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SA Rugby on Tuesday confirmed that it was on track to submit a compelling bid to bring a vibrant, profitable and spectacular Rugby World Cup to South Africa in 2023, following the lifting of a suspension from the right to host mega sporting events.

The way was cleared for SA Rugby to submit a bid as a result of the latest report by the Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) – set up by the Ministry of Sport and Recreation – to monitor the pace of transformation in sport. 

Mr Thulas Nxesi, the Minister for Sport & Recreation, reported at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Tuesday that rugby had met the targets set out in the Transformation Charter.

“I would like to congratulate rugby, cricket and netball on their improved scores, you were clearly willing to walk the extra mile.

“Their right to bid for and host major sporting events, which was revoked before, is hereby immediately reinstated. 

“But we would like to re-emphasise our expectations for sporting federations to take charge and provide leadership at school and club levels.” 

Mr Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby, said from a World Rugby meeting in Tokyo: “This is great news and a tribute to the work that the sport has been doing in recent years to stay in tune and relevant to modern South Africa.

“We can now put the finishing touches to what we believe will be an outstanding bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. 

“We have kept the ministry up to speed with our thinking and state of preparation throughout the suspension and continue to enjoy an excellent relationship with our sports leaders.”

The EPG Report measures South African sports federations on a number of national imperatives to provide greater access and opportunity to sport for all.

The report examines sports from school level to elite level – on and off the field – under demographics, performance, governance, access, preferential procurement and employment equity.

Ireland and France are also bidding to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup tournament. The winning bidder will be named by World Rugby on 15 November.

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