South Africans are being urged to wear green on three special days to boost over the final hurdle the country’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
World Rugby announced on Tuesday that South Africa had produced a “superb bid” and was the “clear leader” on a competitive tendering process to host the tournament. The Rugby World Cup Ltd board – which includes the chairman, deputy chairman and CEO of World Rugby – unanimously supported the recommendation.
The final decision lies in the hands of the World Rugby Council who will vote on the recommendation in London on Wednesday, 15 November. France finished second and Ireland third in the evaluation process. Both nations have said they will attempt to overturn the recommendation.
“We are within touching distance of realising a long-held dream to host the Rugby World Cup once again,” said Mr Thulas Nxesi, Minister of Sport and Recreation, South Africa.
“But we cannot falter just short of the finishing line and we need to send a clear message to the World Rugby Council that South Africa is ready and excited to host the most memorable Rugby World Cup tournament there has ever been.
“That is why we are calling on all South Africans to unite behind this wonderful, nation-building event that will also bring significant economic, emotional and inspirational benefits to our country.
“I would urge all South Africans to wear their Springbok colours or something green on Friday this week and the following Friday as well as on D-Day – Wednesday, 15 November – to show their eagerness and excitement to welcome the Rugby World Cup back to South Africa. If you don’t have a Springbok jersey yet, wear green and gold.”
Corporate South Africa was urged to back the initiative by allowing their staff to wear green on 3, 10 and 15 November – incidentally showing their support for the Springboks who, by coincidence, will play Ireland in Dublin on 11 November and France in Paris on 18 November.
“There is no more visible way of showing the nation’s support for this bid than by wearing their Springbok colours,” said Mr Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby.
“We want to turn green the factories, the schools, shops and offices and malls of South Africa each week to underline the message to the Rugby World Cup board that South Africa is the best choice to host the 2023 tournament.
“There are now just two weeks to go until the final decision and we are asking the country to get behind us in this scrum and help push us over the line.
“There was plenty of enthusiasm around news of the recommendation – let us not miss the opportunity to show the world just how excited we are.”
Those eligible to vote in the secret ballot on 15 November are: Australia (3 votes), England (3), New Zealand (3), Scotland (3), Wales (3), Italy (3), Argentina (3), Canada (1), Japan (2), Georgia (1), Romania (1), USA (1), Asia Rugby (2), Oceania Rugby (2), Rugby Africa (2), Rugby Americas North (2), Rugby Europe (2), Sudamerica Rugby (2).
The final decision is expected to be announced at approximately 13h00 (SA time) on 15 November.0