PRETORIA – The South African Rugby Union may have thrown in the towel when it comes to bidding for the rights to host the Rugby World Cup after being cheated of the 2023 tournament but they could throw their lot in hosting the 2022 or 2026 Sevens Rugby World Cup in Cape Town.
Saru’s ambitions of staging a major international rugby tournament took a major knock after France were named hosts of the 2023 Rugby World Cup after South Africa had been announced as the preferred bidder by World Rugby. Yet Saru chief executive officer Jurie Roux hinted to the country’s possible interest in having the world’s best teams in the shorter version of the game fighting for the Holy Grail here.
Speaking at the Varsity Cup launch in Johannesburg yesterday, Roux also conceded that it is highly unlikely that Saru would be making another bid to host the World Cup after failing in their four past bids.
Roux feels that hosting a Sevens World Cup would make more economical sense for the country, with the tournament costing and lasting a fraction of what the fifteen-a-side tournament would.
South Africa stands a good chance of hosting the Sevens World Cup as they are the reigning World Series and Commonwealth Games champions and will easily garner government support with undoubtedly the most transformed and demographically representative rugby team in South Africa.
“Ideally there might be a Rugby World Cup Sevens coming up soon and maybe as an alternative we might bid for that and Cape Town is an ideal destination, an iconic city. It will probably come at a far less cost than a Rugby World Cup and not even a 10th of the cost and it will be a good influx for Cape Town,” Roux said.
“What we will go through is a pretty big wash up in terms of process that happened at World Rugby in the months to come. We’ve already received the letter where we’ve been invited to put forward our views on what has happened and transpired which we did. We’ll now be invited, along with Ireland and France, into sharing what will be the wash up of the process that took place. Hopefully we can get our inputs there and post that. Once we have determined the rules for engagement for the next bid, we’ll make that decision.
Australia have already made it known that they will make a bid for 2027 but I think you might have other challenges there in terms of Argentina and some other people wanting to host that as well. But that will be an Exco decision and is still a long way away. From March onwards we are going into negotiations for the British and Irish Lions on the next 12 years and hopefully we can start making announcements on that soon.”
Roux was openly scathing of the process which ultimately saw France being controversially awarded another World Cup tournament 16 years after hosting their first one in 2007 which the Springboks won.
“I think if there is an independent review, it should end there. And it should be recommended, that is the whole point of an independent review. The toughest lesson for me was to swallow whatever you have been given and keep my chin up and then move on. In my position, people make decisions like in the General Council and the Executive and they tell me how to execute those decisions.
The process was agreed, we got the result and we just got to move on. The toughest lesson is trust no one. Trust the people that tell you they are not going to vote for you because they are probably the honest ones.”