Bid solid de­spite Boks per­for­mance

Ire­land loss un­likely to jeop­ar­dise SA’s chance of se­cur­ing votes on Wed­nes­day to host the World Cup in 2023

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Craig Ray TimesLIVE

The Spring­boks man­aged to se­verely em­bar­rass SA days be­fore a cru­cial vote on de­cid­ing the host coun­try for Rugby World Cup 2023 af­ter los­ing 38-3 to bid ri­vals Ire­land in Dublin.

The Spring­boks man­aged to se­verely em­bar­rass SA days be­fore a cru­cial vote on the host coun­try for Rugby World Cup 2023 af­ter los­ing 38-3 to bid ri­vals Ire­land in Dublin‚ but it is un­likely to have a ma­te­rial in­flu­ence on del­e­gates.

The World Rugby Coun­cil will cast its votes in Lon­don on Wed­nes­day in a con­test be­tween SA‚ Ire­land and France to de­cide the host coun­try.

As dis­mal and bleak as the Spring­boks’ per­for­mance in Dublin this week­end was‚ de­ci­sions about host­ing a tour­na­ment of the size and scale of a Rugby World Cup are not made on one-off games be­tween two ri­val bid­ders.

An ex­pected so­cial me­dia back­lash did try to link the two out­comes‚ but the truth of the mat­ter is that an in­de­pen­dent tech­ni­cal re­view com­mit­tee had spent months eval­u­at­ing each of the three bids.

Af­ter de­tailed anal­y­sis, the bids were scored on six weighted cri­te­ria and SA’s bid achieved nearly 79%‚ which was 3% higher than France and 6% more than Ire­land. Since World Rugby re­vealed the tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee scores nearly two weeks ago‚ the Ir­ish bid com­mit­tee in par­tic­u­lar has tried to put SA down at ev­ery turn.

France‚ through its chair­man Bernard La­porte, ob­jected to some of the scor­ing‚ but did not at­tack SA’s bid‚ rather fo­cus­ing on how the tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee over­looked some of the coun­try’s strengths.

The Ir­ish at­tack has been dis­ap­point­ing‚ es­pe­cially since all coun­cil mem­bers had to sign a code of con­duct that in­cluded ac­cept­ing the tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tion. Ire­land’s record win over the Boks added to mis­placed feel­ings of in­jus­tice on some plat­forms‚ although Ir­ish Rugby CE Phil Browne tried to strike a more con­cil­ia­tory tone in an in­ter­view with the Ir­ish Ex­am­iner.

“There’s a fine line be­tween whinge­ing and hav­ing jus­ti­fi­able con­cerns round the ac­cu­racy of what is con­tained in a re­port that World Rugby has placed so much store and weight on‚” Browne said.

“The an­swer is it [the out­come] is finely bal­anced amongst the three bids. We owe it to our­selves‚ the gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Ire­land‚ who have been very en­thu­si­as­tic‚ to fight to the end for it.”

SA Rugby CE Jurie Roux and pres­i­dent Mark Alexan­der were in Dublin to wit­ness the loss against Ire­land — yet an­other record loss — and must be wor­ried about SA Rugby’s im­age.

Roux, though, re­minded World Rugby del­e­gates of their fidu­ciary re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­sider the tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee’s as­sess­ment and scor­ing as the ma­jor in­flu­ence on their vote on Wed­nes­day. By agree­ing to a trans­par­ent se­lec­tion process, they had a com­mit­ment to vote ac­cord­ing to the tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tion.

“We still have a vote to come on Novem­ber 15 … dif­fer­ent peo­ple have dif­fer­ent opin­ions, but they have a fidu­ciary re­spon­si­bil­ity to act ac­cord­ingly‚” Roux said. “We hope that san­ity will pre­vail be­cause an in­de­pen­dent process is there for a very spe­cific rea­son — to keep it in­de­pen­dent. It would now be very dif­fi­cult for any fed­er­a­tion to go against this in­de­pen­dent out­come be­cause it would laugh in the face of trans­parency and process.”

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