Moment of truth for SA’s Cup bid
Nelson Mandela, then seen as one of the pillars of white apartheid rule – handing the trophy to white Springbok captain Francois Pienaar.
South Africa vice-president Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the architects of the relatively peaceful transition from apartheid, said a 2023 World Cup in the country would serve as affirmation of much of what the late Mandela stood for.
“In 1995 it was an almost-white team,” said Ramaphosa when he added his sizeable political weight to the final presentation in September.
“In 2023 it will be a diverse rugby team and prove to the world what Nelson Mandela said, that rugby is a great unifier.”
The Irish too have invested a huge amount of political capital into the bid with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar leading the bid presentation and securing the support of his British counterpart Theresa May – plus the cross-border support of all the Northern Irish parties.
The Irish, probably for the first time in bid history, cited Albert Einstein in their letter seeking clarification about the disappointing assessment of their bid.
Philip Browne, the dynamic CEO of the Irish Rugby Football Union, admitted that not even the great man could help reconcile World Rugby’s vision of the tournament with Ireland’s views.
The French would deliver the most money for the sport but their bid has been bedevilled by internal political problems surrounding federation president Bernard Laporte. — AFP