The South African Rugby Union delivered, what they believe to be, a compelling case to host either the 2015 or 2019 World Cup tournaments to the International Rugby Board council in Dublin on Wednesday.
Rugby 365 reports that SARU deputy president Mark Alexander and former Springbok captain and manager Morne du Plessis led the South African bid team as it took Council through a half-hour presentation.
One of the most interesting aspects to emerge from the bid presentation is that the National Stadium in Johannesburg, affectionately known as Soccer City and which is earmarked to host both the opening and final matches of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, has beaten off the challenge of a rugby venue like Ellis Park to host the Rugby World Cup Final.
South Africa is bidding in competition with England, Italy and Japan for the rights to host either of the 2015 or 2019 tournaments.
The IRB Council will deliver its verdict on both host countries on July 28.
“Thanks to the support of our Government and the incredible investment in infrastructure and new stadiums, we believe we can present a very strong case for a South African World Cup,” said Alexander.
“Our bid is based on three principles: We believe South Africa offers the most dramatic stage to showcase the game of rugby; we can produce a commercially lucrative tournament; and we have a hosting environment and a readiness to deliver that is arguably second to none.”
Alexander confirmed that SARU’s Tournament Guarantee had been underwritten by Government while he underlined that a World Cup in South Africa would be a major commercial success.
“We have the benefit of being in the most attractive time zone for broadcasters and sponsors while we have tremendous capacity in our stadiums and hospitality industry to host large numbers of guests.”
A South African Tournament would make use of several of the stadiums that will be used for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, including staging the Opening Match and Final at the 91 000-capacity National Stadium in Johannesburg.
“Our new stadiums will allow us to make available 2,8-million match tickets at prices that will make the Tournament affordable for all South Africans as well as international visitors,” said Du Plessis.
“As a nation we are establishing a reputation as an outstanding venue for the world’s largest sporting events and our stadiums will provide outstanding facilities for players, spectators, officials and media to enjoy what we believe would be an unforgettable Rugby World Cup.”
World Cup-winning captain John Smit and former IRB Player of the Year Bryan Habana were featured in an audio-visual presentation supporting the Bid in their absence due to Saturday’s crucial Vodacom Super 14 final-round match.
“The Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of the game and the ultimate stage for any player,” said Smit. “It would be a huge honour for South Africa to host another World Cup. We’re ready and waiting.”Tweet