South Africa firm as favourites to host Rugby World Cup

By Mitch Phillips, Mitch Phillips is a Roar Rookie

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50 Have your say

    The 2023 Rugby World Cup is set to be held in South Africa after the board of the sport’s governing body recommended their bid ahead of Ireland and France on Tuesday.

    World Rugby’s Council is expected to rubber-stamp the recommendation on November 15 – though it could still opt for any of the three bids. Japan will host the next tournament in 2019.

    Ireland had been the bookmakers’ favourites having never been the main host before while France were the outsiders having staged the tournament in 2007.

    South Africa hosted the 1995 World Cup against an extraordinary emotional, social and political backdrop after the country had missed the first two tournaments due to the sporting ban over apartheid.

    The sight of Nelson Mandela in a Springbok shirt presenting the Webb Ellis Cup to Francois Pienaar as South Africa triumphed on home soil is probably the most iconic image in the tournament’s history.

    There had been concerns that the current political instability would work against a return but the evaluation committee clearly felt that it was not an issue, while the availability of stadiums built for the 2010 soccer World Cup helped it achieve a high score on infrastructure.

    The evaluation was carried out by a team of “internal and external functional area experts”, against weighted criteria.

    They also included the likely commercial success and guarantees, venues and political stability.

    “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,” World Rugby and Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement.

    “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.”

    World Rugby published the results of the evaluation report with South Africa receiving an overall score of 78.97 percent to the 75.88 for France and 72.25 for Ireland.

    “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,” SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said.

    The Irish bid scored badly on the heavily-weighted “venues and host cities” criteria, probably reflecting concerns over a shortage of hotel rooms.

    © Reuters 2018

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    The Crowd Says (50)

    • November 1st 2017 @ 12:13pm
      Worlds Biggest said | November 1st 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

      This is disappointing and no disrespect to our Bok mates here on the Roar, but Ireland would have been absolutely sensational hosts.
      Rugby in Ireland is booming ( has been for a while ) and hosting a World Cup would have been well deserved.

    • Roar Guru

      November 1st 2017 @ 1:33pm
      Poth Ale said | November 1st 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

      It’s disappointing but the decision has been made so have to move on.

      Congrats to South Africa – I’ve no doubt they’ll be great hosts for the tournament and it should provide a welcome fillip to the game there.

      • November 1st 2017 @ 7:28pm
        Cuw said | November 1st 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

        @ Poth Ale

        i guess Ireland ( and Scotland and Wales ) for rugger are in the same boat as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for cricket.

        being next to a big brother like England ( and India for cricket) , substantially reduces the chance of independently hosting an event of large magnitude.

        most likely scenario is shared event with the final going to the big brother every time. such is reality….

      • November 2nd 2017 @ 2:15am
        HenryHoneyBalls said | November 2nd 2017 @ 2:15am | ! Report

        Congrats are a bit premature. NZ won the bidding in 2011 despite not winning the IRBs recommendations. Its not over yet.

    • Roar Guru

      November 1st 2017 @ 2:20pm
      Charging Rhino said | November 1st 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

      This is great news! It makes sense as SA has only hosted 1 tournament, which will be 28 years until 2023.

      With 4 tournaments already hosted in the UK and France.
      And 3 tournaments already hosted in Australia/ New Zealand.
      All matches being a relatively short bus, train or flight away….. Sydney/ Brisbane to Auckland (and vice versa) doesn’t take long and is not very expensive. While a train from London to Cardiff, Paris or Edinburgh, or even flight from Dublin across is cheap, quick and easy.

      It just seems fair, actually well overdue to be honest to host it again in SA. Plus the infrastructure from the 2010 Soccer WC is far superior.

      The politics still bugs me though. So much potential, yet so many politicians who want to waste the potential and profit for themselves only, starting with the man in charge Jacob Zuma.

      • November 2nd 2017 @ 2:25am
        HenryHoneyBalls said | November 2nd 2017 @ 2:25am | ! Report

        Lol, being able to fly to the UK or France to watch a match at the RWC is not the same thing as hosting the RWC. Hosting the tournament outright provides a massive boost to the local economy and to the local union and game in general for the host nation.

        SA have already hosted the tournament, Ireland have not aside from a handful of token games. By that logic surely it is Ireland’s turn?

        The consolation of being able to pop over to the UK or France to watch a game every 12 years doesn’t really cut it.

        • Roar Guru

          November 2nd 2017 @ 3:16pm
          Charging Rhino said | November 2nd 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

          Mate, I think the real Honibal would feel rather different….

          I think you’re missing the point here though, here’s the logic:
          UK/France area has hosted 4
          Australia/NZ area has hosted 3
          SA – 1
          Dublin was closer to every game played in England in 2015 than Cape Town is to Joburg, or even Townsville is to Brisbane (and they’re both in QLD), and just as cheap and easy to travel to and from. Dublin to Paris is super easy too!

          I loved in London for 4 years and have been to Ireland so I do know the area and culture etc very well. Many friends/ family went over to Paris from London for the final in 2007, it was easy. Btw I wasn’t there in 2015.

          Yes Ireland is a different country (well not if you include the North but hey…) I understand about local economy boost. But the point is every game has been easily accessible for Irish rugby fans for 4 different World Cup tournaments. Actually more easily accessible than many Aussie or South African rugby fans when their own country has hosted it!

          “The consolation of being able to pop over to the UK or France to watch a game every 12 years doesn’t really cut it.” How about 28 years to pop over to Joburg for the finals, if you live in Cape Town or Durban chap?
          I’m confused as to how you cannot understand the logic here?

          • November 2nd 2017 @ 9:27pm
            HenryHoneyBalls said | November 2nd 2017 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

            Sorry Id rather host the tournament every 28 years than be offered a patronising pat on the head and the consolidation of a flight to London. You logic is very warped.

            Irish fans will turn out in huge numbers no matter where the tournament is held. Travel distances aren’t the issue.

            The issue is it is Ireland’s turn having never hosted before. Not South Africa’s. Baffled how you find that so hard to understand.

    • Roar Guru

      November 1st 2017 @ 3:38pm
      biltongbek said | November 1st 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

      Not every recommendation pans out. There is still the matter of voting, let’s wait for the announcement.

    • November 1st 2017 @ 3:40pm
      Worlds Biggest said | November 1st 2017 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

      Congrats Rhino, you guys will do a great job and it has been a long time between drinks.

    • November 1st 2017 @ 3:44pm
      Old Bugger said | November 1st 2017 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

      As simple as it may seem, the Southern Hemisphere was due, for the next to-be-chosen tournament location. Congrats to SA, gaining this recommendation. Now its onwards and upwards for confirmation.

      • November 2nd 2017 @ 3:28am
        HenryHoneyBalls said | November 2nd 2017 @ 3:28am | ! Report

        It isn’t as simple as rotating world cups between the North and the South. There are only 4 teams in the SH that realistically can host a RWC (Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Uruguay, Namibia don’t really have the means) whereas the following countries in the NH could all potentially host the RWC:


        …and yet so far there have been 4 world cups in the south and 4 in the North with Japan due to host soon. It just means that SA, NZ and Aus have all hosted whereas other big nations such as Ireland have not. If SA win all three SANZAR sides will have hosted twice before Ireland have hosted at all aside from some token games.

        • November 2nd 2017 @ 6:29am
          Fionn said | November 2nd 2017 @ 6:29am | ! Report

          Unfortunately there was just one in England and Ireland and England are just too similar, in my opinion. I just don’t think the timing was right – 2027 fits better.

          And even if it isn’t alternating north and south it should be about 1.5:1 or 2:1 in terms of north and then south. There will have just been 2 in a row in the north – 3 is just a bit much.

          • November 2nd 2017 @ 9:33pm
            HenryHoneyBalls said | November 2nd 2017 @ 9:33pm | ! Report

            What is the logic behind rotating between the north and south when the majority are in the north?
            Where is the logic in shoehorning Japan in the same category as the other NH sides when in reality they are as close or closer to some of the SH countries as they are to the NH sides?

            Diving between the north and south is nonsense.

            • November 2nd 2017 @ 9:38pm
              Fionn said | November 2nd 2017 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

              Because England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales all offer extremely similar experience, whereas the S/H countries are all more different from each other.

              Because Japan is in the Northern Hemisphere.

              Okay, if you think dividing between north and south is nonsense then how about the fact that you simply shouldn’t have too many in the home nations too close together. They’re too similar.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 10:06pm
                HenryHoneyBalls said | November 2nd 2017 @ 10:06pm | ! Report

                No problem with rotating the tournament. Splitting between the NH and SH makes zero sense though. As already mentioned Tokyo is closer to Australia and New Zealand than any other NH rugby jurisdiction. Where is your logic in rotating between the north and south coming from?

                I don’t think a RWC in Ireland would be similar to a RWC in England at all. It is about as similar as New Zealand is to Australia and not such a big difference in proximity in terms of flight time.

                NZ and Australia have hosted the tournament 1.5 times where as Ireland has hosted a meagre 11 games.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 10:18pm
                Fionn said | November 2nd 2017 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

                I’ll agree Australia and New Zealand are very similar culturally (although I would argue not as similar as England and Ireland), but the fact is that Australia and New Zealand are very different countries in terms of geography, climate, flora and fauna. Aside from the culture which is very, very similar as you say, they feel like different experiences in terms of both the cities and especially the nature and things to do there.

                England and Ireland are both characterised by appalling weather and similar geography, as well as very similar cultures.

                And I wouldn’t have wanted Australia to get it in 2019 for the very same reason that I don’t think the timing is right for Ireland in 2023—it would have been too recent since NZ had it (8 years).

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 10:39pm
                HenryHoneyBalls said | November 2nd 2017 @ 10:39pm | ! Report

                Ireland shouldn’t host a world cup because the flora and fauna is the same as in England? Lol.

                There are of course similarities between Ireland and England but there are also lots of differences. Culturally there as many similarities between Ireland and England as there are between England and Australia. There may even be closer ties between England and Australia as they are both in the Commonwealth, share a monarch both have a huge population of people from uniquely English descent. Ireland does not to the same extent. Aussies and English both love cricket and pies and have a similar legal system (as does Ireland).

                Genetically Irish people are more closely linked to people from Iceland than England. We use a different currency, different accents and language, politically very different, Ireland being a republic and England being a monarchy.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 10:50pm
                Fionn said | November 2nd 2017 @ 10:50pm | ! Report

                Not sure I ever said that. I said it was too culturally similar as well as being similar geographically.

                Let’s not get into the genetic stuff, mate. Given that I’m Irish/Australian, half of my genes are Irish and I’ve lived in Ireland even if I now live in Aus I think I feel qualified to say that Ireland has a lot more in common with England than Iceland.

                The idea that there are more ties between Australia and England is nonsensical. Perhaps at an institutional level, but not at a cultural level. I think you know that also.

                How many people outside of a few pockets in the West speak Gaelic fluently or as a first language?My dad speaks completely fluently but what are the overall rates, about 15% or something? While there are proud Gaelic speakers Ireland is now overwhelmingly an English speaking country.

                Politically you are not very different given the Monarch in Britain is just a figurehead. Both of Australia’s and Ireland’s legal and political systems are largely based on the British. Ireland’s currency is irrelevant—first of all Ireland doesn’t even have its own currency, second of all Northern Ireland uses the pound.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 11:05pm
                HenryHoneyBalls said | November 2nd 2017 @ 11:05pm | ! Report

                I am half Irish half Australian too and have lived in both countries too. Dual nationality. I have also lived in the UK.

                I think you are talking through your hat. Not sure how long you have lived in Ireland but you don’t seem have a great sense of the cultural differences between Ireland and England nor the relative similarities between Australia and England compared to Ireland and the UK. The majority of the population of Australia comes from British heritage. A minority of people in Ireland come from a British heritage.

                I never said Ireland had anything in common with Iceland other than being genetically much more similar to their population that English people. That is a fact. It is about as relevant as your flora and fauna comment.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 11:34pm
                Bakkies said | November 2nd 2017 @ 11:34pm | ! Report

                Fionn is from Blackrock the Dublin version not the Cork variety. No way you could say that in Thomond Park

              • November 3rd 2017 @ 2:09am
                HenryHoneyBalls said | November 3rd 2017 @ 2:09am | ! Report

                That makes sense. If anywhere in Ireland is accused as being similar to England it is usually Blackrock in Dublin or parts of South Dublin. There is a whole beautiful country outside of those areas. That said I live near there myself and still fell that while there are similarities and cultural similarities and economic ties there are a whole host of differences too. You most certainly wouldn’t get the same experience at an England RWC as you would at an Ireland one.

      • November 2nd 2017 @ 6:48am
        Bakkies said | November 2nd 2017 @ 6:48am | ! Report

        I agree with Henry I don’t buy in to that all especially with the costs and the enormous bid fee. NZ isn’t suitable and the the timezone is horrendous. Australia has pulled out of recent bidding due to the bid fee, the Government doesn’t have a lot of trust in the ARU at the moment to justify handing it to them and due to the neglect of the game there is no guarantee that Australia will attract the crowds that it got in to 2003. As well as that tournament went there were a lot of games that were undersold particularly the two Melbourne Quarter Finals. Public transport hasn’t improved since then and Government solution to infrastructure issues is that you wait to a problem gets out of hand than you build another road or add extra lanes.

        As for Europe and North America rule against multi union bids rules out of the likes of Wales hosting again and the fact that they bid for 1999 was a disaster as they had to profit share to other unions for farming out games along with the Millennium Stadium putting a debt noose around the WRU.

        Same goes for USA and Canada sharing a tournament. What goes against a tournament in either country is the terrible timezone and the NFL is in season during the tournament window. A lot of NFL stadiums are too small in terms of pitch size which is why Rugby never hosted the recent AIG sponsored games in NYC and Boston as mooted. You will be relying on MLS stadiums. Soldier Field is very narrow and barely meets the IRB pitch requirements.

        I have heard some of the venues that are relatively new have really poor transport links which makes getting around Sydney look like child’s play. Gillette Stadium is in Foxboro which is well out of Boston, Levis Stadium is in Santa Clara even thought it hosts a San Francisco based NFL side, the two NY teams play out of a stadium based in New Jersey which would kill the vibe of the tournament (and see my comments above about the pitch size for Rugby), the new Vegas stadium is nowhere near the strip and vast LA is new to mass transit compared to other US cities however it will benefit from Olympics infrastructure updates.

        As for timezone a prime time game in Eastern Time will be on at midnight in London so a daytime match will affect broadcasting revenue in the US for the host broadcaster and early on in the tournament there are potential heat problems. In regards to the West Coast it is even worse particularly if they chose the new stadium in Inglewood to host key matches including the Final.

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