South African Rugby

Thursday, October 27, 2005

South Africa versus Japan

It looks like South Africa is up against Japan to host the rugby world cup, South Africa's benefits in hosting the tournament are

The most user-friendly bid is South Africans: there is only an hour’s difference from European time, it held an outstanding World Cup in 1995 and it will have the use of the new facilities in place for the football World Cup of 2010. It is, though, overly dependent on the image created by Franasois Pienaar, its bid leader and World Cup-winning captain of ten years ago, and the IRB cannot but be concerned about the in-house unrest that has seemed endemic in South African rugby over the past year.

South Africa will have support from the Confederation Africaine de Rugby, which has one vote, and it has a continuing relationship with Australia in the shape of the Mandela Cup annual fixture.

Moreover, French links with South Africa have traditionally been strong and, if France was on its side, then the chances are that Italy and the Paris-based federation Internationale de Rugby Amateur, both with one vote, would go with them.

The downside is that the international panel is very aware of our muppet administrator's who might mess up our chances.

Japan is the neutral player compared to South Africa and New Zealand

Japans greatest asset may be its neutrality. If you were a Brit, where would you prefer to go? a rugby administrator said this week. Would you prefer to play in front of a South African or New Zealand crowd, or a Japanese crowd which has no obvious commitment?

The weather would be very warm but England prepared for precisely those conditions before their success in 2003 and although there is eight hours difference, matches played in the evening would be shown during a European afternoon.

I don’t believe the international rugby community can afford to be a private members club if we want to promote the game beyond its traditional strongholds, Ieuan Evans, the former Wales captain, said yesterday, adding his backing to that of Martin Johnson, the former England captain.

Japan will be supported by the one vote of the Asian Rugby Football Union and may expect help from other second-tier unions with voting rights Canada, with whom it is hoping to form a playing alliance, and Argentina. But this vote will turn on the decisions made in London, Paris and Sydney and, for once, rugby’s lip could not be more tightly buttoned.

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