Johannesburg - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett believes hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup would be a “fantastic thing” for South Africa and the country would afford tourists from all over the world an incredible welcome.
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Mallett, who is an analyst on SuperSport these days, said he was definitely behind South Africa’s bid when the voting process takes place on Wednesday to appoint the host of the showpiece tournament.
South Africa are up against France and Ireland, who have been doing a lot of last minute lobbying to try and change the minds of delegates.
Mallett said South Africans should be celebrating the fact that an independent committee rated its bid as the preferred one, a recommendation that should, given the transparency, give the bid an advantage at Wednesday’s vote.
“I think South Africans should all be celebrating the fact that we have come out on top of the initial selection process. We’re hoping like anything that all the other unions that vote, will take cognisance of the fact that an independent objective selection process put us out ahead of Ireland and France.
"That’s the first thing, but secondly from a South African perspective we’ve done big tournaments like this very well. We’ve hosted the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and obviously we did a magnificent 1995 tournament that was a very special event.
“We have the Lions coming out in 2021 and we will have the World Cup in 2023. Those are also a fantastic couple of occasions to look forward to.”
As a country, we are excellently positioned to produce an incredible Rugby World Cup in 2023. We have so many advantages. First of all, the Rand is generally weak against other currencies. For people coming to tour here it is a fantastic holiday.
"We have some of the most unbelievable places to visit, apart from rugby fields. We have beautiful beaches, beautiful mountains and beautiful game parks and I think the country warms to tourists when they come out here.
“Everyone was very happy about the Soccer World Cup and it is about time for us now to have another major event. I mean 1995, then 2010 and now 2023, there has been 10/15 years between each one and I think the country will rally round.”
"South Africa is a remarkable place as the 1995 World Cup, the 1996 African Cup of Nations and 2010 Fifa World Cup showed. The country hosted successful tournaments and was overcome by a magical feeling of unity as it showcased some of its best aspects to an adoring world audience.
“That is why Ireland and France are so disappointed at not getting it. They know what it would do for their country and how they can show off their country. Both would have gone out of their way to make people incredibly welcome there and there is no difference whatsoever in South Africa.
"I think that every touring side in history has always said it is one of the greatest tours you can go on – to South Africa. The people are just incredibly warm and welcoming. The Euro, Dollar, Pound and Yen are expensive currencies for South Africans so for those people to come here on holiday, it is much cheaper.”
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Mallett praised Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Minister of Sport and Recreation Thulas Nxesi for their support and said it made a big difference for the bid presentation
“It goes without saying that sport needs the support of Government. What people have to understand is that the whole Mandela experience was a very powerful one. I was in London and it was the same time that we did our bid presentation along with France and Ireland.
“I was there the day after everyone had done their presentations. What was astounding was how impressive we were. Bill Beaumont said the most impressive person who presented out of everyone was Cyril Ramaphosa. I don’t think South Africans are aware of how much that matters to World Rugby. That the government is behind and supports the bid.
"That is probably one of the reasons we sneaked ahead of France and Ireland, just on the presentation, professionalism and on the fact he and our Minister of Sport made a visible support and contribution to the bid.”
Wednesday’s vote will take place as follows. The vote will be live on SuperSport from 14:30.
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