South Africa turn attention to 2021 World Cup

South Africa hope to put themselves in prime position to host the 2021 World Cup, after missing out on a bid to host the 2017 tournament.

The RLIF announced today that Australia and New Zealand will co-host the next World Cup, beating off the South African competition, the only other candidate in the bidding process.

The news follows the successful 2013 tournament held in England, Wales, France and Ireland, that culminated in Australia defeating New Zealand at Old Trafford.

Although South Africa did not qualify for that event, they are hoping to have a team in 2017.

Kobus Botha, President of South African Rugby League, said: “South Africa will now endeavor to work with the ARL and the RLIF to ensure the growth of the sport and will look at sending a strong team to the 2017 World Cup to compete for the final.”

Botha also emphasized that this does not mean that South Africa will stop in its quest to develop the sport, and that 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 South Africa is in an optimal position to host the 2021 RLIF World Cup.

“All of the facilities and aspects unique to South Africa to ensure expansion of the game is still available to the RLIF and also the ARL and NZRL to ensure the positive growth of the game in South Africa.”

Ian Riley, CEO of the South African Bid was also quick to point out that the Bid for 2017 was not a waste but have very positive spin-offs. 

He said: “Rugby league in South Africa now has a voice, and the process of bidding has allowed SARL to start the conversation with SASCOC and SRSA and SARU towards recognition and support.

“It has also created dialogue between developing countries, and has shown willingness by other countries to also get involved and play a role in developing the game. 

“We are in discussions with the RLIF on creating a 7 year roadmap for rugby league in South Africa and other territories to see how we can collectively grow and develop the sport.”

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