Cape Town - South Africa’s hopes of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup received a significant boost on Tuesday after the country was recommended as the preferred host nation.This announcement was made by World Rugby after the global rugby governing body received an independent recommendation as to which country should host the 2023 tournament.
South Africa was named in preference to fellow bidders France and Ireland as the candidate best able to fulfil the agreed criteria laid out by World Rugby to deliver a successful and profitable tournament.
“Based on the evaluation contained in this report, the candidate that scored the highest marks and is therefore deemed to be the optimal candidate to host Rugby World Cup 2023 is South Africa,” said the report.
“It is the recommendation of the RWCL board of directors to World Rugby Council that South Africa should be awarded the right to host Rugby World Cup 2023.”
South Africa still has to clear one final hurdle before the celebrations can begin.
The recommendation will now be put to the vote of the World Rugby Council in London on November 15. All three candidates will appear on the ballot paper but World Rugby has stressed to its members that recommendation of the evaluation committee should be taken into consideration.
There are 39 votes at stake with a simple majority required to determine the eventual host nation. The candidate nations do not have a vote.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux promised that South Africa would deliver a “Triple Win” Rugby World Cup in 2023.
“We told the World Rugby council that we would deliver a triple win tournament when we presented to them last month - a win for the game with record receipts; a win for the fans with an unforgettable tournament in a bucket-list destination and, most importantly, a win for the players with the most athlete-centric event in the tournament’s history,” said Roux.
“This nomination is confirmation of that belief and reward for an outstanding bid in which no detail was too small to be addressed or any question not comprehensively answered. We are 100% confident that the commitments we made in our document will be delivered. We will make all of world rugby proud of South Africa 2023.”
Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby, thanked the South African government for their support and said that their backing had been central to the bid’s success: “The support of Cabinet and the presence of the Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, in company with the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Thulas Nxesi, at the presentations in London last month was critical,” he said.
“The fact that the deputy minister of sport, Mr Gert Oosthuizen, and the Director General, Mr Alec Moemi, were also in attendance spoke volumes. I’d also like to thank the many stadium and city managers and other service providers in preparing our bid as well, of course, as our two World Cup-winning captains, Francois Pienaar and John Smit, who assisted in presenting our bid in London.”
World Rugby and Rugby World Cup Limited chairperson Bill Beaumont stated: “This is the first Rugby World Cup host selection to take place following a complete redesign of the bidding process to promote greater transparency and maximise World Rugby's hosting objectives.
“The comprehensive and independently scrutinised evaluation reaffirmed that we have three exceptional bids but it also identified South Africa as a clear leader based on performance against the key criteria, which is supported by the Board in the recommendation.
“I would like to congratulate South Africa on a superb bid and all the bid teams for their dedication and professionalism throughout the process to date. Our colleagues on the World Rugby Council will now meet on 15 November in London to consider the Board’s recommendation and vote to decide the host of Rugby World Cup 2023.”
Roux added: “This was a rigorous and objective process which we have supported from day one and we thank World Rugby for instituting a process that took lobbying out of the equation and professionally identified which host would deliver the best tournament for players, fans and the game.
“We trust now that the World Rugby Council will follow through by voting to confirm what the experts have identified: that a South African Rugby World Cup in 2023 is the best result for rugby.”
South Africa’s 827-page, 8.2kg bid book included a commitment from the South African government to exceed the minimum guarantee of £120m required by World Rugby with an additional guarantee of £40m. SA Rugby forecast another £60m in profit for World Rugby from hospitality sales and savings on event costs because of the exchange rate.
The tournament promises the largest ever attendance for a final with a record 87 436 spectators at the FNB Stadium as part of an availability of 2.9m match tickets for the event - also a record.
The required minimum number of at least eight world-class venues in established rugby centres are already in place - the smallest of which has a fully seated capacity of 43 500 - all of them familiar with hosting Test matches and with no need for extra infrastructure investment by Government to meet World Rugby requirements.
Hosting the tournament will also produce major benefits for South Africa with a forecast R27 billion in direct, indirect and induced economic impact for the country.
It is estimated that R5.7billion of that would flow to low income households while 38 600 temporary or permanent jobs would be sustained with an estimated R1.4 billion direct tax benefit to government.
In addition, SA Rugby’s legacy vision is to introduce 1m young South Africans to rugby between now and 2027.
“Hosting Rugby World Cup 2023 will be a massive boost for our country as well as the game of rugby,” said Roux.
“This is the fourth successive time we have bid for the tournament: this is not a ‘nice-to-have’ for rugby in South Africa - the opportunity to recapture just some of the spirit of 1995 has been an obsession for us.”
Those eligible to vote in the secret ballot on November 15 are: Australia (3 votes), England (3), New Zealand (3), Scotland (3), Wales (3), Italy (3), Argentina (3), Canada (1), Japan (2), Georgia (1), Romania (1), USA (1), Asia Rugby (2), Oceania Rugby (2), Rugby Africa (2), Rugby Americas North (2), Rugby Europe (2), Sudamerica Rugby (2).
The final decision will be announced by World Rugby at approximately 13:00 (SA time) on November 15, 2017.