SA enter race to host 2022 Sevens World Cup

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.
SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.
Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

After missing out on hosting Rugby World Cup 2023 in controversial circumstances last year‚ SA Rugby has decided to bid for the 2022 Sevens World Cup.

South Africa was one of 11 countries to submit “expressions of interest” documents to World Rugby by their March 31 deadline.

Argentina‚ Cayman Islands‚ France‚ Germany‚ India‚ Jamaica‚ Malaysia‚ Qatar‚ Scotland and Tunisia are the other 10 countries who have taken the first step towards hosting the global showpiece.

South Africa have proposed Cape Town as the bid city for the event to be held in the September/October window.

The time-frame considers the international calendar‚ which includes the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and the Commonwealth Games that will take place in July of that year.

After an exhaustive and expensive Rugby World Cup 2023 bid process‚ SA Rugby has decided to tentatively try for a lesser‚ but hugely popular event.

In late 2017 SA emerged as the “preferred Rugby World Cup 2023 candidate” over Ireland and France after an extensive evaluation by an independent committee‚ only to lose out in voting.

The wheeling and dealing that accompanied the vote and saw unions go against their own evaluation of the bid books‚ made a mockery of the process.

Cape Town has been voted the best stop on the current World Series circuit for the past three years and has quickly become an iconic Sevens event.

The 2022 Sevens World Cup will again comprise 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams and will be played over three days in one venue‚ World Rugby announced on Tuesday.

The 11 unions who registered their interest have been issued the formal bid application documents and now have until Tuesday‚ July 16 to submit their responses.

“Hosting the HSBC Cape Town Sevens at this world class venue [Cape Town Stadium] for the last four years was a clear proof of the stadium’s capacity to host sold-out events over a couple of days and the city to cater for them‚” said SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.

“The Cape Town leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has established itself as one of the leading tournaments since 2015‚ and it delivers a triple-win for World Rugby in terms of the experience for players‚ partners and the public.

“We have received great feedback scores from World Rugby over the last few years and spectators voted with their feet.

"Attendance for the event has been strong with more than 100‚000 supporters per tournament gaining access over the past four seasons.

“The tournament also won accolades outside of rugby‚ including the South African Discovery Sports Awards‚ who voted the HSBC Cape Town Sevens as the best live sporting event in the country.”

Roux added that the Western Cape capital is also an ideal destination for such an event.

“Cape Town is served by an international airport with direct flights from all the major hubs and is a truly global international tourism destination with the infrastructure to accommodate an event of this scale‚” he said.

“The city’s natural beauty offers a spectacular backdrop for a spectacular rugby event.

"South Africa’s ability to host very successful World Cups in rugby‚ soccer and cricket‚ to name a few‚ is well documented.”

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby World Cup Sevens is a major event on the global sporting calendar‚ a fan and team favourite and is an attractive proposition for unions and cities as a low-investment‚ high-return event that is great for the city and great for rugby.

“We are delighted with the record level of interest. With a core objective of growing the global rugby fan and participation footprint‚ it is superb to see new interest from emerging rugby nations‚ which is great for the sport."

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 host seection process timelines:

July 16‚ 2019: Bid responses submitted by unions to World Rugby.

October 29‚ 2019: World Rugby Council selects Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 host.

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