South Africa, the rugby gods have smiled on us. The 2019 Rugby World Cup draw could not
have been kinder.
be grouped with the world champion All Blacks and Italy is a godsend when
compared to the group that includes England, France and Argentina.
Africa's is a wonderful draw because it gives the Springboks the toughest game
they will have at the competition (outside of a potential final) without the
consequence of going home if they lose to the All Blacks.
all accounts the Boks will end second, which guarantees them a playoff spot. Most
importantly they avoid playing the All Blacks until a possible final.
been a good week in Japan for South African rugby. The 2023 Rugby World Cup bid
finally has government sanction, which would have been the only hiccup to what
will be a world-class bid, worthy of being the hosts.
The 2010 Soccer World Cup showcased South Africa’s ability to host the biggest global niche sporting
event - and rugby in South Africa is the beneficiary from all the stadia work
done for 2010.
has also been way too long between drinks for a World Cup in South Africa - and
by extension in Africa. France will offer a World Cup bid that ticks all the
technical and commercial boxes, but France is not an immersive all-out rugby
experience sell. Ireland is an emotional tug at the heartstrings, but their
stadia (all round) lack the quality of South Africa and France. Ditto their
commercial appeal. Surely there has to be more to a bid than Guinness, those
wonderfully seductive Irish accents and of course U2's Bono?
is also the small matter of the southern hemisphere interest because awarding
the tournament to France or Ireland would mean a third successive World Cup in
the northern hemisphere.
Africa is a rugby country in a way Ireland and France just have never been and
this country for six weeks would be transformed into a rugby cathedral. You go
to Paris for everything but rugby and you go to Dublin for more than rugby. In
South Africa, you come for the rugby.
players will know an experience that few in the professional age have, which is
the experience of South Africa’s rugby culture outside of the Springboks.
the World Cup is not about the Springboks, but about playing host to the game’s
elite 600 players. Hosting the World Cup is also not dependent on whether the
Springboks are No 1 or No 7 in the world.
2010 had nothing to do with whether Bafana Bafana would even get past the first
round. It was about showcasing this magnificent country and this country’s
fanatical sporting culture.
Africa’s sports mad public would embrace the hosting of 2023 because the track
record speaks for itself. South Africa, outside of England, is the only country
to have hosted the Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup and Soccer World Cup. It
also hosted the Indian Premier League - with a month’s notice – after player
safety fears if the 2008 event was hosted in India.
World Cup in 2023 will be massive for South Africa and the continent, which is
World Rugby’s biggest growth point of the 21st century.
global when you think the hosting of Rugby World Cup. Don’t think insular and
Springboks. It’s so much bigger than the fortunes or form of the South African
is so much more clarity in South African rugby than there was a week ago
because of the government’s endorsement that SA Rugby can officially continue
their bid for the 2023 World Cup and because the 2019 World Cup draw has been
Rugby now knows the expectation and it simply has to deliver.
Springboks know what their road map entails for the next three years and
because of this I’d urge South African rugby bosses to do everything in their
power to entice Rassie Erasmus back to South Africa to be a part of the next
World Cup campaign and to be in charge of building a team that is again ranked
in the top three in the lead in to 2023.
has been magnificent in his first season at Munster. They produced memorable
performances in the Champions Cup and lost to a superior Saracens in the
semi-finals. Munster also for the first time in seven years finished first in
the Pro12 tournament and will host one of the semi-finals.
who signed a three-year contract with Munster, must be bought out of his last
two seasons. Everyone knows he wants to be in South Africa. He has made no
secret of his passion for SA rugby, his love for South Africa as a country and
his desire to return, be it at the end of the season or at the completion of
his Munster contract.
Africa has gold in Erasmus and it must be mined. He is the Director of Rugby
that South Africa currently doesn’t have.
track record is impeccable. He has done his apprenticeship and done it
superbly. Some still think of Erasmus as the excellent Springbok loose forward
and among his most imposing performances came in Paris when the Springboks
whipped France 52-10 in 1997.
his achievements as professional rugby coach and his pedigree as a leader in
rugby coaching are without question.
13 year professional coaching career requires reflection and recognition. It’s
only when you see it in print that you appreciate fully what he has achieved
and why he should be back in South Africa.
Vodacom Cup Head Coach: Cheetahs finished 2nd
Currie Cup Technical Analyst: Cheetahs losing finalists
Currie Cup Head Coach: Cheetahs champions
Currie Cup Head Coach: Cheetahs champions
Springboks Rugby World Cup Technical Consultant: Springboks champions
Super Rugby Head Coach: Stormers finish 5th
Currie Cup Senior Professional Coach: WP finish 2nd
Director of Western Province Rugby and Under-21 Head coach: Stormers (losing
finalists), WP (losing finalists), WP Under-21 (champions), WP Under-19 (champions)
Director of Western Province Rugby: Stormers 2nd in League.
Springboks’ World Cup Performance Analyst: RWC quarter-finalist
Director of Western Province Rugby: Stormers 1st in League, WP champions in
SA Rugby General Manager High Performance: Junior World Cup (champions), SA
Sevens Series (2nd), Youth Olympics (champions), SA Schools
(champions), SA ‘A’ Tbilisi Cup (champions), Springboks (2nd IRB world rankings)
SA Rugby General Manager High Performance: Junior World Cup (losing finalists),
SA Sevens Series (2nd), SA Schools (losing finalist), Springboks (2nd
IRB world rankings)
SA Rugby General Manager High Performance: Junior World Cup (3rd
place), SA Sevens Series (2nd), Commonwealth (champions), Youth
Commonwealth (champions), Women Sevens (Olympic Qualifiers), SA Schools
Munster Director of Rugby and Head Coach: Champions Cup semi-finalists. Pro 12
him back here, South Africa ... without delay!
Mark Keohane is a Cape-Town based award-winning rugby specialist and former Springbok Communications Manager. Follow him on Twitter
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