Cape Town - The new Minister of Sport and Recreation, Thulas Nxesi, said on Tuesday that the hosting of the Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 2023 could make a huge impact on the country, much like the 2010 Soccer World Cup had.
Nxesi paid a visit to the headquarters of SA Rugby in Cape Town on Tuesday, his first since taking office a month ago. He was met by SA Rugby President and CEO, Mark Alexander and Jurie Roux, as well as members of the Executive Council and senior staff members of the organisation.
“Today’s meeting was basically a meet and greet and part of my campaign of listening and learning with all the sporting federations, finding out what their challenges are and hopefully we can help them deal with those challenges,” said Nxesi.
“Rugby is very important (in South Africa). We know our team had a slump last year, but we believe we will go back to where we belong as South African rugby.”
Nxesi drew parallels between the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and SA Rugby’s desire to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. He said: “If I were to draw on my experiences from the Soccer World Cup in 2010, in terms of nation building, we saw both black and white in the stands supporting Bafana Bafana and enjoying the football.
“The legacy of that tournament, amongst black and white, is very important. A big part of that legacy is the stadia which were built, which means that we have the necessary infrastructure in place already and we don’t have to start from scratch.
“It means the hosting costs would be seriously reduced and I believe that the hosting of the Rugby World Cup in 2023 can also leave a huge legacy and make a big impact, just like soccer did (in 2010).”
Alexander thanked Nxesi for his time and said that engaging with Government would remain an important part of SA Rugby’s agenda.
“To have Mr Nxesi pay us a visit shows that Government is serious about the role sport can play in the broader South African context, and we’re grateful that we can also be part of that,” said Alexander.
“It was a very good meeting where we were able to update the minister on our plans to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 as well as other current issues. He was briefed by the Springbok coach on his plans and we were able to brief him on the planned reduction in the number of Vodacom Super Rugby franchises.
“There is a very good channel of communication and we look forward to working with the minister in the coming years.”