chief executive, Australia), John Jeffrey (Scotland), Bob Latham (USA), Brett Robinson (Australia), Mark Robinson (New Zealand), Gareth Davies (Wales), Bernard Laporte (France), Mark Alexander (South Africa), Lord Mervyn Davies (Wales, Independent), Wendy Luhabe (South Africa, Independent).

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