IRB impressed by South African RWC bid
February 3, 2009
IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset insists a bid is "not possible without a close partnership between the government and the rugby union" © Getty Images
The International Rugby Board has welcomed the government support for the South African Rugby Union's bid to host either the 2015 or 2019 Rugby World Cup.
A joint delegation from the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and the International Rugby Board (IRB) met with the country's sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile and his deputy Gert Oosthuizen as part of an information-sharing session. England are also among the nations vying to be awarded the tournament in 2015.
South Africa, the 1995 World Cup hosts, are bidding to bring either the 2015 or the 2019 tournament back to the country and the meeting was arranged to seek support from the highest authority.
"We were delighted with the meeting and very pleased with the government's expression of support for the South African Rugby union's bid," said IRB president Bernard Lapasset, who was accompanied by chief executive Mike Miller.
"A tournament of this size - the third-largest sporting event in the world - is not possible without a close partnership between the government and the rugby union and we were impressed with the enthusiasm and the support the government offered," he added.
The IRB has already stated that countries bidding for the 2015 and 2019 tournaments must offer financial guarantees of £80million and £96million respectively and SARU president Oregan Hoskins had previously said that without government support "the bid was dead".
Speaking after today's meetings, Hoskins said, "The meeting surpassed my expectations and I was very heartened by the minister's attitude. His attitude augurs very well for us and I left the meeting feeling that this was a very important moment for our bid.
"The minister stressed that the infrastructure will be in place at the stadiums and across the country and that, as South Africa is a rugby-mad country, that they would be delighted and honoured to host the World Cup. It would be a significant moment to host the tournament on the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, an event which did so much to assist in the growth of nation-building in the country."
Interested unions will make their presentations to the IRB in May and a decision on the hosting nations for both tournaments will be announced on July 28.