Saru has delivered its bid to host either the 2015 or 2019 World Cups.
President Regan Hoskins said Saru now has the backing of the South African government, the last piece of the bidding puzzle.
‘The government has been very supportive and they have provided the financial backing to allow us to complete what we believe is a compelling case to bring the Rugby World Cup back home,’ said Hoskins. ‘South Africa in this day and age is set up to host the very biggest global sporting events and we believe we would offer rugby an unrivalled showcase for the game.
‘Players, spectators and media would enjoy world-class facilities in purpose-built stadia; our financial model and time zoning would maximise commercial revenues and we’re a rugby-hungry country that can promise ideal playing conditions at a time of year when the Rugby World Cup would be the only sports event in the national imagination.’
Bryan Habana, who along with Springbok captain John Smit is an ambassador for SA’s bid, was the leading try-scorer at the 2007 tournament in France. Although Smit and Habana will be too old when either of the tournaments roll round, they would love to see another World Cup in South Africa.
‘The Rugby World Cup is special to me and to all South Africans – and not just because I played in a winning team,’ said Habana. ‘The 1995 World Cup was a magical time in South Africa’s national life and I believe that if it were to return here we’d provide the stage to create even more special memories – both for South Africa and world rugby.’
Mr Mark Alexander, Bid Committee chairman and Saru deputy president, said the newly-refurbished 90 000-capacity Soccer City in Johannesburg would be the venue for the opening and final matches of any South African Rugby World Cup and other new stadiums, as well as existing rugby stadiums, would be used.
‘South Africa is spending billions on upgrading our infrastructure and on venues to host the Fifa World Cup next year and the legacy of that tournament offers Rugby an incredible opportunity to put on a spectacular tournament in ideal conditions,’ said Alexander.
Also attending the launch on Thursday were Dr Ali Bacher, Danny Jordaan and Moss Mashishi, who are among a group of Bid Ambassadors who have lent their experience and advice to the Bid.