Francois Pienaar

Now is the time for clarity

2005-07-19 11:22

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Rugby World Cup bid CEO Francois Pienaar writes to News24 in a regular open letter.

Dear News24,

Our campaign to host the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2011 is founded firmly on the conviction that, in 2011, we will be able to provide the tournament with an unprecedented platform.

This platform - a gleaming landscape of outstanding stadia, infrastructure, human skills, commercial strength and a legislative framework tailored for staging major events - will be primed for the Fifa World Cup in 2010, and ready for rugby in 2011.

This platform, combined with our rugby passion, will maximise revenue for world rugby, reach the largest global TV audience, draw a record number of visitors and spectators to the matches, and thus measurably grow the game across the planet.

Historic opportunity

That is why South Africa is bidding... because we believe that, in 2011, we have an historic opportunity to lift the IRB Rugby World Cup to a new level and so to transform the sport.

We have tried to convey this message clearly through the first two stages of our campaign: the production of our Bid Book and our lobbying of IRB Council members around the world.

Today, we are entering a third phase - a crucial three-week period when many of the decision-makers of world rugby will visit South Africa.

Now is the time for clarity and conviction. Now is the time when SA Rugby must outline, with one voice, precisely what we are able to offer the rugby world in 2011.

This week, the SA 2011 Bid is working in partnership with the Confederation of African Rugby to launch the African Leopards, a new continental team that will provide a focal point and inspiration for the development of the game on our continent.

The Leopards will play a South African Students team in the main curtain raiser to the Mandela Cup match between South Africa and Australia at Ellis Park on Saturday July 23.

It will be a momentous occasion and, win or lose, the future of the Leopards is assured. The team will become an asset to world rugby and an important symbol of African unity.

IRB Evaluation Committee

Next week, we will host the IRB Evaluation Committee on a four-day tour of South Africa. This three-man team has completed visits to Japan and New Zealand, and their eventual report will be distributed to the voting IRB Council members.

We look forward to their visit and, through a meticulously planned schedule, trust they will witness not only the scale and quality of our infrastructure, but will also perceive the passion for rugby that runs through South Africa's veins.

Some countries do share our exceptional infrastructure and others match our rugby passion, but it is the unique combination of both that will produce a great event in 2011.

Then, the following week, a series of high level world rugby meetings will take place in Cape Town: a CEO's meeting on the Monday, a RWCL Board meeting on the Tuesday and then a full IRB Executive Committee meeting on the Wednesday.

These administrative meetings are unrelated to the bid to stage the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2011, but it is important that the various delegates enjoy their visit to our country.

So, while Jake White and the Springboks are straining to beat the Wallabies, the Wallabies and the All Blacks on three successive Test match Saturdays, the SA 2011 bid team will be working equally hard to produce excellent results off the field.

Our message is clear and strong. As a country, as individuals united behind a cause, let's get the job done.



  • Francois Pienaar is the Rugby World Cup bid CEO, visit the official bid site at
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