Stadiums around South Africa will get to host a game for the 2023 Rugby World Cup should South Africa win the bid to host the rugby show piece. Photo: Luke Schmidt

CAPE TOWN – South Africa will use a seven-city/eight-stadium master plan to host what the bid leadership believes will be the best ever Rugby World Cup in 2023.

Here’s a breakdown of the cities, their track record to host big events, and the world class stadiums in each city, four of which could host a Rugby World Cup final.

The National Stadium in Joburg will host the opening match, the semi-finals and the final.


Home to the annual 94.7 Cycle Tour, the world’s second-largest timed cycle race, with 20 000-30 000 participants.

In the business arena, Joburg hosted the World Summit on Sustainable Development, providing the 65 000 delegates, thousands of journalists, and more than 100 heads of state with the security and hospitality commensurate with this globally significant convention.

National Stadium

The National Stadium will host the tournament opening match, pool matches, semi-finals and final if SA’s bid is successful.

This spectacular stadium was host to the final and opening matches of the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa, and has the capacity to host the largest crowd ever to attend a Rugby World Cup final or semi-final match

Ellis Park

Ellis Park Stadium has been the site of numerous significant milestones in South African sporting history, with the most memorable being the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, where South Africa recorded its first major international sporting achievement after years of isolation.

Ellis Park will host the bronze final and pool matches.

Cape Town

Sports enthusiasts flock to the city for the Two Oceans Marathon, named the world’s most beautiful marathon, with over 27000 runners participating.

Cyclists have their pick of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the world’s largest individually timed cycle race annually attracting 35000 participants, and the Absa Cape Epic, a globally revered multi-stage mountain biking race considered the “Tour de France of mountain biking”.

Cape Town Stadium

Cape Town Stadium will host two quarter-finals and pool matches.


Home of the internationally renowned Comrades Marathon, this road race of 89km is the world’s largest and oldest ultra marathon and attracts entrants from more than 60 countries.

Other well-known events include the Durban July, a premier horse race hosting over 50000 spectators, the Top Gear motoring festival attracting 60000 attendees each year, and the Midmar Mile, a 1.6km swim recognised in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest open-water swimming event with 13755 participants.

Moses Mabhida Stadium

With its iconic “arch of triumph”, the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban is an engineering feat that provides the city with a defining landmark.

Moses Mabhida Stadium will host quarter-finals and pool matches.

Nelson Mandela Bay

The Ironman African Championship is successfully hosted in the Bay annually. This full international triathlon event attracts 2800 athletes, including 700 international and 73 professional athletes, and is hosting the 2018 Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

The stadium regularly hosts international rugby Tests, having since 2011 hosted the Springboks versus the All Blacks, England and Ireland.


Previously known as Nelspruit, this city is located on the Crocodile River. The Innibos Arts Festival draws more than 100000 visitors annually.

Mbombela Stadium

Located in the Big Five animal safari region, Mbombela boasts a stunning stadium that is famed for its trademark zebra-patterned seating area, and roof-support columns that resemble Giraffe standing watch over spectators.


Bloemfontein is well experienced in hosting large-scale sport, cultural and agricultural events, including the nine-day Macufe Festival - the biggest, most culturally diverse showcase of African arts and culture in the world.

It’s Time! was a 2017 religious festival attracting over one million visitors of all races and cultures to the area, where 29 big screens and sound systems stretching more than 1.4km were used to broadcast the event.

Free State StadiumThe stadium was upgraded for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. It hosts Springbok Tests annually.


The government’s strategic plan for 2015-2020 is to position Gauteng as the home of competitive sport, with one of the key pillars of this plan to host major international sports events that will contribute to socio-economic objectives.

Loftus Versfeld

Home to the rugby Blue Bulls, the stadium hosts Springbok Tests annually and was used in the Fifa 2010 World Cup.

Weekend Argus

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter