CAPE TOWN, September 25 – South Africa was more than ready to deliver a world class sporting experience should the country’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup be successful, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.
Ramaphosa was in London where he added some gravitas to the country’s world cup bid by addressing the Rugby World Cup Council while SA Rugby Union made the technical and commercial presentations.
“This is not an expense, but a worthy investment,” said Ramaphosa.
“And the best investment World Rugby can make is by putting their faith in South Africa to deliver.”
Ramaphosa was in a nostalgic mood as he took bid committee members back to the 1995 Rugby World Cup, which happened just a year after South Africa’s first democratic elections.
He recalled how millions of people of all races came together to celebrate the country’s win during the final – a rare occurrence at the time, and how late former president Nelson Mandela donned the Springbok jersey when he lifted the trophy.
“It was arguably at that moment that our country’s identity too underwent a profound transformation. Within a matter of days, the old South African flag disappeared from our rugby stadiums to be replaced by the joyous colours of the flag of the democratic South Africa,” said Ramaphosa.
“So, rugby in South Africa is much more than a sport. It is an important part of our political, social and cultural identity. We have walked a long path to reach this point. Our route to liberation extends beyond the borders of our land.”
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont has hailed the Rugby World Cup 2023 bids as ‘exciting and impressive’ after the candidate unions presented their vision and plans to World Rugby Council in London on Monday.
The bid teams from France, Ireland and South Africa were each given 30 minutes to present their hosting proposition to council members before fielding questions from them.
Beaumont said: “Today represented an important and exciting milestone in the host selection process for Rugby World Cup 2023. It’s clear from the presentations that we have three exceptionally strong, impressive and exciting bids with full government support. Each, I believe, is capable of hosting a superb Rugby World Cup.
“I would like to thank our friends from the respective union bid teams for their hard work, commitment and for sharing their vision and detailed hosting plans. My Council colleagues and I have much to consider and we look forward to the outcome of the thorough and independent evaluation process next month before we consider and select the Rugby World Cup 2023 host union.”
A key phase in the three-stage host selection process, the presentations follow the submission of detailed bids for detailed evaluation and analysis by World Rugby and independent experts.
Within their submissions, the candidates were required to outline their vision and mission for hosting rugby’s global showcase event.
This included confirmation of guarantees from governments and other appropriately empowered entities, the hosting agreement and detailed responses to core hosting requirements in line with World Rugby’s seven hosting objectives.
All bids are currently being reviewed in detail by a specialist technical review group, evaluated against weighted criteria and will feature independent economic, financial and commercial assessment by expert advisors. The Sports Consultancy is independently assessing the group’s application of the evaluation criteria to ensure a fair and consistent approach to the decision-making process.
A recommendation will then be made by the Rugby World Cup Board on October 31, before Council votes to select the host union for Rugby World Cup 2023 at its November 15 meeting.