Naas: Time is right for SA to host a RWC

2016-09-06 15:01
Naas Botha (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok flyhalf Naas Botha feels the time is right for South Africa to once again host a Rugby World Cup.

Botha’s comment come after SA Rugby last week submitted documents to World Rugby confirming its intentions to bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Other nations who have expressed an interest in hosting the event in seven years time include Ireland, Italy and France.

South Africa hosted the 1995 World Cup - which the Springboks won. The Boks tasted success again in the 2007 tournament in France.

“I think it’s about time that we stage another World Cup. The last one was in ’95, so it would be fantastic,” Botha said in a radio interview on The Sports Cage.

“But the competitors are three very strong contenders. Italy’s never had a World Cup. I can’t really see France getting one again. They already had one in 2007.

"Ireland had one in ‘91 and ‘99, so I would tend to think that it might be between us and Ireland. But maybe we could be the better host.”

There is however still doubt over whether SA Rugby would receive government's backing for hosting the event.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula earlier this year banned the federations in control of rugby, cricket, athletics and netball in South Africa from "bidding for or hosting any major sporting events".

It followed the release of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report that revealed that all four of those federations had failed in meeting their transformation targets.

In March 2017, Mbalula will decide whether to continue with the suspension‚ or rescind it‚ once he has studied the EPG's review.

That would be too late for a RWC 2023 bid as that process has already started, but according to Botha, there was likely an agreement between SA Rugby and government.

“I believe that there must be some gentlemen's agreement between government and SARU, otherwise why would you bid for something you know you won’t be successful with? So I gather that somewhere along the line, there’s some agreement.

“And also, I think everybody’s contributing quite a bit lately to make sure that everyone gets an equal opportunity.”

Countries that meet the criteria outlined by World Rugby will move to the candidate phase on November 1‚ 2016, after which the host of the tournament in 2023 will be announced in November 2017.

Japan will host the next World Cup in 2019.

Read more on:    naas botha  |  rugby


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