Cape Town - Having
the Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 2023 would allow the game’s modern
players to experience one of the great adventures in the sport.
six week rugby tour in South Africa is the stuff of legend and folklore because
of the public’s total rugby immersion.
new international tournaments like Super Rugby and a congested northern
hemisphere calendar, has meant that rugby and touring only ever gets mentioned
every four years when the British and Irish Lions travel to one of New Zealand,
South Africa or Australia.
lovers would have lapped up the recent Lions series to New Zealand. The Lions
played 10 matches in five weeks, competed against all five New Zealand Super
Rugby franchises and drew the three-Test series one-all in the most dramatic
were a sell-out and more than 20 000 British and Irish Lions fans made the long
journey to New Zealand. Rugby, in all its former glory, triumphed.
with the exception of the British and Irish Lions, simply cannot be replicated
in this age of professionalism. There isn’t space to accommodate a six week
carnival for any international team - and modern players and fans are the
poorer for the absence of a six week tour to the Republic of South Africa.
Fitzpatrick’s All Blacks of 1996 experienced touring South Africa for six
weeks. The British and Irish Lions, in 1997 and 2009, are the only other band
of rugby brothers who understand and appreciate just what it means to tour
are two generations of the globe’s best rugby players who would have heard of
the rugby Republic that is South Africa, but there are very few who would have
experienced this rugby country on high alert because of non-stop rugby over a
late great Nelson Mandela gave the 1995 Rugby World Cup its most global visual
in a moment that transcended sport. Madiba and South Africa’s winning Rugby
World Cup high was turned into a Hollywood movie because it was a story so much
bigger than a rugby tournament.
seduction of South Africa playing host to World Rugby’s best 20 teams in 2023
must be irresistible for anyone who lives the game.
British and Irish Lions are in South Africa in 2021 and that tour is the ideal
precursor to the biggest event in professional rugby two years later.
South Africa 2023
would also give the South African public the chance to reinforce the traditions
of old and remind the sporting world of the magnetism of a South Africa rugby
Africa, along with New Zealand, remains rugby’s ultimate rugby destination.
was privileged to report on the 1995 World Cup in South Africa and the 2011
World Cup in New Zealand. Nothing compares to 1995 and 2011 for total rugby
immersion and the way in which the public embraced the respective events.
world rugby’s greatest show in South Africa in 2023 would be massive for the
sport and for the country.
not 2023, then when for South Africa and indeed Africa, which is the biggest
growth point for the game in the 21st century?