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South Africa are now an official rival for Ireland in 2023 World Cup bid

The SARU are hoping persistence pays off as they enter the bidding for the fourth straight tournament.
Mar 4th 2015, 4:16 PM 12,676 33

SOUTH AFRICA WILL likely provide a major hurdle in Ireland’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 after today confirming their interest in holding the tournament.

In December, Ireland made themselves the first country to officially announcing their intention to bid for the tournament which will be staged in England later this year and in Japan in 2019.

South Africa have won the William Webb Ellis trophy twice since its inception in 1987, their first victory coming when they last hosted the World Cup in 1995.

Rugby Union - World Cup South Africa 95 - Final - South Africa v New Zealand - Ellis Park, johannesburg Source: EMPICS Sport

As a major southern hemisphere superpower of rugby, the South African bid will provide a major threat to Irish hopes as the nation can point to the 2010 football World Cup to show their recent experience in hosting a major tournament.

Alternatively, with the next tournament set for Asia in a bid to grow the game, World Rugby may look kindly on the mooted forthcoming bids from Italy and Argentina. The up-and-coming rugby nations have until June to officially declare an interest in hosting the tournament with the winner set to be announce in May 2017.

“We definitely expect to be bidding to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup – as we have for the past three tournaments,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of the South African Rugby Union (SARU).

By the time the tournament comes round it will be 28 years since Nelson Mandela handed the trophy to Francois Pienaar and I believe that South Africa is hungry to once again host rugby’s greatest occasion.

“The 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup were magnificent occasions for our nation and for the respective sports and the prospect of being able to repeat those unforgettable occasions is very exciting.

“Bidding will mean a lot of hard work and I am sure the competition will be fierce but this country has a unique experience to offer the game’s travelling supporters.”

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Sean Farrell

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