Cape Town - The South African Rugby Union (SARU) was ready to prepare a
compelling bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, said Jurie Roux, SARU CEO, on
Friday following confirmation that four nations had expressed an interest to
host the tournament.
Tournament owner, World Rugby, announced that France,
Ireland and Italy as well as South Africa had confirmed their interest by the
deadline of June 15. A fifth country, USA, which had expressed interest in
lodging a bid, had decided not to proceed.
“Last week the 1995 Springbok Rugby World Cup squad
regathered to celebrate their momentous victory 20 years ago,” said Roux.
“There was unprecedented media interest in the occasion and we were reminded
what a profound effect the tournament had on this country and the enthusiasm
with which this country opened its arms to rugby.
“That hunger has been sharpened over the years with a whole
generation having grown up envying the experience of their parents. The South
African Rugby Union would very much like to give them the opportunity to share
our passion for rugby with the rest of the world, 28 years on from that famous
World Rugby predicts that the 2023 tournament will boost the
hosting nation’s economy by as much as $2.6bn (R31bn) while tournament costs
are modest. From 2003 to 2015 the tournament had cost the host nation between
$45m and $155m (R552m to R1.9bn) compared to the expense of hosting an event
such as the FIFA World Cup which, in 2014, cost $3.1bn (R38bn).
World Rugby chairperson Bernard Lapasset said: “We are
delighted with the strong level of Rugby World Cup 2023 hosting interest from
unions and governments, which highlights the enormous appeal of Rugby World Cup
as a low-risk, high-return economic, social and sporting driver. We look
forward to further detailed dialogue as the process progresses.”
The tender process will culminate in the selection of the
2023 host in May 2017.
Rugby World Cup Tournament Director Alan Gilpin said: “The
candidate hosts now have a year to benefit from detailed knowledge-sharing and preparation,
including digesting the detailed tender requirements and observing Rugby World
Cup 2015 hosting, before the confirmation to tender deadline of June 2016. “The announcement of
the Rugby World Cup 2023 host in May 2017 will also provide the successful
union with six years to prepare for the delivery of the event and maximise the
benefits of observing the delivery of Japan 2019, the first Rugby World Cup to
be hosted in Asia.”