World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper has confirmed that South Africa is a contender to host the 2019 World Cup should Japan be stripped of the event.
It was recently reported that South Africa had been sounded out about its readiness to step in as hosts after concerns arose that Japan might not able to meet its obligations to do so.
Although Gosper said no ‘formal discussions’ had taken place, he told EWN Sport that South Africa would naturally be a contender if Japan is unable to provide the necessary assurances by the end of the month.
‘There haven’t been any discussions with Saru in itself. Obviously, in the unlikely event that there was an issue in Japan, it would make sense that the first people you would consult would be the other two contenders at the time, which were Italy and South Africa.
'As I say, we don’t envisage that being the situation, we are very confident that Japan will deliver on the requests that we’ve made to them in terms of reassurances on the 2019 World Cup.’
Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images