Former Springbok captain and 1995 Rugby World Cup winner Francois Pienaar speaks during a press conference for the 2023 Rugby World Cup bid. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters

CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s bid team told World Rugby’s leaders the country was ready to deliver the Rugby World Cup tomorrow because of the existing infrastructure, the host cities, the government support, and because of the people’s love for rugby in this country.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said the tournament in South Africa in 2023 would be an unforgettable celebration of the game. 

He described South Africa as a “safe pair of hands”. He guaranteed that there would be no dropping of the ball in urging the World Rugby general council members to vote for South Africa.

“We ask you to pass us the ball for 2023 because we are ready,” Alexander said.

“Our nation has done big events many times before and our stadia, audience and climate provide a unbeatable showcase.

“We don’t need to build new stadiums or upgrade old ones; we don’t need to find hotel rooms or worry about the guarantees. We don’t need to pass new legislation.

“Every last detail of the required specification is already in place.

“We have a deep and burning desire to host this tournament and we want to share our passion with the world and showcase the sport with a carnival that’s vibrantly African, which will engulf our country, capture a continent and inspire the world.”

SA Rugby Union CEO and bid team leader Jurie Roux detailed South Africa’s existing infrastructure and super stadia as among the country’s many bid advantages.

“Our stadia allow us to place more tickets on sale than ever before; a South African Rugby World Cup would make available 2.9m seats - 400 000 more than the highly successful England 2015 tournament.

“We were asked to provide eight venues, the smallest of which must have a minimum capacity of 15000, but we offer eight venues - purpose-built for rugby and requiring no upgrading - with the smallest one offering a fully seated capacity of 43500.

“And we will host the largest-ever Rugby World Cup final with 87436 fans at the National Stadium in Johannesburg.

“Most importantly, this will be the most player-centric tournament ever; it will be unprecedented in comfort, convenience and support.”

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, in addressing World Rugby’s council recently in London, reaffirmed the government’s absolute commitment to making the tournament a spectacular success.

He emphasised the government’s commitment was borne out in a financial tournament guarantee of £160 million that was £40 million in excess of the required £120 million.

“The people and government of South Africa are wholeheartedly behind SA Rugby’s bid. We have proven we can deliver,” Ramaphosa said.

Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi, said: “South Africa’s bid is simple. We promise a tournament that delivers on every single bid requirement. Every last detail of the required specification is already in place.”

World Rugby’s seven priority objectives are:

* Venues and infrastructure commensurate with a top-tier major event;

* Comprehensive and enforceable public and private sector guarantees;

* A commercially successful event with a fully funded, robust financial model;

* Operational excellence through an integrated and experienced delivery team;

* A vision that engages and inspires domestic and international audiences and contributes to the growth of rugby at all levels;

* An enabling environment of political and financial stability that respects the diversity of Rugby World Cup’s global stakeholders;

* An environment and climate suited to top-level sport in a geography that allows maximum fan mobility.

South Africa as a country would also prosper commercially, financially and in terms of job creation and global profile.

South Africa 2023 would have a R27 billion direct, indirect and induced economic impact on South Africa; R5.7 billion would flow to low-income households; 38600 temporary or permanent jobs would be sustained, and there would be an estimated R1.4 billion tax benefit to the government.

The board of Rugby World Cup Ltd, based on the evaluation process from three independent companies, will in the last week of October issue a recommendation to the World Rugby council as to who should be the 2023 hosts.

World Rugby is expected to make public the recommendation on October 31, but the recommendation isn’t automatically accepted and the council vote, on November 15, will determine whether South Africa, Ireland or France will host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

Weekend Argus

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