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THE South African Rugby Union (Saru) yesterday said it remained hopeful of hosting Rugby World Cup 2015 or 2019, despite failing to win the recommendation of the board of Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL).
England (2015) and Japan (2019) were named as the board's preferred hosts for the next two tournaments after a tender process that also included Italy and South Africa.
The final decision rests with the council of the International Rugby Board (IRB), which meets in Dublin on July 28 to finalise the hosting nations.
"We are very disappointed not to have won the board's recommendation but we have not given up," said Mark Alexander, deputy president of Saru and chairperson of the bid committee. "We met and frequently exceeded every criteria of the tender document and we will now have to examine the findings of the report presented by RWCL to the board.
"Our congratulations go to the recommended bidders - they have been working for their union and their nations as we have - but we will be looking for some clarifications on the recommendations from the IRB."
A Saru bid team led by Alexander and former Springbok captain Morne du Plessis presented South Africa's case to the RWCL board and council members in mid-May.
RWCL staff and specialist consultants prepared reports on the four bids before the board made its recommendations.
The Saru bid was backed by the government, which underwrote the minimum tournament guarantee. The guarantee underwrites ticket sales for the tournament.
"The IRB asked for a minimum guarantee and we were the only nation to offer in excess of that," Alexander said. - Sapa