Nxesi ballsy about SA’s rugby cup bid
SPORTS minister Thulas Nxesi has defended South Africa’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup following criticism of the evaluation process by rivals.
South Africa was announced as the preferred candidate to stage the event ahead of France and Ireland after an evaluation by the Rugby World Cup board.
South Africa, which was the 1995 host country, emerged as the clear winner, but the results were disputed by French federation president Bernard Laporte and his Irish counterpart, Philip Browne.
“It would be understandable if those sentiments were largely informed by disappointment,” Nxesi said. “It is our firm conviction that World Rugby has run a rigorous and professional process of unimpeachable integrity.”
The final decision will be made following a vote in London on Wednesday.
“Even during the 2010 World Cup bidding process, our competitors and their fellow detractors mounted a concerted smear campaign to besmirch and malign South Africa’s bid,” Nxesi said.
“They alleged that our country was grossly ill-prepared to host such a big event. They further declared our country to be the crime capital of the world.
“They prophesied impending doom and gloom that would befall the tournament and to tourists and fans coming to our shores.
“All of the prophecies indeed came to nought. These latter-day prophets and naysayers will again be proven wrong.”
Other than England, South Africa is the only country to have hosted a football, cricket and rugby world cup.
“We have a long history of major, incident-free mega events and we have developed expertise over many years in our security services to ensure that remains so,” Nxesi said.
“Our financial guarantee to World Rugby is irrevocable, the bid team’s ticketing plan will ensure minimum capacity of 91% over the tournament with some tickets provided free to communities and others costing as little as R55.” – Reuters