World Rugby’s preferred 2023 World Cup host candidate will learn on Wednesday if it has succeeded in its quest to bring the tournament back to South Africa. JON CARDINELLI in London reports.
The Springboks are well and truly behind South Africa’s bid. At the team’s base in Paris on Tuesday, Bok flyhalf Handré Pollard spoke about what a World Cup could do for the country in six years’ time.
‘It would be amazing if the Rugby World Cup came back to South Africa,’ said Pollard. ‘It was clear what the 1995 tournament did for our country, and not just in terms of rugby. It will create a lot of opportunities again and give the Boks something to look forward to.
‘We’ve had a couple of rough years with the rugby in South Africa,’ he added, referring to the nine from 22 win-record since the start of the 2016 season. The Boks lost 38-3 in Dublin last week, and will be desperate to bounce back when they face France in Paris.
Win or lose, the fans’ love for the sport will not change.
‘We love our rugby in South Africa,’ said Pollard. ‘It’s in our DNA. It’s part of who we are. A Rugby World Cup is very special and it would be great to have it back in our country.’
Emotion will not and should not determine which nation hosts the 2023 World Cup, though. The good news is that South Africa was named as World Rugby’s preferred candidate on 31 October following a stringent evaluation process.
South Africa scored highest in three of the five sections, and in particular scored highest for venues and host cities, tournament Infrastructure, and second behind France for finance, commercial and commitments. Its track record of having hosted successful major tournaments – the 2010 Fifa World Cup, for example – also counted in its favour.
France and Ireland, however, have refused to accept the decision of the evaluation committee. It remains to be seen whether the respective unions and regions will respect and ultimately ratify the decision of World Rugby, or vote for one of the European underdogs.
THE VOTING PROCESS
The final decision rests with 26 World Rugby council members, who collectively exercise 39 votes and among whom a simple majority is required to secure the hosting rights. The three bidding countries do not vote.
Those eligible to vote in the secret ballot on 15 November are: Australia (3 votes), England (3), New Zealand (3), Scotland (3), Wales (3), Italy (3), Argentina (3), Canada (1), Japan (2), Georgia (1), Romania (1), USA (1), Asia Rugby (2), Oceania Rugby (2), Rugby Africa (2), Rugby Americas North (2), Rugby Europe (2), Sudamerica Rugby (2).