SA Rugby Union bids for World Cup 2015 and 2019

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) delivered its bid to host either the 2015 or 2019 Rugby World Cup to Rugby World Cup Limited in Dublin on Thursday.

Saru president Oregan Hoskins announced at a media conference in Johannesburg positive discussions with government had seen the last brick fall into place.

”The government has been very supportive and they have provided the financial backing to allow us to complete what we believe is a compelling case to bring the Rugby World Cup back home,” said Hoskins.

”South Africa in this day and age is set up to host the very biggest global sporting events and we believe we would offer rugby an unrivalled showcase for the game.

”Players, spectators and media would enjoy world-class facilities in purpose-built stadiums; our financial model and time zoning would maximise commercial revenues and we’re a rugby-hungry country that can promise ideal playing conditions at a time of year when the World Cup would be the only sports event in the national imagination.”

World Cup-winning captain John Smit and former International Rugby Board Player of the Year, Bryan Habana, have joined other leading South Africans who are acting as ambassadors for the bid.

”The World Cup is special to me and to all South Africans — and not just because I played in a winning team,” said Habana.

”The 1995 Rugby World Cup was a magical time in South Africa’s national life and I believe that if it were to return here we’d provide the stage to create even more special memories — both for South Africa and world rugby.”

Mark Alexander, bid Committee chairperson and Saru deputy president, said the newly refurbished 90 000-capcity Soccer City in Johannesburg would be the venue for the opening and final matches of any South African World Cup and other new stadiums, as well as existing rugby stadiums, would be used.

”South Africa is spending billions on upgrading our infrastructure and on venues to host the Fifa World Cup next year and the legacy of that tournament offers rugby an incredible opportunity to put on a spectacular tournament in ideal conditions,” said Alexander.

”Government has backed us every step of the way in our discussions with them and both the financial and logistical support they offer would allow a hugely successful commercial tournament to be held without any problems.

”Rugby must publicly thank our government and particularly the sports minister, the Reverend Makhenkesi Stofile and his department for their unstinting help in producing this bid.”

Also attending the launch were Dr Ali Bacher, Danny Jordaan and Moss Mashishi, who are among a group of bid ambassadors who have lent their experience and advice to the bid. — Sapa

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