Cape Town - Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula's decision to ban all bidding and hosting of major cricket, rugby, athletics and netball tournaments in South Africa could not have come at a worse time for SA Rugby.
Having hosted the Rugby World Cup just once - in 1995 - SA Rugby and its CEO Jurie Roux have been vocal on their ambitions to secure the showpiece in 2023.
World Rugby will open bidding for that tournament next month and will have made their mind up by November 2017 as to who the tournament hosts will be.
With Mbalula announcing his ban on Monday, this places South Africa's ambitions of hosting the World Cup for the first time in 28 years in serious doubt.
A SA Rugby spokesperson confirmed to Sport24 on Monday that they were as surprised as anybody to hear the announcement of the ban and that there were concerns over how this would impact the 2023 bid.
SA Rugby confirmed later on Tuesday that they would be engaging with the sports minister to further understand how this affected the 2023 bid.