The Rugby League International Federation today announced that Australia and New Zealand were jointly successful in winning the right to host Rugby League World Cup 2017, ahead of a bid from South Africa.
Chairman of the bid committee and RLIF vice chairman, Nigel Wood said: “The bid from South Africa was very strong, prepared professionally and clearly demonstrated a passion for Rugby League that is growing by the day in that country.”
Kobus Botha, President of South African Rugby League, congratulated Australia and New Zealand on their winning bid, stating: “South Africa will now endeavour to work with the Rugby League International Federation to ensure the growth of the sport here and will look at establishing a strong team to qualify for RLWC2017.”
SARL and the RLIF have already entered into discussions to look at ways of developing the game in South Africa through a series of international tournaments and exhibition matches to ensure that the nation is in a position to apply again to host RLWC2021.
“All of the facilities and aspects unique to South Africa to ensure expansion of the game are still available to the RLIF,” added Botha.
Ian Riley, CEO of the South African bid confirmed that the process had already generated positive spin-offs. “Rugby League in South Africa now has a voice and the process of bidding has allowed SARL to start conversations with SASCOC, the SRSA and SARU towards recognition and support,” he noted.
“It has also created dialogue between, and shown a willingness by, major Rugby League countries to get involved and play a role in developing the sport. We are in discussions with the RLIF on creating a seven year roadmap for Rugby League in South Africa and other territories to see how we can collectively grow the game.”