World-class venues make this a wor­thy bid

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - MARK KEO­HANE

SOUTH Africa will use a seven city/eight sta­dium master plan to host what the bid lead­er­ship be­lieves will be the best ever Rugby World Cup in 2023.

Here’s a breakdown of the cities, their track record to host big events, and the world class sta­di­ums in each city, four of which could host a Rugby World Cup fi­nal.

The Na­tional Sta­dium in Joburg will host the open­ing match, the semi-fi­nals and the fi­nal. Sports en­thu­si­asts flock to the city for the Two Oceans Marathon, named the world’s most beau­ti­ful marathon, with over 27 000 run­ners par­tic­i­pat­ing.

Cy­clists have their pick of the Cape Town Cy­cle Tour, the world’s largest in­di­vid­u­ally timed cy­cle race an­nu­ally at­tract­ing 35 000 par­tic­i­pants, and the Absa Cape Epic, a glob­ally revered multi-stage moun­tain bik­ing race con­sid­ered the “Tour de France of moun­tain bik­ing”.

Cape Town Sta­dium Cape Town Sta­dium will host two quar­ter-fi­nals and pool matches. Nel­son Man­dela Bay

Sta­dium

The sta­dium reg­u­larly hosts in­ter­na­tional rugby Tests, hav­ing since 2011 hosted the Spring­boks ver­sus the All Blacks, Eng­land and Ire­land. Pre­vi­ously known as Nel­spruit, this city is lo­cated on the Croc­o­dile River. The In­ni­bos Arts Fes­ti­val draws more than 100 000 vis­i­tors an­nu­ally.

Mbombela Sta­dium Lo­cated in the Big Five an­i­mal sa­fari re­gion, Mbombela boasts a stun­ning sta­dium that is famed for its trade­mark ze­bra-pat­terned seat­ing area, and roof-sup­port col­umns that re­sem­ble Gi­raffe standing watch over spec­ta­tors.

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