Francois Pienaar

The right place, at the right time

2005-06-27 10:28
For all your bid information visit the official bid site at <a href= class=tenred target=_blank></a>

For all your bid information visit the official bid site at

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

Dear News24,

All going well, six years from today, the pool stages of the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup will have just finished... in South Africa.

One of the central elements of our bid to host the tournament in 2011 is that, by selecting South Africa as hosts, the International Rugby Board will effectively ensure that their showpiece event takes place in the right place at the right time.

Anyone involved in sport knows that "being in the right place at the right time" is often a significant factor in any success.

It's an X factor. Some say that being on hand to collect a bouncing ball and score a try, or popping up in the penalty area to tap in a rebound is more an example of good luck than anything else. Maybe not.

With few exceptions, "being in the right place at the right time" is the result of sound instincts and careful planning.

I certainly believe this is the case in relation to South Africa's bid to host the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Right time?

The IRB has identified two possible timeslots for the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup: June/ July or October/ November.

South Africa is proposing to stage the tournament during June and July because we believe this will cause the least disruption to the existing calendar.

This is a popular view: northern hemisphere nations would be able to retain their lucrative autumn internationals and, here in the south, the tournament would fit perfectly between the Super 14 and the Tri-Nations tournament.

So, if June and July would be the right time for the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2011, what would be the right place?

The right place for the game would surely be the place where weather conditions promote the best quality of rugby.

The weather

It stands to reason. Warm, dry weather will produce brilliant running rugby, which will provide great entertainment for millions watching on TV around the world. This, in turn, will win converts to rugby and realise the goal of "growing the game".

Equally, if the weather is reliably perfect, the tournament will attract more overseas visitors to the event and more spectators to the matches, enhancing the general atmosphere and maximising the lifeblood tournament revenue for the IRB.

If the conditions are too hot and humid, the players will battle to produce entertaining rugby. And, if the weather is cold and wet, the tournament will become a trial for spectators.

So where do weather records over the past 30 years suggest the sun will shine during June and July, 2011?

Where, according to the experts, will the average temperature be mild, warm and extremely pleasant?

Where, barring freakish exceptions, will the levels of rainfall be minimal and, at most venues, non-existent?

Where will these ideal playing conditions encourage wonderful rugby and dazzling TV images, exhilarating visitors and spectators, wrapping the event in balmy sunshine and a smile?

Where will the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup catapult the game to a new level, raising all the standards?

The answer?

South Africa.

In fact, during June and July 2011, only South Africa.

SA 2011... the right place, at the right time.



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


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