South Africa stands a fairly good chance against Japan and New Zealand who are also in the running to host the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in 2011. Emerging from a well-received bid proposal presentation earlier this year, the SA Bid Committee (SA BidCo) defines the importance of what it stands for - growing the game.
South Africa is an established rugby nation and during the past one hundred years rugby has united supporters from diverse cultural backgrounds across the country.
Over a decade ago, South Africa was readmitted into international rugby. In 1995 South Africa hosted and won a very successful RWC and in doing so, affirmed its position on the World Rankings log, as professional rugby came into being.
But South African rugby has come a long way since the 1995 RWC. This country is producing fine rugby players who compete against the world's greatest, yet the world's greatest want to lure them away for their unique playing skills and passion for the game.
Rugby in South Africa has been introduced at grass roots level in almost every community. The lack of infrastructure in many of the previously disadvantaged areas has not halted the progress of identifying players from these areas and including them in club and amateur rugby.
In South Africa it's about taking the game to the people and the vision and motto of SA BidCo is to grow the game further in SA and extend it into the rest of Africa and eventually globally. And it's not only about the development of talented SA rugby players who will benefit from SA hosting the RWC in 2011. World rugby will experience the ripple effect of BidCo's bigger picture, eager to play a key role in the development of the game throughout Africa.
The South African Rugby Union is a dynamic force in the game. SARU is eager to play a role in development of worldwide game as is clear in the hosting IRB Under-19 world championships. It has set itself the paramount goal of transformation at home and it plays a leading role in African rugby. The launch of African Leopards on 23 July 2005, the creation of the African Rugby Academy and the facilitation of pre-tournament training camps are clear testimony to this fact.
Rugby will grow in Africa and worldwide as the number of participants increase in the second and third tier rugby nations, among women and among the important eighteen to twenty-four year age group.
The bid announcement will be screened live on SuperSport 1 on Thursday 17 November 2005 from 17h00.