Cape Town - Tsholo Kubheka
insists rugby is a vehicle to bringing sport’s biggest global event of 2023 to
South Africa and the benefits would extend the South African rugby landscape.
‘This is about
country first and foremost,’ says Kubheka, SA Rugby’s Commercial General
Manager. ‘Having the World Cup in South Africa would be brilliant for the
country and for the continent. Sport, in general, would profit because our
commitment is that an event with the magnitude of a Rugby World Cup can’t be
exclusive (in financial gain) to rugby in South Africa.
‘There will be
reward for sport in this country and we believe that South Africans will
embrace the event, just like they have every major sporting success story
hosted in this country.
are incredible people and we’ve experienced first hand (1995 Rugby, 2003
Cricket and 2010 Soccer), the power and influence of South Africans when it
comes to showcasing this country to the rest of the world.
2015, hosted the most successful and profitable RWC. The gains were there for sport
and country, in terms of finance and growth. We believe we can deliver
something even more special to what was a magnificent World Cup in England,
with the legacy extended to the growth and influence of rugby on the African
South African Rugby’s
bid could have focused exclusively on the emotion, the country’s positioning as
a traditional powerhouse of rugby and a belief that South Africa is owed the
right to host RWC 2023 because it would have been nearly 30 years since the
country hosted the memorable 1995 Nelson Mandela-inspired World Cup.
‘There isn’t a
more iconic Rugby World Cup image than the late President Mandela handing over
the trophy to Springbok captain Francois Pienaar, but it’s not emotion or
nostalgia that will win us the bid, says Kubheka. ‘We can pull all the right
emotional strings but that’s not why we believe we should host 2023. Ours is
commercially and technically a powerful and inspiring bid. The emotional
aspects add to the storytelling of our bid but the strength of South Africa’s
bid is in all the operational and economic benefits to World Rugby, South
Africa, SA Rugby, South African sport and the advancement of rugby in Africa.
Minister of Sport and Recreation Thulas Nxesi insisted the legacy of the Rugby
World Cup 2023 would be similar to the impact of South Africa’s hosting of the
2010 Soccer World Cup.
several media briefings, highlighted the quality of South Africa’s 2010
tournament, the benefits to tourism, to the South African economy and also to
South Africa’s standing as a global leader when it came to hosting the biggest
He also singled
out the cost advantage of not having to build stadia.
with the Minister, highlighting the cost advantage of having hosted FIFA
‘One of our
biggest operational advantages is that we have eight world-class stadia, four
of which tick every World Rugby box required to host a World Cup final.’
SARU CEO Jurie
Roux has also trumpeted South Africa’s infrastructure as being massive in being
able to produce a bid to World Rugby that is so high on quality and low in
‘Four of our
stadiums were built for the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and the other four we would
use were upgraded for use in 2010. These stadiums, effectively, will be 14
years old in 2023 and in stadium terms, that is absolutely nothing.
infrastructure spend would be required and the economic impact study we have
commissioned from Grant Thornton has a good news story to tell South Africa.’
profit, South Africa’s track record in delivering major events, the country’s
rugby and sporting culture and the uniquely African experience are the essence
of South Africa’s bid.
And, as Roux
told the media when officially delivering South Africa’s bid document to World
Rugby in Dublin, South Africa (and Africa) is due another Rugby World Cup.
‘It’s been all
over the world now. It’s only been in Africa once and by 2023 it will be nearly
30 years since it’s been in South Africa. It needs to come back to Africa.’