Chester Williams is an ambassador for the South Africa 2023 World Cup bid. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa were chosen as the preferred hosts on Tuesday by a World Rugby committee to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi said it was a “great and historic day”, and we canvassed the opinions of a few former World Cup winners and currently injured Springbok captain Warren Whiteley for their views…

Warren Whiteley (Springbok captain)

“I’ve been trying to work out if I’ll still be playing then, will I make it, will I be fit? It’s probably pushing it for me, so if I don’t make it as a player, I’d love to be involved in some way, contribute to it, be a part of it.

“It’s very exciting. What an opportunity for all those young players coming through, I can’t think of anything better for this country, to be part of a World Cup, as the host nation. If you think back to the soccer World Cup and 1995, how we united as a nation, and how we can do so again.”

Chester Williams (1995 winner)

“What excellent news. It’s a bid that we really need, we simply have to bring this country together again, unite together. What an opportunity for the young players out there; if it’s anything like 1995, it will be wonderful.”

Hennie le Roux (1995 winner)

It’s wonderful to think we have a chance of hosting it again. It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase our country, something to be proud of and something for all of us to look forward to.

“The youngsters should be very pleased and excited... it’s something for them to work towards, and they should start honing their skills now to have a chance of being part of it.”

Jaque Fourie (2007 winner)

“It’s excellent news for the country. We’ll have a chance of bringing everyone together again, just like in 1995. It was amazing then, and I’m sure it can be the same this time.

“And, for the youngsters, what motivation this will be for them to stay in South Africa and compete for a place. Also, there’s so much negativity around the country at the moment; this is one thing that can help turn things around.”


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